Imagine how this went down over at the FBI.
"Special Agent Haversham, have a seat. I have a very high priority national security assignment for you."
"As always Mr. Hoover, I'll do my best. What's the caper, sir? Infiltrating organized crime?"
"Haversham, there is no such thing as organized crime. I took care of that little bit of business after Jimmy Cagney died at the end of Public Enemy. This is much more important. I am convinced there may be some communist activity going on out there in that den of depravity, Hollywood. And I want you to begin a surveillance of someone I believe may be the leading Trotskyite of the bunch."
"But Mr. Hoover, Jane Fonda is only 18 years old and hasn't even made Barbarella yet."
"This is bigger, Haversham. In more ways than one."
"Yessir! And just who is this commie, beret-wearing, Red-loving conspirator I'll be tailing?"
"That would be none other than Moscow's favorite pinup girl, Marilyn Monroe."
"I'll get on this right away Mr. Hoover. And by the way, that's a lovely taffeta evening gown you're wearing, sir. It really complements your eyes."
As recently released files reveal, Tinseltown's most renowned sex symbol became the target of an FBI investigation into suspected pinko leanings from 1955 until Monroe's death in 1962. What might we call this? "The Seven-Year Witch Hunt"?
Apparently what got Hoover's sensible pumps in a knot were suspicions Monroe was playing Marxist footsie-wootsie with Frederick Vanderbilt Field, the scion of a wealthy family who had become a communist sympathizer.
Of course, in those days out in La-La-Land if the FBI investigated everyone who had once hummed The Internationale, you would have needed tens of thousands of agents to handle the workload.
So it was that the full investigative power of the federal government was unleashed to find out if Mao jackets were really a girl's best friend.
As gumshoeing goes, ferreting out Marilyn Monroe's Fifth Columnist links didn't exactly require the investigative skills of Hercule Poirot. After all, in 1956 the actress married playwright Arthur Miller, who had freely admitted before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, fun folks, that he had numerous past associations with various Communist-front groups and had probably even read Das Kapital at some point.
Apparently no one on the committee, which at one time included Richard Nixon, bothered to read Miller's The Crucible, a thinly veiled roman a clef about Washington's commie kangaroo court.
And yet it took another six years, countless agent time and expenses following the star around for the FBI to figure out if Monroe might have a thing for borscht?
Then again, it's entirely possible that snooping into Monroe's life was more interesting than say, investigating corrupt Teamsters Union head Jimmy Hoffa, who had all the sex appeal of a manhole cover.
Would it have been a surprise to learn the FBI sleuths might have trumped up Monroe's bolshevik bona fides just to stay on the beat?
"Memo to Director Hoover:
Communist subject Marilyn Monroe seen entering the hotel room of comedian Milton Berle, who was wearing a mauve organdy cocktail frock. Recommend continued monitoring since mauve is really more your color, sir."
And it had to be something of a shock to the FBI in the midst of determining if comrades prefer blondes, when John F. Kennedy suddenly showed up to work on his profiles in decolletage.
For years the FBI spied on Monroe, tracking her travels and associations in an attempt to find out what, if any, leftist views the actress may have harbored. And, at least according to the files obtained by the Associated Press, all the FBI could come up with was that Norma Jean once applied for a visa to travel to Russia.
It would seem that some like it cold.
Other than perhaps wanting to visit the old Soviet Union, it appears about the closest Monroe came to a card-carrying Communist Party member was her affair with actor Yves Montand, who probably also drove Hoover's paranoia into overdrive by also being French.
Suppose that Monroe was more red than Fidel Castro? So what?
In the end, she was unable to manage her own life, much less plot a commie overthrow of the United States. After six years of skulking, even a prying misfit like J. Edgar Hoover ought to have been able to figure that out.