The President Vanishes (book & film)

Farrar & Rinehart published Rex Stout's overtly anti-Nazi thriller anonymously in 1934. In the late 1930s, Stout allowed his name to be specified as author.

In an interview printed in Royal Decree (1983), Rex Stout's official biographer John McAleer asked the author if there was any chance of Hollywood ever making a good Nero Wolfe movie. "I don't know," Stout replied. "I suppose so. They made a movie of another story I wrote — The President Vanishes. I hate like hell to admit it but it was better than the book, I think."

The book was quickly transformed into a feature film by Paramount Pictures. The President Vanishes (1934, British title Strange Conspiracy) was produced by Walter Wanger and directed by William A. Wellman. It featured a cast that includes Arthur Byron, Edward Arnold, Rosalind Russell and Andy Devine. See IMDB for further information. It premiered November 1935 and released in January 1936. The New York Times movie review (based upon a preview showing) states, "Like the anonymous novel (generally credited to Rex Stout) upon which it is based...."

It is quite blatantly pro-Roosevelt and anti-Nazi and anti-"military industrial complex" (a term credited to Dwight D. Eisenhower after the war).

On February 28, 2012, it was shown as part of the William A. Wellman Film Festival at the NYC Film Forum.


Stout's Anti-Nazi/Pro-war Efforts

  • Stout Says Help England

  • The New York Times Interviews Stout just before Pearl Harbor

  • The Illustrious Dunderheads (Stout's post- Pearl Harbor "expose" of officials who espoused pacifism)

  • Stout speaks out against critics of Eleanor Roosevelt's Unity Carnival ("Stout says Phooey")

  • Friends of Democracy

  • War Writer's Board
    • We Shall Hate or We Shall Fail (Feature in The New York Times by Rex Stout, Chairman of the War Writers' Board, with the retorts published as well)
    • Books and the Tiger: Rex Stout feature in The New York Times discusses "Some of the Beliefs that are Weapons for War Against the Axis"
    • Libel Suit against Stout and others brought by NY-based German publisher (then dropped)


  • Speaking of Liberty (4/17/1941 to 12/11/1941)

    This half-hour radio show focused on the importance and value of citizenship and liberty for all people regardless of race, creed, or color.  The show featured top writers, reporters, and intellectuals as they reflect about the meaning of democracy on the eve of America's entrance into WWII.  The shows topics centered around the American Constitution, law, the definition of civil liberties, and other intellectual and political topics. 

    Created and sponsored by "the Council on Democracy" and broadcast by the NBC Red network, Rex Stout hosted a variety of guests who were "speaking of liberty." The show aired for an an initial series of episodes and the audience response was so positive, the show returned for "Round 2." The last show of the broadcasts was the week following the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

    Run Dates(s)/ Time(s):
    Series One:  41-04-17 to 41-08-21; NBC [WEAF]; Nineteen, 15-minute programs; Thursday Evenings
    Series Two:   41-10-09 to 41-12-11; NBC [WEAF]; Ten, 15-minute programs; Thursday Evenings

    EPISODES (only shows that have been located are listed below):
    The episodes, each with a brief description of the show’s topic, are available for listening or download at: https://archive.org/details/SpeakingOfLiberty

    • 1941-04-17 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 01 Carl Van Doren - 1941-04-17 NBCR - 14:18
    • 1941-04-24 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 02 Edmond Taylor - 1941-04-24 NBCR - 13:58
    • 1941-05-01 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 03 Clifton Fadiman - 1941-05-01 NBCR - 14:02
    • 1941-05-08 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 04 Lin Yutang - 1941-05-08 NBCR- 14:06
    • 1941-05-15 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 05 Fannie Hurst - 1941-05-15 NBCR - 13:55
    • 1941-05-22 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 06 Pierre Van Paassen - 1941-05-22 NBCR - 14:27
    • 1941-05-29 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 07 Louis Adamic - 1941-05-29 NBCR - 14:05
    • 1941-06-05 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 08 Herbert Agar - 1941-06-05 NBCR - 13:56
    • 1941-06-12 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 09 Max Eastman - 1941-06-12 NBCR - 14:06
    • 1941-06-19 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 10 Alexander Woollcott - 1941-06-19 NBCR - 14:23
    • 1941-06-26 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 11 Florence Jaffray Harriman - 1941-06-26 NBCR - 14:05
    • 1941-07-03 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 12 Eve Curie - 1941-07-03 NBCR - 13:50
    • 1941-07-17 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 14 Carl Crow - 1941-07-17 NBCR - 14:07
    • 1941-07-24 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 15 Bertrand Russell - 1941-07-24 NBCR - 14:11
    • 1941-07-31 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 16 Ernest Hauser - 1941-07-31 NBCR - 14:09
    • 1941-08-07 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 17 Douglas Miller - 1941-08-07 NBCR - 14:14
    • 1941-08-14 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 18 John R. Tunis - 1941-08-14 NBCR - 14:04

    • 1941-10-09 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 26 Carl Carmer - 1941-10-09 NBCR - 12:51
    • 1941-10-16 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 27 Walter Millis - 1941-10-16 NBCR - 13:5
    • 1941-10-23 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 28 Margaret Leech - 1941-10-23 NBCR - 13:47
    • 1941-11-06 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 30 Pearl S. Buck - 1941-11-06 NBCR - 14:17
    • 1941-11-13 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 31 Frank Gervasi - 1941-11-13 NBCR - 14:04
    • 1941-12-04 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 34 Dorothy Canfield Fisher - 1941-12-04 NBCR - 14:06
    • 1941-12-11 NBCR Speaking Of Liberty 35 Erskine Caldwell - 1941-12-11

  • Our Secret Weapon (click to view newspaper clippings regarding this show)
    "Our Secret Weapon" was a series of 62, 15 minute radio programs, 11 of which were sponsored by Freedom House, Inc., New York, and Philco and presented on the Columbia Broadcasting System from Sunday, Aug. 17, 1942 through Friday, Oct. 8, 1943. They were produced by Paul White, directed by John Dietz, and written by Rex Stout. "Our Secret Weapon was designed to whip up and excite the nation to a greater war effort — in industry in buying war bonds, in every avenue toward victory," said series creator Sue Taylor White of Freedom House." Only one show has been located online for download or listening.

    For additional information see:
  • The Stouts and the Roosevelts

Rex Stout & Pola Stout carried on a correspondence with President and Mrs. Roosevelt. Correspondence between them as well as other material relating to the Stouts was located and copied during The Wolfe Pack's 2014 explorations at the Presidential Library in Hyde Park, NY. Pola Stout even presented fabric and clothing to the presidential couple! Rex Stout's daughter has an autographed photo of President Roosevelt wearing a shirt made by Pola Stout from fabric she designed. The photo's frame is made from the same cloth. Photos and correspondence:


Stout's post-war efforts for world government/United Nations

From Wikipedia:
The Society for the Prevention of World War III was an organization set up in the U.S. in 1944 during World War II that advocated a harsh peace for Germany in order to completely remove Germany as a future military threat. The Organization was a spin-off of the Writers' War Board, with both headed by (extreme anti-German)[1] novelist Rex Stout and the organization's monthly publication mainly republishing material produced by the War Board. It succeeded in hardening attitudes towards Germany both in the media and in the government, but by 1948 it had failed in its overall mission, with JCS 1067 rescinded and the Marshall Plan helping Germany, along with the rest of Europe, back on its feet.