Five Day Bicycle Race, part 7: Mock Turtle Soup

Part 7 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.

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00:04Copy video clip URL Titles: Image Union Part 7 Mock Turtle Soup

00:11Copy video clip URL Channels flip on a TV. Skip Blumberg and Tom Weinberg in studio talk about reality. What on TV is reality? Weinberg says, “We’ve spoken with Tony Schwartz who consulted Jimmy Carter on the commercials being made. Here, Schwartz explains what they as media people do.”

02:21Copy video clip URL Tony Schwartz says Carter never looked into the camera in past campaign ads. “They used the TV as a window. I feel the person should talk to the camera, to the people.” Footage of a Carter campaign ad. Schwartz says his campaign allowed the Ford campaign to make Carter the issue. “The Ford campaign was better than the candidate, and the Carter campaign was not as good as the candidate. Carter’s ad manager said, ‘how can a candidate of love and compassion do an anti-Ford ad that bashes his competitor?’ I don’t think truth is anti-love and compassion. I did about 25 TV commercials for Carter. They used 14 or 15 and didn’t use others that they felt were anti-Ford. Journalists who interview me never ask what are you doing and how are you doing it? They just want gossip!”

05:57Copy video clip URL Back in the studio the crew takes  call from Linda. She says this team is not taking the issues and the campaign seriously. “I’m disappointed. I’ve watched about 80 percent of your show. Your work isn’t illuminating at all.” She adds the socialist party’s comments would be interesting. Blumberg says, “we had that on a half hour ago!” Blumberg takes another call. This one from Michael. “If Ford takes California that margin of difference could be from black and Hispanic communities.” He gets this information from local news. One of the hosts, Paul, says “this is a sick world. We’re trying to maintain playing on one side and war on the other. We didn’t talk to that woman who called long enough. All we can do is make fun, and I say to that woman who called is that the Jester is important. He calls it like it is when he sees a plastic world full of shit.”

11:44Copy video clip URL Cut to the Americana Hotel. Journalist John Tesh files a report on the election. B-roll at the Carter Headquarters. A crowd of Carter supporters party. The host predicts victory for Carter  A bartender pours drinks. He says Carter’s a winner. A supporter says Carter is going to be victorious. She says, “The media said people wouldn’t turn out to vote, but look at it!” Another woman says Carter will win.

15:16Copy video clip URL Victory party. Title: Carter Celebration. A band plays, people dance. In answering the question, are you glad Carter won, a man says: “You better believe it, lady!” A man says, “I think things are going fine. I think Carter will do well in the electoral vote. The popular vote will be close.” Paul O’Dwyer says, “We’re waiting to confirm that Carter has won New York. It looks good at the moment.”

18:04Copy video clip URL The band plays at the Carter celebration party. People dance. The on-camera host interviews party goers. A woman says “Carter is worth dancing for and I hope he wins!” She asks one man, “Do you think there will be more dancing once Carter is elected?” “You bet your bottom dollar!” Footage of the party, a waiter carries a tray of used drinking glasses.

20:39Copy video clip URL Back in studio Skip Blumberg notes it’s nearly two in the morning and we don’t have a final vote. Another host asks, “What kind of realism will win? What kind of media will win?” Another host flips through TV channels.

21:24Copy video clip URL End credits.

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