Date Of Production
Loosely-constructed footage of various political figures during the 1987 campaign for Chicago mayor.
The film begins with a shot of reporters Don Terry and David Roeder in the City Hall press room. Terry holds up an out-of-focus political button and says, "Okay, David. I made a mistake about this boy. He's not as big a punk as I thought... he's still a punk. He couldn't beat Harold."
Next are scenes of Mayor Harold Washington being hounded by press, first in a crowded staircase and then as he tries to get into a car. Reporters ask whether Jane Byrne will endorse him; he plays coy and claims he has no idea.
Next, Stamets interviews Washington aide Chris Chandler on the La Salle Street Bridge, with Marina Towers in the background. Chandler says, "I think it's turned out that Mayor [Richard J.] Daley wasn't the kind of fascist or leader of the enemy quite that he was portrayed in the '60s and '70s." He talks about Daley's handling of the 1968 Democratic Convention (and his infamous "shoot-to-kill" order) and how Daley felt "awkward" about his status with right-wingers.
This is followed by a shot of Jane Byrne at a podium surrounded by aides. Right before the shot ends, she says "By now Harold Washington's campaign strategy is pretty obvious...." The next scene features Chicago Sun-Times reporter Harry Golden, Jr. seated at a desk. He predicts that none of the mayoral candidates will withdraw by March 12th, that Ed Vrdolyak and Thomas Hynes will "go all the way against Mayor Washington," and that Washington will ultimately win with 58% of the vote.
Next is a series of short, seemingly unrelated shots: a group sings "God Bless America" and says Pledge of Allegiance, Byrne talks to press, a man at a camera shop talks about how he sold Richard J. Daley a Bell & Howell 16mm sound projector, and reporters Chinta Strausberg and Don Terry talk in a convention hall.
Next is a scene of Byrne shaking hands at a Northwest Neighborhood Federation meeting, followed by shots of Byrne talking to reporters, two boys running in the street, a stairwell with "JANE BYRNE FOR MAYOR" posters, and Byrne knocking on doors in a neighborhood. Her and her team visit a Mexican grocery store, and then she buys a stuffed bear for the press bus as their "mascot for the rest of the trip." She seems surprised by the $10 price tag. She then eats an ice cream treat topped with a sprinkler at a diner with her staff. She votes in a voting booth and talks to press.
This is followed by shots of Senator Ted Kennedy leaving a building; Chinta Strausberg and alderman Chuy Garcia can be spotted nearby. A reporter calls out a question asking Kennedy what he thinks about the "disarray" in the Chicago Democratic Party. Next, Illinois Solidarity Party candidate Ed Vrdolyak rolls a pushcart stacked with petitions to get him on the ballot. He talks with the press.
This is followed by scenes inside of Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen at 1141 S Jefferson St, a mainstay on the campaign trail. Stamets talks to two Manny's employees about the election. The woman says she doesn't understand why Jane Byrne doesn't use her husband's last name, and says "I just don't think she's the kind of person that could run the city, even if she did once before." The young man next to her agrees.
Next Stamets interviews Windy City Times reporter Jon-Henri Damski outside as it snows ("typical Election Day in Chicago"). With a statue of Alexander Hamilton behind him, Damski talks about how Hamilton was unlike Chicago politicians. He says that former Mayor Richard J. Daley practiced what Damski calls "a form of transsexual politics" because he was more of a "city mother" than a "city father," and he suggests that that was why people didn't want to oppose him. He goes on to say that Byrne is a "city father," which was why machine Democrats kicked her out of the "league of sons." He characterizes Washington as "a most interesting transitional figure" because he "grew up in Daley politics."
The film now cuts back to Stamets' interview with Chris Chandler on the bridge. Chandler talks about the "tremendous contrast" between Washington in 1983 and 1987, saying Washington had gone from idealistic to defensive between his first and second campaigns. He accuses Washington of having abandoned ideology, saying he has "set out to become a Black Richard Daley." Chandler says Washington has disappointed those who had made up his original coalition, who had had "higher hopes" for him. He talks about how the press was unfair to Washington during the first two years of his term, and had shown "consistent bias" against him. He argues that the press swung to Washington's side once he gained control of City Council, and now gives him "favorable treatment." This is followed by a brief shot of Washington on a campaign bus.
The film then returns to a snow-covered Jon-Henri Damski, who discusses how Chicago politics has always been a "men's club."
The film ends with an interview with a woman at a diner. She says that Michael Bilandic would be the best person for mayor of Chicago, and that Thomas Hynes would be her second choice.
19 min 6 sec
Has Been Digitized?
Language Of Materials
Participants And Performers
Golden, Harry Jr.