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Mayoral Campaign, 1983

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Film Identifier: F.2005-08-0228
Run Time
0h 8m 7s
color and B&W
Mag Stripe
Date Produced
circa 1983
Second of four reels adding up to the film Chicago Politics: A Theater of Power. 
Observational documentary following the 1983 Chicago Mayoral election, with a focus on the Democratic Primary between Jane Byrne and Harold Washington. Loose and anecdotal, it features footage from public appearances, civic events, protests, television broadcasts, and campagin speeches.
The footage opens a close-up of crowd of outreaching hands; a banner displaying  ‘Mayor Byrne’s ChicagoFest’ can be seen in the background. The following shot features a man relaying opinions regarding the widespread objection ChicagoFest to the camera. The footage switches to civil rights activist Bob Lucas. Lucas asserts that Mayor Byrne has indisputably “polarized the city.”

The scene changes to depict the newly installed Chicago Children’s Fountain in Old town. Passerby’s can be seen admiring Mayor Bryne’s recent gift to the public. The shot switches to present Jay McMullen-Byrne’s husband- praising his wife’s ingenuity.

The subsequent sequence of images feature speeches made by the candidates for the upcoming Mayoral election. Richard M.Daley is presented on a t.v. discussing the values he learned from his father- former Chicago mayor, Richard J. Daley. This shot is interrupted by footage of Richard Nixon affirming that Mayor Daley was “tough but fair.”

This scene switches to the city streets where two men can be seen loading a city council podium into a car. A voice over of Harold Washington can be heard exclaiming that’s he is a “radical departure” from the Daley’s racist policies. Washington denounces Richard J.Daley and his son’s campaign for Mayor. He insinuates that Richard M. has nothing to offer Chicago but his families legacy; which he claims would be an “insult to common sense.” The shot switches to focus on a large photograph of a smiling Richard J. Daley and his son.

Afterward, the footage observes Mayor Byrne watching a parade on St. Patricks day. Washington’s speech continues to explain how he plans to reform Daley-era polices.The accompanied footage portray Washington and Richard M. posing for a photograph inside city hall.The next sequence of images feature Washington going to and from different political events as well as mingling with supporters. The camera makes sure to capture the creative variety of Washington and Daley campaign posters that decorate the city.

The footage briefly switches to portray Eleanor Daley-wife of Richard J. Daley- socializing at political events. The film concludes inside the car of a Daley campaigner; he enthusiastically exclaims with a microphone “United with Richard M. Daley… Daley loves Chicago and the people of Chicago love Daley!”
00:00:20 Segment begins about a 1982 protest of Chicagofest by Chicago’s black community (led by Rev. Jesse Jackson) to protest Mayor Jane Byrne’s policies toward blacks. Counter-protesters and black community activist Bob Lucas weigh in through interviews. “When [Byrne] was elected,” Lucas says, “she talked a great deal about ‘one Chicago.’ Now the woman has inadvertently, or advertently, polarized the city.”
00:01:07 As the camera pans over the new Chicago Children’s Fountain in front of 55 E Wacker, Jay McMullen praises the fountain’s planner—his wife, Mayor Jane Byrne. Audio clip of Richard M. Daley announcing his bid for mayor while Chicago workers assemble a podium.
00:03:10 Surprise cameo by a merman, intercut with black and white footage of Mayor Byrne and husband McMullen.
00:03:55 Black and white TV footage finds a young Richard M. Daley saying, “I make no apology for my name. I am proud of my family name. I am proud of my mother and father. It was from them that I learned my love for our city. … I look back to my father’s life with pride.”
00:04:18 TV footage of Richard Nixon calling the elder Daley “tough” but “fair,” and saying, “I can understand why in the minds of many, he is Mr. Chicago.”
00:04:34 Audio of Harold Washington declaring, “There are no good qualities of past mayors to be had! … None! … I have no regrets about [Late Mayor Richard J. Daley] leaving. He was a racist from the core, head to toe and hip to hip!” His speech continues, likening Daley’s oppression of blacks to the days of slavery and saying of the man’s son, “If his name were anything other than Daley, his campaign would be a joke.” He concludes with optimism, calling for redemption and to “give the best that we have to our society.” Scenes of Chicago paying respect to the late Richard J. Daley, plus images of Richard M. campaigning, fill the screen during his speech.
00:08:02 Daley supporter drives while speaking into a PA system, proclaimng the "the people of Chee-cago love Daley!”
Main Credits
Stamets, Bill (is filmmaker)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Harold Washington (is participant)
Jane Byrne (is participant)
Jay McMullen (is participant)
Eleanor Daley (is participant)
Richard J. Daley (is participant)
Richard M. Daley (is participant)
Nixon, Richard (is participant)
Jesse Jackson (is participant)
Related Place
Chicago (represents)