You may recall that a series of American Student Union shows, with the title “Pens and Pencils,” drew its inspiration for its name from “Pins and Needles.” However, even before “Pens and Pencils,” the Brooklyn College team I mentioned had already started to make music and comedy. At the Broadway locale of music and laughter of the period called “Cabaret TAC,” the TAC standing for Theater Arts Committee, they introduced a song about the infamous Dies Committee that made it a little more famous. It was supposed to be sung by Committee head Congressman Martin Dies and was called “America Ain’t America Any More.” Like the witchhunting bodies that followed in its footsteps, the Dies Committee carried on a campaign of vilification against then president Franklin D. Roosevelt as well as against all progressive and radical organizations. A couple of marginal notes are required. The reference to Huey Long is to a demagogic senator from Louisiana and the phrase “Alkalize with Martin Dies” relates to a popular slogan of Alka Seltzer at the time, “Alkalize with Alka Seltzer.”

America Ain’t America Any More (1937)
Lyrics by Leo Rifkin, Dave Shaw and Frank Tarloff
Music by Jennie Fogel

America ain’t America any more. 
That’s what this committee’s meeting for. 
The foreigners from the other side are driving us to ruin.  
We’d better be more careful or they’ll own the country soon.  
What used to be a melting pot is now an old spittoon –  
America ain’t America any more.

It started back in 1776 –  
We lost the country to the Bolsheviks.  
It wasn’t quite so bad then, considering how things went.  
We had our Huey Longs and they were really heaven sent.  
But ever since a certain guy became the president,  
America ain’t America any more.


If you see un-Americans  
Snooping far and near – 
Just Alkalize with Martin Dies  
And they will disappear.  
Yes, Alkalize with Martin Dies  
And they will disappear.  


This country’s really getting out of joint.  
The WPA’s* a case in point.  
The “W’s” for the wagrants whom we have wined and dined.  
The “A” is for the aliens who should have stayed behind.  
The “P”?  
The “P” must stand for something, but it somehow slips my mind.  
America ain’t America any more.

Repeat Interlude

America ain’t America any more.
Communism’s knocking at our door.  (Knock, knock)
You’ll find them in he AFL and in he CIO –
They might turn up in any place, just where you’ll never know.
And Karl Marx has three brothers doing work for RKO!
America ain’t America any more. 

Repeat Interlude