Mayoral Commercials by Lynn Sweet. This tape collects many of the political ads from the 1983 race for mayor of Chicago. The ads are shown in approximately consecutive order. First there are the ads for the Democratic primary race between Jane Byrne, Richard M. Daley, and Harold Washington, followed by ads from the general election between Harold Washington and Bernard Epton. Many of the ads are smears, so it is interesting to see them in close succession responding to each other. Includes ad featuring Studs Terkel for Washington.
0:22Copy video clip URL Image Union opening.
0:44Copy video clip URL Introduction to the show and the episode. This episode will be a collection of 45 political commercials for the 1983 Chicago mayoral election. TV commercials played an important role in this election.
01:15Copy video clip URL A commercial for Jane Byrne from 1979, in which she is shown conversing with citizens and then addresses the camera: “I think it’s time to get Chicago working again–for you.” Commentary explains the importance of commercials for Byrne’s victory, and also talks about how commercials were made to respond to commercials. The voiceover states that Harold Washington at first did not have enough money to make TV advertisements.
01:59Copy video clip URL The commercials are introduced. They will be shown in the order that they were made and broadcast, starting with the primary and then the general election.
02:09Copy video clip URL A Richard M. Daley advertisement, claiming that he will offer hope to a troubled Chicago. His credentials are listed and he is shown speaking about leadership and serving the public interest. “Chicago can do better. Chicago has done better. Chicago will do better. I welcome the challenge.”
03:09Copy video clip URL “Chicago 1979-1983: The Road Back” for Jane Byrne. This commercial begins with the mention of Chicago’s debt and the attempt to keep the city alive. “Now the city moves into a bright future.” Jane Byrne is shown listing some of the ways in which this is being done.
04:09Copy video clip URL A commercial for Harold Washington. The ad states that only one candidate who is truly qualified to be the mayor while Washington walks down a hallway in shadow, only being revealed at the very end. “So what’s to keep us from making this candidate our next mayor? Nothing.”
04:39Copy video clip URL A Richard M. Daley ad in which Daley lists some of his accomplishments in government, and says he is proud to run on his record.
05:09Copy video clip URL Jane Byrne admits to making mistakes, but learning from them. “We’re in better shape than any big city in America.” She says that there are still some tough times ahead, but that she is ready to take them on.
05:39Copy video clip URL A gramophone plays an upbeat “Chicago” song, which winds down and cuts off. The narrator says, “the machine that ran Chicago doesn’t work anymore.” The ad is for Harold Washington, who is challenging the “machine politics” of previous mayors.
06:09Copy video clip URL In a commercial for Richard M. Daley, his wife Maggie talks about the candidate’s dissatisfaction with the city’s direction, and his love for Chicago which would drive his dedication to turn it around.
06:39Copy video clip URL In another Daley commercial, his mother “Sis” Daley says she is very proud of her son and that he would be a good mayor for the city of Chicago. The name and legacy of Daley’s father, the late Richard J. Daley, is referenced, including a picture of father and son, sitting next to each other in the same pose.
07:09Copy video clip URL A variety of complaints, leading into compliments of Jane Byrne as mayor of Chicago. As in previous ads, her mistakes and rocky start are openly acknowledged.
07:36Copy video clip URL Harold Washington talks about job loss and other shortcomings during Byrne’s time as mayor. “Elect the qualified candidate: Harold Washington.”
08:07Copy video clip URL A Daley ad lists various promises Jane Byrne made and did not follow through on.
08:36Copy video clip URL This ad is a response to the previous smear ad. Paid for by Mayor Byrne’s committee, it questions Daley’s sources and uses of campaign funds. “Come on, Richie–Isn’t it time to talk about the real issues?”
09:06Copy video clip URL Another ad showing Jane Byrne’s past mistakes, accusing her of using media experts to make a new image for herself. The commercial claims that as a mayor, she would still be equally incapable of approaching the city’s problems. “Vote for real ability–Harold Washington.”
09:36Copy video clip URL Daley is shown listing some accomplishments he is proud of. He says the mayor’s office should be run like “a sound business.”
10:06Copy video clip URL The ad claims Jane Byrne gets out there where the problems live, and tackles them head on. The ad spins what some people considered an abrasive personality into a strength. “You don’t run the city on charm, but run it she does.” A man on the street claims she has to be aggressive to handle Chicago.
10:36Copy video clip URL An elderly man lists reasons to distrust Mayor Byrne, and then says that he and his friends plan to vote for Daley. As in his earlier ads, the importance of Daley’s “good family” is emphasized.
11:07Copy video clip URL Daley’s economic plan for Chicago is described. His proposals are listed, and each one is said to have already been accomplished by Mayor Byrne. Point for point, what Daley says should be done is already being done by Byrne.
11:37Copy video clip URL The Tribune and the Sun Times endorse Richard Daley as the best hope for Chicago’s future. Ability and integrity are stressed as the two most valuable traits in a mayor.
12:07Copy video clip URL “Close up: Jane Byrne.” She tells a touching story of being a single mother after the loss of her husband. The commercial states that she translates that same strength and instinct to her tasks as mayor.
13:08Copy video clip URL Another ad quoting praises from the Sun Times about Daley’s qualifications and record. His reliability and integrity and continually reenforced.
13:37Copy video clip URL Documented facts are listed about Chicago’s strengths and recent accomplishments, which are then attributed to Mayor Byrne’s recent work.
14:06Copy video clip URL Daley is positioned as an underdog whose vision and integrity helped him rise to become a front runner in the mayoral race. He was endorsed in various newspapers, and the polls say he will win. “But the real winner will be Chicago, and that’s worth voting for.”
14:37Copy video clip URL Byrne says the campaign has been tough; she points out the smear ads that her competitors have used against her. She admits to being tough and fighting with people, but that these qualities are important for the difficult job of mayor.
15:07Copy video clip URL February 22, 1983. The official results of the Democratic primary election: Washington 36.7%, Byrne 33.5%, Daley 29.8%.
15:18Copy video clip URL The voiceover explains that during the general election, Republican Bernard Epton got on the air first with a controversial ad campaign using the slogan “Before It’s Too Late.” The slogan is used throughout most of the Epton ads. Washington’s ads were thus forced to confront the racial issue directly.In an ad, Epton is shown listing his plans as mayor and explaining why he is a better candidate than Washington.
15:36Copy video clip URL Washington assures that is he is mayor, he will be fair and “no one will be fired for arbitrary political purposes.”
16:06Copy video clip URL Epton’s qualifications are listed and he talks about his priorities as mayor, including “keeping a tight lid on taxes” and strengthening the Chicago police.
16:36Copy video clip URL Studs Terkel presents a lengthy list of organizations and leaders that have stood up for Harold Washington. Studs accuses the smear campaign against him of being “unfair, distorted and dangerous.” He talks about creating a “strong and unified Chicago.”
17:06Copy video clip URL Epton’s qualifications as legislator, lawyer and businessman are compared to Washington’s past “unlawful” behavior. This continues with other side-by-side comparisons of the two candidates, which continually paints Washington as a criminal.
17:36Copy video clip URL This commercial contains a letter addressing Epton about his campaign slogan. The writer turns his slogan around, stating that “it’s already too late. Too late for Republicans like you.” Epton’s political record of voting against programs for the poor and needy are emphasized. The ad concludes that it is not too late to set things right, which is why the letter’s author is voting for Washington.
18:36Copy video clip URL Another ad citing Washington’s past convictions and alleged unlawful behavior, again focusing on the point that he is untrustworthy. The commercial quotes John F Kennedy out of context, saying that “sometimes party loyalty asks too much,” and asserts that this election is such a time.
19:06Copy video clip URL Epton is shown as a marionette being controlled in a comical dance by various Republicans pulling strings above him. “You don’t want to Republicans pulling your strings too.”
19:36Copy video clip URL A woman who voted for Byrne in the primary election has now decided to vote for Epton, because he cares about the people of Chicago. Other people are interviewed, praising his honesty and integrity. Washington is called a corrupt criminal.
20:36Copy video clip URL Larry Bloom says that Harold Washington is fair and unbiased. “[Washington] has no hidden agenda.” Bloom says he was running against six black men in a ward that was 75% black, and that Washington endorsed him, a white man. Washington says, “My dream for the city is to see it unified.”
21:06Copy video clip URL Epton is again praised for his spotless reputation, integrity, and honesty. Washington’s unpaid taxes are cited again.
21:36Copy video clip URL Footage of young students reciting the pledge of allegiance is intercut with footage of angry white protestors booing Harold Wahinston. The ad ends with the text, “Vote for Harold Washington.”
22:06Copy video clip URL “Bernie” Epton plainly states that the mayoral election has nothing to do with race or religion, and that it is instead about which candidate can effectively get the job done. The “Before it’s too late” slogan at the end has been dropped.
22:37Copy video clip URL A slideshow of profound moments in U.S. history, including assassinations and violent riots. Racial tension is emphasized in photos of the Ku Klux Klan and Martin Luther King, Jr. The ad states that one of those moments could be happening now in Chicago, and shows the footage of angry white protestors booing Washington. The commercial ends with a reminder that when you vote, “make sure it’s a vote you can be proud of. Vote for Harold Washington.”
23:07Copy video clip URL The ad claims Epton is “the one candidate who’s speaking out on the issues,” and says he has spelled out his plans for his job as mayor. Emphasizes Epton as a strong leader.
23:36Copy video clip URL This commercial begins with the national anthem. “Here in Chicago, we know what makes America strong.” The narrator points out the racial diversity of the city, saying that Chicago can come together in support of Harold Washington. “We’re going to vote with our hearts, not with our fears.”
24:36Copy video clip URL Bernie Epton’s successes and credentials are listed. According to this commercial, he is the one candidate with the ideas, experience and integrity to get the job done. In the background, people are heard chanting “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!”
25:06Copy video clip URL The official results of the April 12, 1983 general election: Washington 51.9%, Epton 48.1%.
25:18Copy video clip URL Closing credits.
26:42Copy video clip URL End.