Tag Archives: Entertainment

Évocateur – The movie about the show that started it all

Morton Downey Jr. in ÉVOCATEUR: THE MORTON DOWNEY JR. MOVIE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Morton Downey Jr. in ÉVOCATEUR: THE MORTON DOWNEY JR. MOVIE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

If you are a conservative that has paid any attention at all to the likes of Andrew Breitbart, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh, you may have thought that these men were trailblazers – something new under the sun, when it comes to conservative commentary. You would be partially right in that assessment, in that they each have set their own place in the conservative political world. However, before any of them, there was Morton Downey, Jr.

“The Morton Downey, Jr. Show” was an entertainment anomaly in its day, airing in the late eighties for just under a year nationwide. Mort had a cult-like following on college campuses, and can be credited with being the father of shock television. In the beginning, the show focused on political topics, and can be credited with introducing a national audience to the likes of Gloria Allred and the Reverend Al Sharpton. Conservatives today might be tempted to curse him for that, but it can be argued that the interaction between Mort and his guests in general lead to the current tenor of commentary we see everyday from Limbaugh, Beck, and Hannity. Today, they are more polite, so if there’s any complaining to do, it probably shouldn’t be about Mort.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the man, and his meteoric rise to fame at the close of the Reagan years, you have the opportunity to learn. Évocateur – The Morton Downey, Jr. Movie is a documentary set for nationwide release on June 7 that explores the history of the show, and the man that made it possible. From the beginning, there was no question about whether or not Mort would attempt to get in the national spotlight – the only question was how he would do it. After failed attempts at following in his father’s footsteps in the music industry, Mort moved to radio. Once he discovered he could use his flamboyant personality to move people on political causes, after speaking on Pro-Life issues, it was only a matter of time before he would parlay that into some form of entertainment.

Based in part on the 1960’s talk show, “The Joe Pyne Show”, “The Morton Downey, Jr. Show” in the New York region on WWOR in Seacaucus, NJ in 1987. Under a year later, the show went into national syndication. The show focused on politics from the beginning until shortly after the Reverend Al Sharpton’s pet cause – the case of Tawana Brawley – was found to be false by a grand jury investigation. The Brawley case was an integral part of Mort’s fame, and when it became clear that the girl had lied about being gang raped by white men, the show could no longer book legitimate guests. It became a freak show, with strippers, prostitutes, and Neo-Nazis as regular guests. Part of Brawley’s claims included racist epithets being written on her body by her attackers – something she apparently did to herself. So, when Mort claimed that he had been attacked by Neo-Nazis, and had swastikas drawn on him in an airport restroom, there was more than a little distrust in his claims. “The Morton Downey, Jr.” show was cancelled shortly after that.

“Évocateur” explores all of this, and is a walk down memory lane for anyone that remembers the man, and his show. As for current conservatives, it is important to understand the rise and fall of Mort. While even his close friend, Lloyd Schoonmaker, admits in the film that Mort’s political beliefs were whatever served him best at any given moment, one thing the man did understand was how to turn populism into real entertainment. If the show was aired today, it probably still would appeal to a large audience, because of its off-the-wall flavor, if nothing else. However, Mort would be branded as RINO, because of he would often switch stands on various issues. As shown in a very short clip in the film, it apparently was done to “see how the audience reacts” – he was a showman first, pundit second if at all. His goal was to entertain, then inform. Today, entertaining audiences has either been abandoned entirely, or takes second seat to informing the masses. Conservatives today have been debating for years about how to reach a larger audience, and if Mort can teach us anything, it is that we’re going about it backwards. First entertain the people, and then inform them.

If there is one must-see film out there now for conservatives, it is “Évocateur”. This should be the start point for anyone seeking to spread the conservative message to a larger audience, because it is about a man who did it right, before he got everything absolutely wrong. His failure was highly personal, in that he was obsessed with eclipsing his father’s fame. However, on the tactical end, his other failure was in putting so much faith in one story – the Tawana Brawley story. It is a bitter irony that story didn’t spell the end of Sharpton as well. But, none of it lessens the value of what can be learned from Morton Downey, Jr. – the man that defined the populist conservative movement in the waning days of the Reagan era.

Interview with “Évocateur” director Jeremy Newberger: Listen here

Did Barack Obama Miss His Calling?

While delivering a speech at a fundraising event in New York on Thursday night, January 19, President Obama surprised… well, everyone, it seems, when he broke out in song. It’s just a single line, which he said was to thank Al Green, who was at the event, and sang earlier in the evening.

I am not a Barack Obama fan- at all– politically! However, musically, I would have to say I am a Barack Obama fan already! I most definitely believe he has missed his calling! He has proven he cannot govern his way out of a paperbag, but I believe he could have a solid career in the entertainment industry. I would, without a doubt, purchase one of his CDs, if it were anything like this one clip. And, he already has so many close friends in Hollywood! It would be a perfect fit- for Barack Obama, and America!

It has been reported that this clip is now a ringtone, which can be purchased from Barack Obama’s official campaign website.

Economic Recovery Sparks Entertainment Boom

NASHVILLE, Tenn., May 12, 2011 — The economy is on the rebound – and so coincidentally is entertainment buying. Whereas in the past few years the economic downturn prohibited companies from buying entertainment for corporate events, the trend now is an upturn in the number of companies providing their clients with concerts, celebrities and comedians at special events.

We are seeing a noticeable groundswell in requests for concerts, comedians and speakers recently, not only for corporate events and conferences, but for society events and private individuals, such as for a milestone birthday,” says Ed Bazel, CEO – Chief Entertainment Organizer – of The Bazel Group, Inc., located on Music Row. “Our products are often considered discretionary income items; thus, in the past few years they have been drastically cut from the budget. We are happy to report that is now changing. The performing arts industry has been called the ultimate barometer of the economy.

Normally one would think of a concert taking place in arenas, casinos, fairs and festivals. However, there is a whole subculture of unseen performances taking place in ballrooms across the country, which for the most part, are off the public radar. Since they are private events, you won’t see them advertised in the paper, but it is serious business.

Tim Shelton, Executive Vice President & CFO of ISCS – a leading insurance industry software provider, says, “We utilize celebrity concerts as a way to increase our brand awareness and to say a special thank you to our clients. Our events range from The Pointer Sisters to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy to LeAnn Rimes. We understand very clearly the return on investment when it comes to thanking our clients.

Entertainment is positioned in the corporate world for a variety of strategic reasons including: customer appreciation events, kick-off promotions, enhancing competitive advantage in the market place, improve employee morale, reducing customer defects and simply making a statement. Adding a celebrity concert to an event can make the difference between a “black and white” TV and a high-def big screen experience!

“I see this trend absolutely continuing,” Bazel adds. “We’ve turned a corner and decision makers are once again recognizing the value of providing their clients with memory-making concert experiences.”