Below is a little-known story of when Clark Gable auctioned off a "silver brick" to raise money for Radio Free Europe (RFE).
Nevada, the “Silver State,” had the highest percentage of signatures on the Freedom Scrolls in 1950, when 70,000 persons signed up for the first Crusade for Freedom. The nationwide goal for the second Crusade campaign, which officially began on Labor Day, September 3, 1951, was 25,000,000 signatures, with a goal in Nevada of 73,000.
On Sunday night, September 30, 1951, Radio Free Europe President C.D. Jackson spoke in Reno, Nevada, at a large rally for the Crusade for Freedom and RFE. There were 1,500 persons in the new Reno high school gymnasium.
That evening, during the three-hour entertainment show in Reno, Clark Gable acted as an auctioneer. The item to be auctioned was a "silver brick" with the inscription “Nevada 1951.” It was said to be part of the cornerstone of the new RFE headquarters building in Munich, Germany. It was auctioned off for $800 dollars and film actress Ida Lupino presented the silver brick to the Charles W. Mapes, Jr., the happy auction winner. In keeping with the good spirit of the evening, Mapes returned the "silver brick," which was taken the next day to Las Vegas.
After the auction and evening's entertainment, Clark Gable and Ida Lupino launched two balloons and leaflets similar to those launched in Germany by the Free Europe Press.
At the Las Vegas rally for the Crusade for Freedom, the "silver brick" garnered $1,000 at another auction. The winner bidder also returned the brick to the Crusade organizers. The "silver brick" was then transported by the Crusade for Freedom statewide motorcade that would tally up 7,500 miles by the time it was over in November 1951. The Ford truck of the motorcade also had carried a replica of the Freedom Bell in Berlin, a Radio Free Europe transmitter tower and the Iron Curtain.
By the middle of October the "silver brick" had been auctioned off to the sum of $2,500, including a winning bid of $21.75 from the Smith Valley Rotary Club in Wellington, Nevada.
There is no record of the "silver brick" ever being laid in the cornerstone of Radio Free Europe’s headquarters building in Munich, Germany. Nor is there any record of what happened to the "silver brick" after the Crusade for Freedom campaign ended in Nevada.