Friday, August 21, 2015

CNN airs "Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie": trash talk show host preceded modern reality TV

Thursday night, CNN aired (with Magnolia Pictures and IronBound Films) the documentary “Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie”, directed by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller (writer), and Jeremy Newberger.
I could play word games with the title:  “Le beau evocateur, la belle evocateuse,” just like, in the Reagan-esque late 80s, “le beau arbitrageur, la belle arbitrageuse”.
The film is a biography of the controversial, and probably sociopathic conservative talk show host Morton Downey Jr, (wiki particularly the run of his trash TV show “The Morton Downey, Jr. Show” from 1987-1989, eventually syndicated from a local New York-New Jersey show on WWOR-TV, broadcast from a studio in Secaucus, NJ. 

I was living in Dallas at the time, then moved back to Arlington VA in 1988, and don’t recall the show.  I didn’t have cable at the time. I often listed to talk radio in my car, where people would call in for “problems”.  Talk show hosts could be hard on personal responsibility, but not really crass.
But Downey’s show got a lot of attention in the days before modern reality TV.

Downey, born in 1932, would die of lung cancer in early 2001 (before 9/11) and is often shown smoking. Despite some natural good looks, his demeanor and appearance often got oafish.
Downey got sued a few times, for defamation, and was once accused of attacking a gay guest on the show.  He also claimed to be attacked by neo-Nazis at an airport, where the attackers tried to shave his head.

The official Facebook is here. CNN’s site is here  CNN’s caption says “He drove us into our national ditch”.  The film is enhanced by some animation work. 
Picture (mine, not from film): New Jersey turnpike near Secaucus, traffic stopped.  

No comments: