dontate now

Join Email List

Facebook  Become a Fan on Facebook
twitter  Follow Us on Twitter

329 West 18th Street Suite #610
Chicago, Illinois 60616
(312) 243-1808

Search Collections

Chicago Politics: A Theater of Power Part I

Bookmark and Share
Film Identifier: F.2005-08-0229
Run Time
0h 18m 14s
Mag Stripe
Date Produced
The film depicts the competitive series of events leading up to the Chicago Mayoral Election of 1983 as well the public's response to the historical election.The footage presents the passionate fervor of politicians on the campaign trail such as Bernard Epton, Edward Vrydolyak and Harold Washington. Mayor Jane Byrne is also featured contesting for re-election.
The footage begins showing Richard M. Daley speaking at City Council with a large portrait of his father Richard J. Daley above him. The shot switches to Studs Terkel’s office where he is telling a story about Daley reaction to an alderman who objected Daley's use of nepotism. Terkel is also captured later in the footage speaking on feminism at a political event.

The scene switches to portray a Daley supporter campaigning via megaphone; he exclaims
“The people of Chicago united for Daley!… Daley loves Chicago!”. The subsequent shots feature the State Street Christmas parade, where Mayor Jane Byrne is depicted singing Christmas Carols. The scene switches to a performance at a political event at the Conrad Hilton.

At Cabrini Green, Jane Byrne can be heard in a voiceover clarifying why its important that she remain “consistent” in visiting the housing development. The footage portrays several Cabrini Green residents explaining why they don’t want Byrne for mayor and that their vote is going to Harold Washington. The footage specifically focuses on Marion Stamps describing black pride and alleging that Edward Vyrdolyak is a “gangster.”

The scene transitions to Downtown where Harold Washington can be seen at a press conference, where he denounces the racist statements made by Edward Vyrdolyak throughout the campaign. The following shot depicts Vrydolyak onstage receiving a thunderous applause at a political event. The footage switch to briefly show Jane Byrne and her husband Jay McMullen.

Outside City Hall, Harold Washington is seen posed for a portrait. Next, at a political event, Bernard Epton speaks about his disregard for the media; his wife, Audrey Epton, can be seen nearby. The scene switches to briefly show images from a protest; a large banner bearing a swastika and the words “White Power, Marquette Stays White” quickly appears on screen.

The footage goes on to feature columnist Irv Kupcinet commenting on a mayoral debate between Washington and Epton, calling it more “theatrical” than political. “Good theater is good anywhere; it’s particularly good in politics if you can bring it off.”

The film concludes with Harold Washington accepting his position as Chicago’s Mayor.
The footage captures the crowd; the uproarious cheers can be heard. The shot changes to present Washington and his campaign associates triumphantly celebrating on stage.
MPI Home Video
Main Credit
MPI Home Video (corporate name)
Stamets, Bill (is filmmaker)
Additional Credit
Chicago Filmmakers (is contributor)
Chicago Historical Society (is contributor)
New Art Examiner (is contributor)
International Center For 8mm Film & Video (is contributor)
Loop Camera (is contributor)
Palazzolo, Tom (is contributor)
Victor Turner (is contributor)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Washington, Harold (is participant)
Studs Terkel (is interviewee)
Jay McMullen (is participant)
Stamps, Marion (is participant)
Vrdolyak, Edward (is participant)
Epton, Bernard (is participant)
Irv Kupcinet (is interviewee)
Daley, Richard M. (is participant)
Byrne, Jane (is participant)
Related Place
Chicago (represents)