Politicians were just another kind of celebrity to Hank Walker (1922-1996): “If you can appeal to that ego, they usually let you do the story.” During the Mccarthy hearings, when the witch-hunting senator continually flourished papers he claimed held the names of 41 State Department communists, Walker tried to expose the documents with a long lens. “I took a couple of pictures and McCarthy stopped dead.” The hearing came to a halt as the committee chairman demanded Walker’s film, but he had switched the rolls. (Later he would find the real pictures of the list unintelligible.) The episode may not have stopped the McCarthy rampage, but it showed the live television audience an ugly glimpse of the man. “I’ll never forget that,” Walter Cronkite said.
—Adapted from The Great LIFE Photographers