Spotlight on Lee Falk - The WWII Years

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Draft Card 1940

The WWII Years

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Chief of Radio of the Foreign-Language Division

In October 1941, Archibald MacLeish was appointed director of the "Office of Facts and Figures" (OFF), an independent government information agency. To head the "Foreign Language Division" (FLD) within the OFF MacLeish chosed Alan M. Cranston [footnotes 1].

Cranston wanted Lee Falk[footnotes 2] to serve as associate chief of the FLD and handling radio[footnotes 3] issues. In Cranston's letter inducing Falk to take the job, he explained that Falk would compose radio scripts for use in foreign-language broadcast designed to provide information about the war, to boost morale, and to sell the war to the German, Italian, and other groups in this country.

"Office of War Information" (OWI) was established as a federal agency on June 13 1942, to conduct the government's wartime information and propaganda programs. OWI came into being by integrating several agencies — including the OFF, already engaged in information and intelligence activities.

By 1943 Congress made a varity of accusations against the OWI, as a political tool, and began its investigation. A more specific accusation involving the work of the Radio Section of the FLD and its head, Lee Falk. The inquiry, chaired by Edward E. Cox, claimed that in addition to the initiated moral- and unit-building foreign-language programs they also removed from the air broadcasters who were considered pro-fascist. The Cox Committee claimed that radio stationes were pressed to dismiss personnel by holding the treat of license suspension over their heads, attendent to force upon radiostations a pro-Russian or an arbitrary OWI slant, and that Falk used the division to secure publicity for himself and employment for his friends. The inquiry started in August (1943) and by the end of the month Lee Falk had quietly quit his job at OWI.

Mandrake the Magician and The Phantom

Timeline 1942-1943: Mandrake the Magician and The Phantom Stories
probably no ghosted stories
MD: contThe Rumor FactoryBaron KordThe Witch of KaloonThe Earthshaker
MS: contPacificaMystery of the Girls with Red HairCloud CityGloria Golden
PD: contThe InexorablesBent Beak BroderThe Phantom's EngagementHigh Seas Highjacker
PS: contThe ImpostorCastle in the CloudsThe Ismani CannibalsHamid the Terrible
Chief of Radio of the Foreign-Language Division
(Office of Facts and Figures (OFF))
Chief of Radio of the Foreign-Language Division
(United States Office of War Information (OWI))
Back in New York Lee Falk wrote the Passionate Congressman, inspired by his experiences in Washington's political environment.

Private in the United States Army

He was enlisted with no branch assignment at Fort Devens (Massachusetts) on Mars 7, 1944. Lee Falk himself said that he promptly was shipped from one end of the country to another. 12 times he was on the verge of going overseas, and 12 times the orders were cancelled and he was sent to some other post. He also said he most of the time as a private and almost all of the time on KP.

Mandrake the Magician and The Phantom

Timeline 1944-1945 Mandrake the Magician and The Phantom Stories
possible ghosted stories
MD: contThe DomeDoctor CongoThe Mirror PeopleThe Ice LadyThe Old Ones"he Mystery PrinceThe Sleeping Beauty
MS: contThe Garden of WuzzuThe Circus AdventureThe Santa Claus PiratesFountain of YouthKingdom of the WindThe Attalan DeepThe Twins of Karana
PD: contDianaThe CroonerThe Maharajah's DaughterThe Blue GangLago the Lake GodThe Wild GirlThe Mermaids of Melo Straits
PS: contThe Childhood of the PhantomThe Golden PrincessThe Strange FishermanQueen Pera the Perfect
contFort Devens and other ?


  1. Lee Falk's friend and collaborator of "The Big Story"
  2. In the newspaper strip of June 30, 1942 there is an interesting real-time connection. Mandrake is talking about a new job, some sort of espionage, in Washington!
  3. Lee Falk had some experience with radio from his work for Westheimer & Co., St. Louis agency, in the years 1932 to 1934


  •; U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947, U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946
  • Horten Gerd, Radio Goes to War: The Cultural Politics of Propaganda During World War II
  • Lees Lorraine M., Yugoslav-Americans and National Security During World War II
  • Sweeney Michael S., Secrets of Victory: The Office of Censorship and the American Press and Radio in World War II