Raw footage from the 1981 documentary "Rostenkowski," a portrait of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, a powerful figure in Chicago (and national) politics. At a rally for Rostenkowski in the field house in Chicago's Pulaski Park (which sits in Rostenkowski's district on Chicago's northwest side). The tape opens with Nick Melas, President of the Chicago Sanitary District, giving a speech. Dan O'Brien, Illinois state legislator and Democratic Committeeman for Chicago's 43rd Ward, speaks to the crowd after being introduced by Rostenkowski. After O'Brien, an unidentified speaker, who is not on camera (the camera seems to be pointed toward the ground) urges to the audience vote the straight Democratic ticket, reminding them that: "the party is more important than any of us." The next speaker is Lester Foreman, candidate for Circuit Court Judge. Then Morgan Finley, candidate for Clerk of Cook County Circuit Court, is introduced by Rostenkowski. His walk down the isle is reminiscent of flamboyant boxing champ, complete with wailing sirens, handshaking, and confetti. At the end of the tape, an unidentified speaker, presumably the emcee, urges the precinct captains in attendance to take the rally signs home, and then display the signs on election day.
00:00Copy video clip URL Screen is black for the first 17 seconds of the tape.
00:17Copy video clip URL Tape begins where it left off from the last video. Mick Melas is speaking to the audience about a local issue having to deal with the pollution in Lake Michigan. Blumberg documents the audience reaction to Melas’ comments by focusing in on a few of the attendees. Rostenkowski says a few words about Nick Melas before he steps down from the podium.
02:58Copy video clip URL Quick cut to shot of Dan O’Brien getting covered in confetti while walking down the isle toward the stage. Rostenkowski gives a small introduction for O’Brien before he takes the podium. O’Brien offers his thanks to the constituants and his colleagues for all of their help in supporting him.
04:56Copy video clip URL Quick cut to another speaker who cannot be seen because of the awkward camera placement. However, the audio from his speech can be heard. The speaker urges the audience to vote strictly democratic across the whole board. “The party is more important than any of us. The party is more important than its candidates, and the way to win elections, the way to treat elections, is to encourage people, to insist that people vote a straight democratic ticket.” “Any defection, any deviation from that endangers not only candidates on the ticket, but more important it endangers the Democratic Party, and that means you men and women who make up the Democratic Party.”
07:35Copy video clip URL Quick cut to Rostenkowski introducing Lester Forman to come up and speak a little bit about himself. Forman steps up to the podium and speaks for just under a minute and emphasizes pulling “Lever B,” the all democratic vote lever.
09:50Copy video clip URL Morgan Finley, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, is introduced and slowly makes his way down the isle, shaking a good number of hands, and sharing a few words with a couple of audience members. The crowd is fairly heavy on the confetti throughout the tape. Rostenkowski gives a little introduction for Morgan Finley before he takes the podium. “I can think truly of no candidate on our ticket that is more committed to public service, to an effective court system, to keeping the records of one of the largest circuits in the country, because Cook County is one of the largest counties in the country. And because he’s done such an outstanding job, it’s really our obligation to make sure that Morgan Finley continues to serve us in Cook County.”
13:55Copy video clip URL Morgan Finley speaks to the audience about his re-election into the position of clerk of the circuit court of Cook County, followed by a very quick cut to another speaker talking to the audience about using their signs to campaign for their candidates.
15:18Copy video clip URL The screen goes black for a few seconds.
15:22Copy video clip URL Quick cut to outside of the campaign rally near the floats and back inside of the crowded lobby area.
15:59Copy video clip URL Tape ends.