[Bernard Epton interview]

Tom Weinberg interviews Bernard Epton, Republican Chicago mayoral candidate whose campaign against Harold Washington became controversial when his television commercials were perceived (correctly so) as racist attacks on Washington. He talks about his controversial slogans and commercials. After the Epton interview, at 11:43, there is raw footage from an interview with Milton Rakove for "Vito Marzullo."

00:25Copy video clip URL The tape has been playing audio (mid-sentence) since it began; this is when the video comes in. Tom Weinberg and Bernard Epton are in a mostly empty banquet room.

00:46Copy video clip URL Weinberg brings up political commercials and if Epton is satisfied with how he spent his money in that regard. Epton remembers one commercial being controversial (“Epton Before It’s Too late) but says all the rest followed the outline to bring out Harold Washington’s background. Epton also says radio was a higher priority than TV and may have used more TV spots in hindsight.

03:23Copy video clip URL “I think that the advertising wouldn’t have the effect it has unless the media then picks it up. I’m talking about the other media, the printed media particularly.” Epton then goes on to say that his slogan wouldn’t have caused a furor if it hadn’t been picked up by the print media, who gave it a racial slant.

05:13Copy video clip URL “Epton Before It’s Too Late’ meant simply fiscal.”

06:06Copy video clip URL Weinberg and Epton go on to discuss general political advertising. Epton thinks there should be limits on the way political advertising is utilized: “Without knowing Congressman-Mayor Washington or myself, television, if it’s allowed to inundate your home, is going to sell a candidate who may be extremely unworthy of the office.” They go on to talk about how TV has changed people’s perceptions of Epton and made him more familiar.

09:55Copy video clip URL What Epton would have done differently: “I would have been more solicitous of the Jewish community….It’s a difficult question to answer, because I don’t really know what I did wrong.”

11:45Copy video clip URL End of interview.

11:48Copy video clip URL Raw footage from an interview with Milton Rakove for “Vito Marzullo.” Rakove explains how Marzullo raises money through an “Ad Book” and dinner dance.

14:36Copy video clip URL Rakove discusses Marzullo’s work ethic. He rarely misses a day of work, and sees to the little details: “Politics at this level is not about issues. It’s about garbage cans, street holes, can you get somebody a job, can you get something fixed…”

17:10Copy video clip URL Rakove discusses the relationship between Marzullo and Alderman Despres.

19:37Copy video clip URL B-roll of “25th Ward Regular Democratic Organization” book, with special attention paid to the amount of paid advertisements. Probably the “Ad Book.”

22:07Copy video clip URL End of tape.

 

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