Daley, Reel 1

A look at the life and career of Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley, produced for the 10-year anniversary of his death. The show is made up of interviews with Daley's family, friends, colleagues, and critics, as well as much archival footage.

0:00Copy video clip URL WTTW Logo

0:15Copy video clip URL Title and Daley in November 1954 talking about running for mayor.

0:45Copy video clip URL John Callaway introduces show and talks about Daley’s six terms. He speaks from the Walnut Room of the Bismarck Hotel, where Daley ate lunch almost every day.

2:50Copy video clip URL WTTW news footage of John Callaway announcing Daley’s death on December 20, 1976.

3:45Copy video clip URL Story of Daley’s childhood and family in Bridgeport.

4:35Copy video clip URL April 21, 1955. Archival footage of Daley being sworn in as mayor. Visteen voices over an introductory piece about Daley’s career, power, and his ability “to keep everything together.”

5:35Copy video clip URL Citizens of Chicago talk about what they think about Daley. “It was more or less a dictatorship, but we accepted it.”

6:34Copy video clip URL Talk about Daley’s iron fist in the City Council. Daley yells at Alderman Leon Despres. Daley talks about fights: “You don’t get in unless you win.”

7:25Copy video clip URL Voice over about Daley’s influence over presidents and national elections.

8:16Copy video clip URL April 8, 1968. Footage of Daley giving “shoot to kill” order and footage of the Democratic convention. From the podium at the Democratic National Convention, Governor Ribicoff talks about “Gestapo tactics on the streets of Chicago.” Daley responds with an epithet from the Illinois delegation.

9:29Copy video clip URL Talk about Daley’s career after losing face during the conventions.

11:09Copy video clip URL Callaway talks about Daley’s way with the English language. Daley’s press secretary Earl Bush talks about telling reporters, “Don’t say what he says, say what he means.” Callaway introduces Joel Weisman with guests Harry Golden, Jr. from The Sun Times, Clarence Page with the Tribune, John Madigan of WBBM radio, and Lois Wille, a former Chicago Daily News reporter. Golden describes Daley’s years as a time of “wholesome contention.”

15:14Copy video clip URL Madigan says that Daley “did not trust the press… it was a tenable relationship until the 1968 convention, and from then on, until a fault, he was suspicious… and he had reasons to be suspicious.”

16:10Copy video clip URL Lois Wille talks about writing the sorts of things that Daley didn’t want printed. She talks about having a hard time getting statistical information out of the administration. She talks about having a mysterious and secretive meeting with a doctor just to get information on lead paint.

17:35Copy video clip URL Clarence Page talks about coming into the business around 1968, saying it was not a good time for Daley, and that he was shocked to find that Daley was respected.

18:27Copy video clip URL Golden says, “He sensed accurately that most of the media was hostile.” Joel Weisman talks about the public salivating for news about Daley. Golden argues and says that Daley earned his respect with hard work. Madigan says other mayors were envious of his ability to get things done. Table talks about differences in Daley’s handling of City Hall press room reporters and other Chicago journalists.

21:10Copy video clip URL Wille sticks up for press room reporters, saying that Daley didn’t like other reporters just because he wanted to look out for the city, and didn’t want bad news to get out.

22:30Copy video clip URL Golden tells a story about a Chicago publisher bragging about getting a call from Daley.

23:00Copy video clip URL Madigan talks about Daley’s temper. People at table discuss the negative turn in Daley’s press during the 1960s.

25:40Copy video clip URL People at table discuss Daley’s power to unite different areas of industry, and his power in Springfield, which grew throughout his terms.

27:13Copy video clip URL Wille talks about a 1971 effort by journalists who published a page about “why we think Daley should not be endorsed.”

28:27Copy video clip URL Weisman takes a poll whether Daley loved talking more about politics or government with the press. Wille suggests that he would talk about either, just not social issues.

29:35Copy video clip URL Weisman tells a story about Daley telling him, “If you’re a journalist, I’m a ballet dancer,” after which Chicago Today published a cartoon drawing of Daley doing ballet.

30:35Copy video clip URL Clip of Harold Washington, current mayor, talking about Daley. “He was a loner… when you get right down to it, the people who have the most political integrity are loners… It’s true in politics, it’s true in art, it’s true in science.” “I would think that his legacy is a politic one, in terms of a high standard of activity, if you don’t get into particulars… I’m pretty sure as far as individual corruption he abhorred it. These people were close to him, but I don’t think he was a part of it.”

32:51Copy video clip URL Jane Byrne, former mayor, talks about being hand-picked by Daley to become the first female Co-Chairperson of the Democratic Party. The way he accomplished this started with his plans for her to preside of the slate-making meeting. Daley arranged for the meeting to fall on a day when he had to attend a funeral (a common event for such a high-profile man). Byrne presides over the meeting, but the group of mostly male aldermen decide to show their lack of respect for her. Most of the alderman have left the room and are playing cards in the hall. When Daley returns and sees the situation, he calls the aldermen to order and announces: “You might as well get used to it, because this is the way it’s going to be. And I don’t want you in the hallways, I want you here.”

35:32Copy video clip URL Michael Bilandic, former mayor, describes Daley as his mentor. He claims that Richard J. Daley made him who he is and he hopes that his own son will have his own “Richard Daley” to help him in his own career.

37:18Copy video clip URL Callaway introduces Earl Bush, longtime press secretary for Daley.

38:05Copy video clip URL Bush talks about starting with Daley: “I had no connections whatsoever.” Bush talks about Daley on television, the “shoot to kill” statement: “Every one says it like that’s what he meant, but the mayor didn’t mean that.” Bush talks about his animosity with the press, never giving them any information: “If I knew, I wouldn’t tell you.” Bush brings up “The race issue. That was probably Daley’s great dilemma.” Bush says that Martin Luther King, Jr. felt that Daley had so much power he could just end discrimination with a single speech. Bush says Daley and King liked each other.

48:20Copy video clip URL “Fish Story.” Daley, in a strangely poetic moment, waxes about the beauty of the city and how one can take it all in while fishing. “There’s nothing as wholesome as a fish.”

48:52Copy video clip URL Jimmy Breslin, writer-journalist, tells a great story about a dinner with Hubert Humphrey, where Humphrey expected to be endorsed for President by Daley. Just before Daley speaks, he takes a question from the crowd, where a man stands up and reads a speech about how the mayor should not mention who he’s voting for for President, because it will make future dinners awkward. Great story by a great storyteller.

51:52Copy video clip URL Callaway introduces author Eugene Kennedy, a former priest, who describes Daley as a representative of the Irish-Catholic culture. “This loyalty to the city, to the place, is very Irish.” “He knew what he was doing; He liked being mayor.”

56:09Copy video clip URL End of first reel. See tapes #10036 and #10037 for the remaining 100 minutes of this program.



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