Five Day Bicycle Race, part 6: Mock Turtle Soup

Part 6 of political coverage by a group of image workers under the name The Image Union. Following up on their live coverage of the 1976 Democratic National Convention, Mock Turtle Soup was a live, five-hour election night TV special. The show features pre-recorded videos interspersed with live studio coverage and commentary of the election results as broadcast by the major news outlets. The studio portions also feature telephone calls from viewers.

00:00Copy video clip URL Black.

00:03Copy video clip URL Titles. Image Union Presents: Mock Turtle Soup. “Mock Turtle Soup was a live election night TV show in New York City. The Image Union – nearly forty video people – produced this 5 hour television experiment. What follows are excerpts from… Mock Turtle Soup.”

00:43Copy video clip URL Bill Marpet is taking a shower. He notes he taking us along to watch him vote “to make a private activity public.”

01:09Copy video clip URL At the voting polls, Marpet goes through the voting process. He signs in. Waits in line. He records himself in the booth, selecting his votes. He votes Jimmy Carter for president. When he exists the booth Marpet gets yelled at for taking too long.

02:54Copy video clip URL An update on the vote. 24 percent in. Ford, 47 percent; Carter 52 percent.

03:04Copy video clip URL Maxi Cohen and Carol Vontobel in studio covering election night. They tell the television audience soon they will be seeing video footage being shot now about the election.

03:26Copy video clip URL On the street interviews with New Yorkers. One is asked if he will vote. “No, because I don’t like either of the candidates. I have no choice in the matter. My vote is not going to decide the outcome. It’s already decided. I see Carter is going to win.” Other passersby tell the guy he should vote, but the naysayer retorts, “Why should you vote when it doesn’t count?” “It does count!” An argument ensues. When asked if he thinks the people can control Carter, another passerby rants that “we need to get someone in office who we can control, who’s going to work for the people.” Another bickering argument breaks out when a man challenges the passerby to answer the question: “Do you think the people can control Carter?” A third man notes that this country needs a change and that change is Carter. The man who is not voting argues with others about whether or not Americans have the right to vote or not vote as they please.

07:05Copy video clip URL Another voting update: Montana, 4 electoral votes. Ford 57 percent, Carter 43 percent. Skip Blumberg asks the television audience if anyone has any tips about any of this. “We have camera crews all over the city.”

07:25Copy video clip URL On the street interviews. A woman says “I was for Carter until I heard the debates. Now I’m for Ford. He has much more experience and is more honest.” A man says he’s voting for Carter. “He represents a change.” A shop owner says “Carter’s your man.” Inside Milano’s Bar & Grill near Little Italy, Tom Weinberg interviews the staff. He says “we don’t sell mock turtle soup, we have real turtle soup.” Weinberg says, “someone said this election is like mock turtle soup.” The bar keep laughs.

10:30Copy video clip URL Sari Dienes eats soup. She says, “I don’t think I’ll vote because I’m not very political and because I don’t think there’s much difference between the candidates.”

12:00Copy video clip URL Back in the studio, Blumberg says one of their videographers just shot interviews with the Presidential candidates. They thread the reel-to-reel video tape and run an interview with Peter Camejo who is running for President of the Socialist Workers Party. He says “we want the opportunity to reach out to millions of people. The people are angry. They want to see inflation and unemployment stopped. That won’t happen until we have our own party that puts the people first. That’s what we’re promoting.” He says they’ll get their word out by “building a movement ourselves, going to the people directly, build from the bottom up.” They enter the Socialist party headquarters into a party of people. Fade to black.

15:57Copy video clip URL Back in studio, the host introduces a tape from the McManus Democratic club in a neighborhood called “Clinton” (formerly Hell’s Kitchen). Footage from the visit to the club plays. A group of men sit around a low lit room playing cards and watching election coverage on the TV. When asked why he’s a Democrat, one member says, ‘because it’s done the most for me. It’s helped me with the job, with housing.”  Another member says, “I vote for the party behind the man.” B-roll of two members talking. One is advising the other how to vote and who to vote for.  B-roll of members playing cards.

19:07Copy video clip URL Interview with carpenter Eddie Ocker in a rural area outside of New York City. He thinks the American people don’t have much choice because everything is controlled by international bankers. The President has to do what they say. The bankers are people like the Rothschilds of England. “I’ll vote, but I’ll vote for people on the third party ticket.” He says he doesn’t believe there’s a system out there that will solve all the world’s problems. He thinks Capitalism is better than Communism, “so far. But I question how much better it will be given the way things are going.” He thinks the only solution is to “order everyone out of the Capital, drop a bomb on it, go out to the Midwest, build another Capital and start all over again.”

22:23Copy video clip URL What’s Happening Now Party. Back in New York City and on-the-street interviews. One woman says they should bring politicians up to 125th Street “and see how we live. Let the poor people run this city!” Poor people rally to unite. A kid says, “if I was President I’d lower the prices of food, cure all the sick people.” A woman adds: give better health care, jobs. A mother complains that her daughter’s school closed. Nine hundred kids out of school. “That’s what Ford did for us.”

24:55Copy video clip URL Back the in the studio, a sit down interview with Vice Presidential candidate “Jasper” and Presidential candidate “Sydney.” They talk about the What’s Happening Now Party tape they shot, and all the people who gathered to rant about the injustices heaped onto poor people. “People were anxious to be heard.” It’s important to have alternative media.

26:49Copy video clip URL Carol introduces Jackie Curtis. Curtis is in bed ranting that he doesn’t think his vote will make a difference. He complains about the candidates. “They’re supposed to reassure the public. It’s not happening. So, why should I watch them? They don’t convince me. And I’m supposed to register and vote? If every one felt the way I do, it would be exciting. I really do care, I’m just not impressed. If voting would do any good, I’d do it.”

31:04Copy video clip URL   Joel Gold is at Ford Headquarters inside a hotel. He interviews Reverend Coleman, covered in buttons. He represents Gerald Ford. He says, “We believe he will become the next President. We believe Carter will flop. There will be peace, integrity, and prosperity in ’76.” He says all the buttons show how much he loves Ford. He loves him because he is able to bring this country around he’s someone people can trust.

33:04Copy video clip URL Gold interviews others at Ford Headquarters. One man says there are representatives from Bulgaria, Germany, Lithuania … “We’re supporting Ford. We know him many years. He’s always supported us.” Another says, “Ford is an honest man. He has almost 26 years experience. He’s the best choice for the job.” A woman says her husband worked as treasurer of the campaign. Two 13-year old boys are interviewed. One, Tim, says one day he’ll run for an office: Congress. He likes Ford for Presidency. “Carter is a liar. He says things then changes his position a few days later. Ford is much more honest and he has a better record in the House of Representatives. Carter had a poor record as Governor of Georgia. Ford has experience.”

39:34Copy video clip URL A woman says things could be going better for us, but we’ll see. “I’ll feel disappointed if Ford loses. My husband has been working for Republicans for many years. I think politics are very important.”

42:01Copy video clip URL Gold interviews two woman who say they’re going to take New York all the way to The White House. Philip Weinberg, Ford’s campaign coordinator in New York State says his job is to pull everything together. “This is a paid job. I practice law normally, but take leave to do this. I’m thrilled with the way things are going. We appear to be winning New York and New Jersey.”

44:42Copy video clip URL Gold is in front of the house band. He tries to get women to dance with him. One says yes and they dance. Gold gives an improvised recitation.

48:33Copy video clip URL Titles: End of Part 6. Tune in for Part 7.

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