Cool, Cool Intolerant Men

In 1972, after the film version of 1776 was finished—even the negative had been cut—Jack L. Warner, the producer, brought a print to the Whitehouse to screen for President Nixon. who was a close friend. The President thought the movie was wonderful, but that the number “Cool, Cool Conservative Men” was too critical of conservatives. He asked Warner to remove it from the movie.

The number shows clearly that conservatives hadn’t changed much in the previous 196 years. These men were against breaking with the British Crown because it would upset their comfortable capitalist lives. This is well illustrated in an exchange between John Dickinson and John Hancock:

Dickinson: Mr. Hancock! You’re a man of property: one of us. Why don’t you join us in our minuet? Why do you persist in dancing with John Adams? Good Lord, sir: you don’t even like him!

Hancock: That is true. He annoys me quite a lot. But still, I’d rather trot to Mr. Adams’ new gavotte.

Dickinson: Why? For personal glory? For a place in history? Be careful sir, history will brand him and his followers as traitors.

Hancock: Traitors, Mr. Dickinson? To what? The British Crown or the British half crown?

Jack Warner then returned to Hollywood and not only ordered that the number be removed from the film, but that the negative be destroyed.[1] This is an amazing act. Because Nixon didn’t like the fact that conservatives were shown to be wrong in the founding of our country, Warner decided to remove all traces of it.

Luckily, since Warner was not in charge of the studio, his order wasn’t followed completely. The film was released without the number, but the negative remained. This allowed Peter Hunt to put it back into the film when the Director’s Cut was released in 2002. In addition to having this excellent musical number to enjoy, we have another example of the slippery relationship conservatives have with the truth.

Sadly, this clip is not available anymore. Buy the new release of the DVD. It really is excellent.

[1] According to Peter Hunt, Jack Warner later regretted his actions. This shows even more what a horrible act it was to try to destroy the negative.