[Selections from Five Day Bicycle Race]

This video contains an hour-long edit of footage shot for "Five Day Bicycle Race," a project comprised of live in-studio commentary and taped edited coverage of the 1976 Democratic National Convention in New York City. Produced by independent videomakers calling themselves The Image Union (including many members of TVTV and Videofreex), it aired on Manhattan Cable for three hours per night for five days during the convention. This video chronicles the events in and around the convention, and includes interviews with various delegates, politicians, members of the media, and people connected to Jimmy Carter, including wife Rosalynn Carter and son Jeff Carter. It also includes footage from the convention floor and demonstrators outside the convention, led by Ron Kovic.

00:00Copy video clip URL This tape begins with a blue screen, color bars, and tone.

00:26Copy video clip URL Tom Weinberg reads an introduction for the program.

00:48Copy video clip URL West Virginia Delegate Shirley Love gives an introduction for the “Five Day Bicycle Race.” An Uncle Sam impersonator and a band perform for an audience outside of Madison Square Garden in New York.

01:23Copy video clip URL Fade into footage of Jimmy Carter walking with his entourage of secret service and family. The clip ends once a member of the secret service places his hand over the camera lens.

01:53Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Rosalyn Carter. Videographer Skip Blumberg asks Carter about her Carter/Mondale pin. She pleasantly responds to Blumberg while continuing to speak with those around her. Blumberg asks her about whether all of the press coverage is imposing on her. She states that she has gotten used to all of the cameras, but that it was a very gradual process. Blumberg then asks her about the most important thing she hopes for in a Carter Administration. “Well I’ve seen Jimmy reorganize the state government in Georgia, and I know how people are very skeptical about whether or not he can do it in the federal government, and so I want them to see that he can do the things that he thinks he can do and that it is not impossible to make changes in the federal government.”

03:33Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of DNC Chairman Robert Strauss. Blumberg asks Strauss whether he knows anything about Carter’s plans for reorganization. Strauss states that he knows nothing of the sort. We then see a shot of Senator Hubert Humphrey. Blumberg asks him the same question and is promptly given the same answer. Blumberg also asks House Speaker Carl Albert, House Majority Leader Tip O’Neill, and Senate Majority Whip Robert Byrd about the possible direction of the Carter Administration. The three men answer the questions but do not get into very many specifics.

05:45Copy video clip URL When asked whether it is possible to be a First Lady without being involved in politics, Rosalynn Carter states that she doesn’t know how one could possibly separate the two. “I’ve been involved with Jimmy for so long and I think about all kinds of political considerations in fact, I was the one that kept saying, thinking about the political considerations when Jimmy was trying to choose, decide on the Vice President.” Blumberg then asks Carter if it would be possible for her to arrange for the crew to meet Jimmy Carter. She is immediately taken aback by the question and states that she doesn’t know if that’s possible. This is then followed by footage of Rosalynn Carter greeting Walter Mondale and his wife after he had been announced as Carter’s running mate.

08:04Copy video clip URL Fade into a shot of an empty convention hall. Joel Gold performs a monologue about the presidency as the camera operator travels throughout the convention floor. This lasts for several minutes.

12:00Copy video clip URL Fade into an interview with New York Democrat Bella Abzug. Blumberg asks her about her work in the U.S. House of Congress. She talks about the different worlds in politics as she makes her way to a luncheon.

12:44Copy video clip URL Fade into a shot of a International Committee Against Racism protest rally. A group representative explains why the group is protesting. “Basically we’re coming to let Jimmy ‘Peanut’ Carter and Senator ‘Monkey’ Mondale know that we know the name of the game–it’s called the Democratic Party put in Ford, now they’re going to put in Carter, same enemy, same fate as far as the ordinary black and white person is concerned–Latino, Asian, Native American, and immigrant.” The representative states that Carter’s appeal is not to the working class, but to the Democratic Party machine.” He goes on to label Carter as a “phony puritan.” “We’ve got the perfect combination. A man who supported George Wallace, who invited him to speak, who supported Lester Maddox, but is also protected by the Black Negro Nationalist Community. With a mixture like that you got something called ‘apartheid’ in sight. We’re there to say we’re going to fight it and we don’t care who they put in office, we’re going to be struggling against them.”

15:09Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Skip Blumberg and Jane Aaron holding a conversation with a a man claiming to be the nephew of then Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. He pontificates about his wealth to giggling onlookers. This lasts for several minutes.

19:43Copy video clip URL Fade into a shot of one of Carter’s sons, Jeff Carter. He talks about the campaign and how it has affected the family. The videographer asks him about all of the media attention surrounding his father. Carter states that he tends to stay away from the media attention as much as possible due to some of the dangers involved. The videographer goes on to ask Carter if he is for the decriminalization of marijuana. He believes that it should be decriminalized in order to get it out of the courts due to the high cost of court fees. He states that Georgia spent nearly 16 million dollars on police and court costs on marijuana cases. He also states that his father wants to decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana for personal use. The videographer goes on to ask Carter if he is a fan of the show “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.” Carter says he likes the show and enjoyed the recent season finale. He then goes on to talk about attending a Rolling Stone party the previous night. Carter talks about some of the movie stars that were in attendance.

25:15Copy video clip URL Cut to footage from outside of the Rolling Stone party during the DNC. One of the videographers interviews Jeff Peters, a member of Carter’s finance committee. While waiting for a friend, Peters speaks with the videographer about Rolling Stone Magazine’s endorsement of Carter and listens to a speech on the radio from House Representative Barbara Jordan.

26:54Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Vietnam veteran and activist Ron Kovic. Kovic is about to try and enter the party, which is a closed door event. Kovic states that he is being discriminated against because he had been invited by Jimmy Carter and Rolling Stone Magazine. As the intensity of the situation grows, Kovic becomes more outraged by this circumstance and says with a fervent tone of voice, “Now maybe I’m not one of the beautiful people because I’m sitting in the wheelchair because of the goddamn United States government’s policy in Vietnam.”

30:02Copy video clip URL Videographer Joel Gold sings a few songs about the DNC and peanuts. The camera operator shoots footage of a large storefront filled with peanuts while Gold sings a song about peanuts as a number of confused onlookers watch in silence.

32:57Copy video clip URL While at a bar, one of the videomakers speaks with convention attendee Bob Connor about his impression of the DNC so far. Connor states, “Well I think Bob Strauss put it best by saying you kind of had a girl that was deaf and dumb and who’s daddy owned a liquor store and that’s the way he wanted to keep it.”

34:05Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Father Drieman of Massachusetts. The videographer asks Drieman whether his voting for Carter is faith based. Drieman responds by saying that faith comes from the record of a candidate. The videographers also speak with feminist author Betty Friedan, who talks about her reasons for voting for Carter.

35:12Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Chevy Chase who responds to the same question by saying, “I don’t give a shit, really.” Chase goes on to try and make further jokes but cannot think of anything to say and instead runs away.

35:44Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of three Madison Square Garden employees. The videographers ask the men about their political affiliations. One of the men says he likes Pat Brown but goes on to state that there’s no difference between the Democrats and Republicans. The man speaks with a very brooding Irish accent and is seemingly angered by the current state of U.S. politics. “Does not make any difference¬† whether it’s Democrat or Republican. The men with the money tells you when you walk and when you eat.”

38:02Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Bella Abzug once again. Blumberg asks Abzug to welcome the television audience to the DNC. She also talks about her own feelings on Carter’s nomination and invites the television audience to an ice cream party being held later that night. Another filmmaker also interviews Abzug while she sits watching the convention. Abzug talks about the upcoming nominations and her hopes of the Democrats winning the national election and herself winning her own Congressional election against her opponent. During the interview, a delegate interrupts and states that she cannot hear the speech that’s currently being given because of the interview. Abzug then quickly answers one more question about a possible Presidential run. She says that she has no plans to ever run for President.

42:55Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of a young reporter on the floor of the convention hall. The young boy explains that he works for a kids’ news magazine and that they have about fifteen reporters covering the convention. The young boy states that he’s lost about five to ten pounds from working so much on the floor during the DNC. Blumberg then interviews CBS News Correspondent Roger Mudd, who had previously refused to talk to Blumberg at the 1972 conventions. He talks about the physically draining aspects of the coverage. He also talks about his being a registered Democrat. He explains that he’d like to re-register as an independent. When asked who he would choose to be president, living or dead, the reporter says that he would like to see Theodore Roosevelt in office.

46:54Copy video clip URL The videographers ask ABC News Commentator Harry Reasoner about the level of preparation for coverage of the convention. Reasoner states that many people in broadcasting regret the amount of money that’s put into convention coverage, but that in the long run, it may be worth it. He also states that conventions are a bit of a testing ground for new equipment.

47:19Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Jesse Jackson on the convention floor. Blumberg asks Jackson about his experience at the DNC. Jackson is fairly distant throughout the exchange and is clearly trying to exit the interview. When asked if it is difficult for him to be sitting in the same section as Mayor Richard J. Daley during the convention, Jackson responds by saying, “No, because I’m bigger than racism. I mean, I’m free of having to react to people. I’m clear that the agenda here is to put together a combination of people that will eliminate Ford and Reagan and I’m preoccupied with that.”

48:59Copy video clip URL One of the videomakers speaks with activist and member of the Chicago Seven David Dellinger about the issue of racism. “You know I understand that of course one tries the certain level of human understanding to transcend the antagonisms and the struggle and to look at the person as a person… So there’s a certain sense in which we have to transcend where individuals are at. We have to know that we are all flawed and conditioned by the problems in our society and by the hypocrisy of it but at the same time try to transcend them in a way which does away with facing up to the ugly realities and trying to challenge those realities, that doesn’t help.” He goes on to talk about Jimmy Carter’s opposition to the impeachment of Richard Nixon and his defense of the Vietnam War. Dellinger goes on to make a few comments about democracy and states that elections are not the way to gain control in one’s life. He calls for the decentralization of corporations and the ushering in of a town hall mentality back into democracy, something he feels has been lost in the U.S. He makes a few comments about nuclear proliferation, the exile of Vietnam deserters, and Jimmy Carter’s lack of truly liberal stances on both.

55:45Copy video clip URL Fade into a shot of California Governor Jerry Brown as he makes his way out of the convention. He and his associates have some trouble staring the vehicle. Brown jokes with videographer Nancy Cain and says, “You know, I think this is symbolic of the whole campaign. We just ran out of gas at the last minute.”

57:39Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of a seemingly inebriated man and woman who had been performing for an audience outside of the DNC. The man sings a song for the videographers. An Uncle Sam impersonator scares a toddler by dancing with her. The toddler is in tears as the impersonator frolics around the performance area.

01:00:36Copy video clip URL Cut to footage from within the television studio where the Image Union put together the program. A few credits roll as the videomakers watch the fruits of their labor broadcast on television. This lasts for the remainder of the tape.

01:02:09Copy video clip URL Tape ends.

 

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