tv Evocateur The Morton Downey Jr. Movie CNN August 22, 2015 7:00pm-9:01pm PDT
>> america is at crossroads. we must advance or perish. >> glenn beck, hannity, o'reilly, they're all people saying what's in their heart. >> i think glenn beck has become big because he's the only one telling the truth. >> morton downey is the folk hero of the united states. >> he stands up for what he believes in. >> he captures the heartbeat of america. >> my audience finally selected a spokesman that identifies with their needs and with their dreams and with their frustrations. >> we're proud of this flag! >> i love those people. i'll do everything to protect them. >> i was the programmer who started mtv. >> if indeed we have 60 channels of television available to the american public 24 hours a day,
everything that there is a significant interest in ought to be represented. what's curious to me is a lot of the critics say, oh, we shouldn't offer that. that's like saying we are only going to put these 20 books this the library because those were the only ones we could agree on as good books. >> mtv shook up what good tv could be. we refused to live within the boundaries of what was thought of as tv. >> good evening. it's time again to play chicken. my name is joe pine. we'll test your nerve in just a moment. >> i didn't want to be mr. mtv my whole life. i was 30, 31 years old. looking for more fun things to do that i had never done before. >> with us now is jerry rubin. he advocates disobedience of law. >> so i set out to find a new talk show. we started talking about it. remember the joe pyne show from the '60s. no show look that on tv any more. >> i dislike the fact that you went to cuba as castro's guest. you consort with the enemies of this country. this alone is reason enough to
consider you a menace. >> taking a hard and fast opinion. >> your dpis -- disrupter. just driving the opinion home. >> are you willing to hear my views? >> no politeness. >> this is a circus. and you are a fool. >> you are a liar and a danger to the country. >> often you go back and recycle an idea, update an idea. but it's dependent upon finding the person. morton had been around radio, talk radio. >> morton downey jr. now, morton, i was on this guy's so-called conservative radio show. i resent the charges you made saying that i was a disgrace to the conservative cause. that i didn't know what i was talking about. you are the one, baby, who are a conservative come-lately. you're the phony. >> mort just understood performance. >> do you want to hear some facts? i am the same kind of phony.
wally. i am the same kind of phony, if you want to let me answer, that -- i'm the same kind of phony that you are. >> how he turned everything into something theatrical. >> don't warn me, punk! >> we met mort in person. and we go, he could be good. he was good on the radio. but just made for television. [ applause ] >> well, good evening, everybody. how are you? i'm mort downey jr. and as you're going to find out in the weeks, months and years ahead, certain things really burn my buns, all right? one thing that's happening is the morality of this country is
on a low ebb, and it's getting lower. it's not getting better. it's getting worse. we're going to examine this topic tonight. >> and this is where the risers that you guys sat in were, and he would start kissing the front row of ladies. >> mort just sort of tapped right into the 17-year-old male, you know, something. >> where other 17-year-olds might be doing other stuff at night, we were driving to new jersey to go to the morton downey jr. show. [ applause ] >> it was a provocative show to deliberately provoke the guests and provoke confrontation. and he took it further than anyone that was on television. >> there's a war going on in the streets of america. a war on drugs and t sli that sell themo ki
former congressman, ron paul, how can you call for something on america the legalization of drugs? >> because i detest the use of drugs. i think we would have a lot less drugs used if they were legal. i think it's part of the american system to let americans to make choices. about their own personal habits. >> he knew how to manipulate. he could have been a serial killer. >> do you believe that the government should stay out of our personal business altogether? >> yeah. this is correct. >> that's good, guys. also happens to be my personal business if i want to kill my 4-year-old kid, right? >> no, no. wait a minute. >> why. >> you are giving libertarian a distorted explanation. >> but you're not tethered to the facts, and that's incredibly entertaining. you can just say anything. >> yeah, yeah, you are not tethered to the facts. right. but i will say this, mort has amazing charisma on the set. he related totally on an emotional level. there was no intellectual level for mort. >> listen!
>> if i had a slime like you in the white house, i'd puke on you! >> he attacked guests with ferocity that was unbelievable. people loved it. they loved him for it. >> we are high on the idea of freedom. >> just say no! >> you say no! >> i think i detect his voice changing. maybe his cajones are getting small. >> and cut to a commercial. and i said, oh, my god. that's the kind of class act -- your daddy was. >> when you're changing channels and you land on that, you tend to stop. like a car accident. you go, oh, my god. let me watch this for a minute or two more. >> before that, it was considered uncool to be that abusive to a guest. >> the other side of that was,
phil donahue. >> how does a person become a foot model? could you be one? when we come back. in just a moment. >> the host would do an interview on the stage. >> do you wear high heels? >> hang on one second. let me get some of the folks back here. >> run through the audience get their fairly polite questions. >> my question is what got you into ballet? >> hear the really polite answer. >> i need a hint. how do you get your husband to do anything around the house? >> you know -- >> i know what downey was doing. he was ripping off every single aspect of joe pyne perfectly. >> how do you get the last drops of ketchup out of a bottle? >> we learned that tv was out of step with the american public. >> what happens? all the ketchup is forced to the bottom. >> that america after watergate had given up this false politeness. in the '80s, it was time for it to end. do you like the passaaadd?
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>> why don't you shut up? all you are doing is spewing garbage. >> i was attracted to that kind of awkward, dangerous atmosphere. when he first came on the scene, i was immediately sort of mesmerized by the show. >> a vegan? >> i am a vegan. i abstain -- >> let me hear what she has to say here. go ahead, you abstain from what? >> i abstain from all animal products, including dairy and clothing. >> and clothing. i eat raw hamburger. >> and what is your cholesterol? >> i eat raw fish. i smoke four packs of cigarettes a day. >> well, can i say something? >> i have about four drinks a day. i'm 55 years old. and i look as good as you do. >> he was in your face. he was "take no prisoners." >> what the hell is a feminist?
i thought anyone who had breasts was a feminist. >> there are almost no feminists who have ever burned a bra. >> there was never a feminist who had anything they needed to burn a bra for. >> between us there was a certain amount of sexual tension. >> likewise on your jockstrap. but in any case -- >> how does she know? she has a tape measure on her tongue? >> i was used to being on the macneil-lehrer hour or "nightline," everything was so dignified. >> to take up the issue, allen dershowitz. a professor of law at harvard university. >> alexander hamilton once said that the civilization -- >> all of a sudden, like the ying and the yang, morton downey jr. identifying with a lot of the issues that average, everyday people had. >> don't listen to this man. >> ma'am? >> listen.
listen to professor dershowitz. >> a prosecutor is not your lawyer. >> he had downey yelling at these people who you felt like yelling at sometimes. >> if i depended on a guy like you, new jersey's preeminent lawyer, i'd find my ass in the crapper for the rest of my life. >> which is what all the reality shows today are based on. >> who said this guy is new jersey's preeminent lawyer? >> there is that prurient excitement of not nice people. >> intellectual trash like you who doesn't know -- >> saying not nice things. >> when was the last time you looked in a mirror? it probably cracked. >> you weren't quite sure whether it was all set up or whether some of it was set up or whether it was all real. >> hello, everyone, i'm maury povich. >> almost the first fan letter was from a catholic high school in new jersey. someone invited mort to go to assembly where they were discussing "the morton downey jr. show." should it be on tv?
shouldn't it be? we arrive at this catholic high school, and they just swarmed like he was the beatles. >> mort turned to me, he goes, jesus christ, what's happened? what have i done? i'm a 55-year-old middle-aged guy, and i have 14-year-old catholic girls in skirts climbing on the hood of my car. and we all looked at each other and went, something's changed here. we had only been on the air for about a month. >> tormy weather all right? ♪ don't know why there's no sun up in the sky stormy weather ♪
♪ stormy weather since my gal and i ain't together ♪ ♪ it's raining all the time >> morton's father was morton downey sr. some people call him the first recording star in america. ♪ raining all the time >> he had a beautiful voice. ♪ o danny boy >> and my dad just loved him. >> i want to sing for you today, a new one i call "jericho." ♪ way way back in the bible days though the month of may ♪ >> mort's mother was a dancer, one of the bennett sisters. a showbiz family but a sadly broken family. >> his father was gone all the time. the father refused to let the mother have any contact with the son.
i'd asked him what his mother died of. and he just says alcoholism. he said his father drove her to drink. really mort was denied his mother. >> he hated his father. he wanted to say that he sold more records than his father. >> listen to this one. this is his first record, his debut, picked out an old standard to bring back. will it be a hit? or a miss? >> my dad was always trying to be a singer. and, you know, he didn't have my grandfather's voice. ♪ i walk along the street of sorrow ♪ ♪ sorrow sorrow the boulevard of broken dreams ♪ ♪ broken dreams ♪ they forget without regret
♪ so they forget the golden dream. ♪ >> what did you think of morton's first effort? >> i loved it. >> you like it? >> i really did. i thought it was just wonderful. i'm so glad they picked an old song for him. he has a very new type voice, modern. well, he's modern in his style. >> now, did this young man impress you as a vocalist? >> impressed me very much. i don't think he sounds anything like his father. he has a much bigger and much deeper voice than his father. >> deep? >> mm. >> did i wake you? >> no, no. i was just thinking about this record. they didn't give this boy a chance, you know. >> what do you mean? >> this kid sings better than he does on the record. you know it. because they were rushing him. this is his first record. they stuck him in that echo chamber, and they overdid it, you know. i think the old man should have been there. >> all right, morton downey jr., i only hope you'd be as famous
as your famous dad because he was an all-time great. thank you. >> thank you. >> morton downey jr., everybody. >> somebody sent in an old-time magazine from 1932 or 1933 where the old man was on the cover of "time." which was pretty cool. someone mailed it, thought he might enjoy it. i gave it to mort. didn't realize he had some big issues there. >> he had a domineering father. i think he had a real reaction to that. >> mort was obsessed with saying, i'm more famous than my father. i'm more famous. i'm more famous. i make more money. more americans have seen me.
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. if you think primetime sitcoms and soaps are a snooze and the movies bore you to tears. then watch the man who incites and exsites you, morton downey jr. we can knights on channel 9. often the self-destructive people are really entertaining. >> the morton downey jr. show has been garnering the highest of ratings in the new york market. starting monday, the rest of the country will sample his brand of television. >> it happened so fast. my god, he just arrived there. usually you build these things up year after year after year. >> morton downey jr. just got his show syndicated. >> well, i wish he had the same voice that his father had. >> he was on all the magazine covers. he was an icon already within a matter of months. >> i have watched the show, and i personally would never be on it.
>> he has what you can only describe in his audience as a lynch mob. >> this is not oprah. this is not phil. this is morton downey, okay? let's try it again. good evening, everybody! welcome to the morton downey jr. show! >> they'd let you in just a few people at a time to make sure they get the right mix. >> first you cared about getting into the studio. then you cared about getting a good seat. >> you needed the aisle seat to be able to get to the mike. >> you could almost feel your heart pounding getting ready to go in there and mix it up. >> my dad was backstage bouncing around, just getting so worked up, just so excited. >> well, we found this big boom, boom, boom drum beat, right? >> the minute he walked into the studio, it was like it all
his cells started vibrating. >> morton high-fives the people that are closest, grabs a pretty gal and gives her a big kiss. that energizes him. that's -- he's taking their energy. smoking cigarettes as if he needed any more stimulation. and then he would explain what the topic was going to be that night. in shakespeare, you have iambic pentameter, there's always a beat. but sometimes there's something in there called a sew zorro in there, a pause. >> mom, do you know where your teenager is tonight? is he just hanging around? >> he wrote these pauses in because the audience was going to be yelling, kill the guy. i'm as mad as you are. >> i'll tell you what i would do to him. should we hang this kid?
you betcha! hang! >> the atmosphere was alive with the energy off the audience. >> join us, take that chair. no, no, no. no, no. i'd appreciate not doing that. >> back when -- where else did you see americans being passionate about capital punishment? >> every member in the audience was happy to stai stands up at the quote unquote loud mouth and say his or her peace. >> i want to know how they would feel if somebody they loved were murdered. i feel any murderer deserves death immediately and none of this baloney. >> the law of the land is that before the law of the land we're going to check everything that make sure it's right. >> is that true? >> what the hell is the other issue? tell me the other issue, you pile of -- >> in his attempt to grab america's divided attention, downey is turning unleashed rage into unlimited ratings. >> why is a show like that so successful? many people find this audience quite frightening. it's been called the beast.
it's similar to a group at a public hanging. >> mr. downey, i appreciate you are trying to make a name for yourself. >> i'm not making a name, you [ expletive ]. >> talk shows have always realized studio audiences are important. but he's the first one to turn them from an audience into a mob. >> i'm not going to bring myself -- >> then get the hell off the stage. get the hell out of here. you are a disgrace. >> he had the roman coliseum and the audience saying, get out of here. >> my producers think i have to apologize for that. they can go straight to hell. i don't apologize for anything.
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this is "the morton downey jr. show" calling to confirm your six tickets for tomorrow evening's taping at 7:00. >> you waited what, two months for tickets? >> yeah. about that. >> we'd look outside, you'd see people tail gagt. i remember seeing people snorting coke on the hood of the car before coming in. >> he's great. he's sexy. >> he's not afraid of opening his mouth. he's not afraid of anybody. >> tom shales, famous tv critic, "the washington post." i thought he put it best in one of his reviews. he said the morton downey jr. show is a talk show with a
hockey audience. >> mort! mort! mort! >> let me introduce home base, and of course our loud mouth. >> shut up! >> i will not go for any of that crap. >> give it a second. shut up! >> what are you laughing about? just take the pictures. ♪ they say he's not kind >> halloween evening on "the morton downey jr. show." >> i saw the audience. and the audience was pretty frightening. >> i was hurt, neck and back injuries. there was clearly a physical assault. >> i was known as the seacaucus slammer. six years before the jerry springer show. >> jerry springer is not like mort. he ain't got no backbone like mort had. mort would go up in somebody's face and confront them. >> you who traited on the united states. you traitor! >> the studio was the first in
the business to put people through a metal detector. >> at the end of the night, you'd say, how you doing? well, we got like 16 knives. >> 16 knives. >> brass knuckles. >> who brings that stuff to a television show. >> they were ready for the controversy. >> if you guys and that other gremlin over there like to play so much, you can take it and shove it where it belongs. >> wait -- >> it's perfect for 17-year-olds because it has no nuance at all. everything was black or white. and 17-year-olds -- >> we'll get the power puker. >> everything is either totally one thing or totally the other. there is no middle. >> we are america! we're number one! >> you know what i think? i think donald trump should take his board game and just go to hell. >> kids today can make a youtube video. >> i got an american car, and it still runs just fine. just fine. >> stick it up on youtube, it gets 10,000 hits.
goes viral, and now they are the flavor of the day. >> let's face it. we did it to ourselves, mort. >> in our case, it was simple. just go on tv. pretend you are somebody you are not. you got on tv for five minutes. >> if elvis was alive why don't you book him on "the morton downey jr. show." >> i don't want to say it was a cult because it wasn't a cult. but where did these people come from? >> go ahead, pal. >> my name is joseph mcbratton and i'd like to speak to these two very ignorant men right here. >> shot in seacaucus. the jersey characters are in that audience. >> why? >> they don't give a [ bleep ]. >> "real housewives of new jersey" and "jersey shore." >> i'm not better than anyone. >> use this very same confidence, assertion. >> black, white, puerto rican. >> that you find in the jersey character. >> we ought to get out and vote and change it and get these guys out of there! >> but before this you never saw, unless they were on "candid
camera" -- >> i don't believe anyone like that has the same right to breathe the same air that i do. >> -- real, real people on television. >> get the hell out of america if you don't look it. >> this is the beginning. >> we decriminalized cocaine. >> of a great movement. >> by criminalizing marijuana. >> despicable. >> of the people of this country. >> i don't sell my body. >> taking this country back to ourselves, all right? >> you have no remorse right now. >> we have sent those people to washington. they haven't done squat for us. >> mort, i have to tell you you've made at least a half dozen converts in our control room. >> rise up, america! rise up! >> it's clearly entertaining as hell. beyond that, what is it? >> i'm after establishing a platform for the american who has been unheard by his government. >> good to see you. how you doing? >> watch you every night, buddy. >> thank you, pal. >> he saw himself as -- >> hi! nice to meet you. >> -- representative of the
working man. and that he should be the evocateur who understood their emotions and who helped to express their emotions. >> someone like me could be a frightening person. someone look you could be a frightening person. most of us, of course, are just average, everyday human beings like my audience is. and we hope that the politicians become frightened of us. ♪ ♪ isn't it beautiful when things just come together? build a beautiful website with squarespace.
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morton downey has been a friend of kennedy family for years. >> mort grew up with some of the younger kennedys. >> now morton downey is talking with the president. brother robert, attorney general, next to morton downey there. >> when robert kennedy died, there were so many different ways people expressed their grief. sean expressed his by writing his small little book of poetry. the title was "quiet thoughts make the loudest noise." i thought that was a rather interesting title. he was always writing poems. his brain was always going, constantly. it was hard for him to just chill. row upon row of grief-racked followers, sunken cheeks, replacing their years-ago happy faces sang proudly for their
departed friend, their final hope, and wondered why a man must die to be a hero and whether we honor only those our own selfish hearts destroy. this is the reception room, and sean is talking to joan kennedy, ted kennedy's wife. i'm there in the background talking with someone on the phone. sean, as usual, was very well dressed, sartorial splendor was one of his attributes. we had the election for edward kennedy to become majority whip in the senate. and this is the moment we got word that he won. there's sean in the background. right here is the senator addressing all of us. sean is standing in the doorway smiling at him. he supported the issues that senator kennedy was supportive
of so he was liberal on a number of things. it was hard to understand really how you could have been so for robert and edward kennedy and be so much against their positions. i was kind of in a quandary. >> he was a surrogate for an awful lot of people in representing their views and their attitudes. >> good evening, class! >> good evening, mr. downey! >> a lot of working class folks. >> hey, welcome to your american history lesson, gang. >> had a desire for a conservative point of view. >> sure as hell ain't attended one look this one tonight. >> they want to hear it because this is what they believe. >> the liberal policies of the democratic party have failed for 40 years. >> he did fulfill that desire of an awful lot of people because he got a huge audience. >> we are not leaving.
so if you don't like the pledge of allegiance and you don't like prayer, you leave! >> hannity, o'reilly, glenn beck, they're not as crude as mort was. but they are appealing to that same audience. you talk about the tea party today. some of those working class folks are exactly the people to whom he appealed, the angry voices of people left behind. >> isn't this typical of a left-wing problem? >> the critics would say your popularity is based on the fact that you're appealing to the worst elements of human nature. >> i totally disagree with that. >> to jealousy, to anger, to pettiness. >> morton downey is in the business of implicitly selling
his hatred. and people are buying it. >> is there something that calls for this periodically? yeah, ratings. >> you are that generation. this is your role. this is that moment. >> there's always been a longing among, you know, some portion of the american public for somebody who speaks for them. ♪ o'er the land of the free >> if you speak to these people and allow them to speak their mind, they love you for it. >> our national anthem, of of course. his father, a great irish tenor. >> let me ask you, your dad ever sing the national anthem? >> yeah. pop sang the national anthem. at the democrat national convention. god bless him.
i'm sorry he sang it at the democratic convention. too bad it wasn't the republican. >> i mean, how did this happen? gosh, it's disappointing. i think senator kennedy was disappointed. he was kind of put off. sean would call up and say, did you see the show? and i would say yes, i disagreed with everything you said almost. he would say that he had just evolved. so you're a small business expert from at&t? yeah, give me a problem and i've got the solution. well, we have 30 years of customer records. our cloud can keep them safe and accessible anywhere. my drivers don't have time to fill out forms. tablets. keep it all digital. we're looking to double our deliveries. our fleet apps will find the fastest route. oh, and your boysenberry apple scones smell about done. ahh, you're good. i like to bake. add new business services with at&t and get up to $500 in total savings. pwho thrives on the unexpected. andha-ha! box
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he worked for many, many years trying to find his niche, figure out where he fit. >> i remember from the time i was a little kid him always wanting to sing. >> we started a group called turquoise. it was just he and i. and we did a song called "lonely man." ♪ hello lonely man sitting all alone in your thick walled home ♪ >> we had our little single and jumped in his van. ♪ >> traveled all through california going to radio stations.
and they're playing the thing. we had a great time. it was a hell of a trip. i can't really say that he was conservative or liberal. he would seem to go in either direction. whatever seemed to work at the time. >> mort wasn't gay or anything. but on the road lloyd would actually sleep in the same bed with mort just to keep him company. but they're totally straight. >> he really attached himself to me. i was something he could hang on to, almost like his blanket. >> he was always looking for acceptance, love. ♪ i've got a right to live
>> he had a record, and he was touting it. he came to syracuse, new york. i was a young disk jockey, and he was a character and a half. and i said, why don't you come do the morning show? and he took the job as the morning man. >> mort downey with you until 8:00. our ever lasting love. >> we were top 40 radio. and we were talking a lot about people who were acting out on television. >> do you want to walk away? >> he and i had a little chat about joe pyne. remember joe pyne? i thought he was a jerk. a successful jerk. he got everybody's attention. >> we've got to get involved. we've got to get our hands dirty. the only thing that we can do is save these unborn children. donny decided that if he could be the person who was
outrageous, controversial, he would get the most attention. >> he was on the air and he started taking phone calls and arguing with people. >> the democratic party is opposed to life. >> after he saw the way people were reacting and acting, he catered to it to be bigger and more popular. >> you have reversed the position you took only six months ago. what caused you to come around? >> i really wanted to see how they would respond. >> he would go over the show with me. he would go in the cafeteria and eat his food. >> segment one. have you got your segment one card? >> put his cigarette out in his mashed potatoes. >> tell me a story. what's the show tonight? >> understand they're talking about taking the new housing, the low-income housing, and placing it in middle-class neighborhoods. am i correct? >> mort had a radiographic memory.
>> everything in the northeast is lily-white. >> when he went on the set, he would repeat verbatim. >> the obvious question here is, does the opposition to the naacp suit represent an attempt to keep blacks out of white neighborhoods? >> what he was told two hours before. >> the obvious question here is does the opposition to the naacp represent to keep blacks out of white neighborhoods? >> no. >> we would figure out, okay, this is going to be your position on this topic. how come none of those wealthy neighborhoods get some of that housing? he would go argue that position like nobody else. >> 200,000 units are available in new york city that are rundown, beat-up. >> maybe. >> not maybe. >> it was a great act. >> you look homeless. >> if you're going to make fun of me, mort, i don't have to be on your show. >> you don't? good. good night. get out of here. >> mort was arguing with the guy. and this guy was furious.
>> get out of here! >> it's almost like he was spitting on you when he was yelling at you sometimes. >> he believes this is going to happen, and he's going to fight with mort. we walked out of the studio, the three us. we get outside, mort goes, you did a great job. >> there were times where i would hate to watch the show because it was so violent. i didn't like seeing that side of him, i guess, because that's not the person i was raised with. he was never like that unless he was on camera. >> once you've decided on the act and once you've written down the confines of the act, if you stand out and say "i'm a tree"
long enough, you get leaves. >> you have been described as a nice guy who pretends to be a right-wing maniac. what do you find offensive with that statement? >> the word "pretend". >> he did not look like the child of a hollywood star. he came off frankly as authentic. >> this is what you do in show business. you get people riled up. >> it was an act. just the way sean hannity is an act, you know? i was an act, too. to some degree. you know? i mean, it's television. >> you are what people perceive you are. and if you believe that i'm a phony, that's entirely up to you. i know i'm telling the truth. i know that i tell the truth about myself. i bet you can't stand in the same mirror i've stood in, baby. i bet you can't.
>> hello there, big shot. making out you got what you ain't got. putting on an act that even fools yourself. people detest you. you're nothing but a mirror of your own inflated ego. we go through life staring at ourselves in the same glass. what an ass. >> gold watch, gold rings, fuchsia and fur things. if your countenance shines so bright, why is the tinsel so reflecting your light? look again, fool. it falls to a narrowing shadow on the sidewalk clicking heels. how sad the looking glass, that empty stares back and echos, hello big shot.
>> all right, we've got quite a topic for you tonight, folks. this one is hot. say hello to david letterman, folks. all right. give him a chance, give him a chance. >> have you had a dermatologist look at those things on your face? >> wait a second, buddy. send him back to russia. >> i was over a friend's house. i said, by the way, didn't you know that morton downey, jr.? and i said, yeah. well, he's got a tv show. so i watched it. and i said holy [bleep]. so i called him. oh, you've got to come back and work for me, lloyd. you can't believe what's happening. >> lolyd was always trying to make it. my dad was always trying to make it.
when my dad felt that he had, he really wanted lloyd there with him. ♪ >> i'd always have my guitar. i'd pull it out, and we'd start singing folk songs. he said, why don't we do an album? morton downey jr. sings. i said, sure. >> i walked in. here's this bumkin from california, and all of a sudden i'm next to mort. i got a weird feeling. >> we had some of the kids from the association to benefit children. are they the homeless of the next generation? hey, do any of you want to come home and live with me and my doberman pinscher?
>> my dad was married to my mother for 13 or so years. >> where's my wife? kimmy, stand up. stand up, honey. >> he was married to kim for 13 years, also. >>s that my daughter. >> that seemed to be the number that it ended, unfortunately. >> i moved in with mort and his wife kim in a house in englewood, new jersey. i would sit on the couch with mort's dog senator with me. working on songs. on the album. coming up with them slowly. i was going to get a career in music. this would be my catalyst.
every night we would go out to the limo and race into the city and we'd go to stringfellows or elaine's. ♪ >> while being married to kim, he enjoyed the fact that for the first time in his life he could get laid at will because he was on tv. >> he was in suspended adolescence so he was going for the 20-year-old. >> he would take me out to dinner, and a beautiful young woman would be there. it was a very awkward position to be put in because he wasn't divorced from kim yet. >> i kept a diary with a microphone on my little cassette saying, you can't believe what the [bleep] happened today. i don't think this girl is really interested in you. shut the [ bleep ] upper, lloyd, i'm going to do this anyway.
>> his then-wife kim when we got into the limo, she did kick him in the shins from the other side of the back seat, at which point he went after her physically. and if i hadn't been there to grab him, he was going to punch her. i threw him over the hood of the car. i said, you want to take a punch at somebody, take a punch at me. there was some anger towards women. i'd love you to try to beat me, honey. i'd show you how to kick the [ expletive ] out of a broad. sit down, you fat [ expletive ]. sit down! >> mort says, you make a living on your back, you don't have a right to exist in this country, says a man who loves hookers. >> let me hear denise. she's been trying to say something. >> i just want to say that i
feel like this business has the potential to show how beautiful the human body is. >> you meet girls, and he'd say, you can be my producer. >> where's your microphone? >> this girl quit her job. she's got the big blonde hair and big [ expletive ]. she says, i'm ready for work. she came into the office in tears. mort had called her into the bathroom and asked her to hold his penis while he peed. >> i remember that. >> i remember that, too, unfortunately. i do as well. >> that was so -- >> and that was really the sort of -- >> i mean, he was a pathological liar. >> that's really who he was. >> the abyss was opening up. hey terry stop! they have a special!
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repeatedly raped and sodomized. >> they raped her in new york, they wrote racial epitats on her body. they smeared her body with feces and then they left her for dead. >> al sharpton and two lawyers took over the case. >> i have been privileged to be involved in this case. i've been privileged to be an adviser and a spokesman for tawana brawley. >> there was quite a bit of stir about who had raped her, whether it was true. >> i'm not a liar and i'm not crazy. i simply just want justice and then i want to be left alone. >> that was the perfect kind of story for morton downey. >> it is amazing to me that you can do morton downey's show and call something i do a circus. >> mort and al sharpton became close.
>> i agree. you always have to have a clown. >> wait a minute. wait a minute. wait a minute. we're coming back to -- >> >> they saw something in each other they were using. >> tonight reverend al sharpton, hero? >> mort say it for what it was, a ratings grabber. >> a brutal racial rape. >> it had sex. it had race. >> it had it all. >> it had it all. >> the story is developing every single minute. >> we needed material. let's do the tawana case. >> i have a new angle on it. >> i saw a box she was in. >> i met her sister. >> yeah. >> mort downey certainly squeezed every bit of blood and rancor out of tawana brawley's story. >> my name is steven pagonas. i am the individual who is accused of rape and kidnapping of tawana brawley.
>> not only did i not have anything to do with tawana brawley, but there was absolutely no evidence to support these outrageous allegations. >> tawana brawley's advocates would have been laughed out of any grand jury. there are no repercussions for making yourself look like a total fool on talk television. so it was a perfect vehicle. >> you ain't nothing! you're a punk! now come and do something. you ain't nothing. why don't you shut up? yelling at old ladies. yell at me, punk! >> we made al sharpton. >> yes, we did. >> 100%. >> yes. >> let me give you a challenge. >> i remember hearing morton downey represent that i would be on his show the next day if
sharpton agreed to bring tawana brawley the next day. >> why don't you have steven pagonas? i'll bring tawana. sit there and tell me -- >> i want them here tomorrow! >> whispers around there, were like, reverend al sharpton are going to be here and he he's bringing tawana brawley. and we waited and waited and waited. to pass the time, mort was making an album called "morton don downey jr. sings." he said he had his guitarist friend there helping him with his album and if we wouldn't mind, could we listen to his songs. we sat there listening to probably one of the only morton downey, jr. concerts. a lot of the audience had to leave after a couple of hours
because they ended up standing be us up. >> al, you told me the next day tawana brawley. >> no, no. >> what's wrong with you, al? i said, don't worry about it. it's about for me, good for your ratings. >> i spoke with pogonas. 123450 in fact, nobody ever called me or asked me about it >> it was kind of joe mccarthiesque. when you see him in film, you can see him get excited. there are 30 communists in the house of representatives. >> no, no, no. there are 60. no, there are 90. it's sort of a wave that people like to get caught in. >> we understand mr. downey could almost be coming to a theater near you. you are taking it on the road? >> we're opening at the apollo theater in a few weeks. >> we did the show at the apollo theater. the premise was -- tawana brawley. >> when he went that far, there
was no release of the tension. if you had never been in a riot, it was one on the downey show. >> cool it and sit down, please. go ahead, sir. >> my name is stanley crouch. i'm a writer. mr. sharpton, you have been criticized by every black persuasion of leadership in new york. >> once you start, it's hard to get out of it. they can't get out of it until they're actually spent. >> it was alleged she was smeared all over about feces. lie. >> that's a lot of crap. >> brother, you have your time! >> that's a lot of crap. >> brother! brother! >> get him out of here! gets him out of here. please, get out of here. >> god bless you and thank you for being my friend. take it easy.
>> i'm going to make you take it easy. >> i said to myself, this has gone too far now. >> [ bleep ]! what the [ bleep ] is wrong with you? >> give me an open mic. do you want to continue with the show? >> downey was saying to the audience -- >> we're not going to give the press the chance. to say we're a bunch of idiots. >> he had me on the phone saying we need some publicity for this. i can't keep these people riled up all night. >> from the outside, it looked like a fight. >> some ice for it. >> from the inside, it looked like a party. >> eventually, it turned out that she hadn't been kidnapped. >> it is no hope. it is the ugly truth. >> the grand jury concluded she made up some horrific story. she did some horrific things to herself.
>> there was no evidence that a sexual assault was committed. >> it's very difficult to sit down with your children, especially when three of them are girls, and explain to them that there were people accusing your daddy of being a monster. everyday, millions of amazing photos and videos are shot with iphone.
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he was the number one guy on television. and we hadn't talked in a long time. and he said, hey, pal, you've got to come up here. >> we're going to check this place out, all right? are you going to do your show? >> eventually. >> oochbtually. >> yeah, if i go trash. >> he got very self-centered. he orders whiskey sours. i don't drink. he then calls some girls to the room. i don't womanize. office married guy, and i was very faithful. >> he went into the rehearsal hall, and there were the chorus girls rehearsing. >> they're all giddy because morton downey jr. walked in, and i was of course with him and
fooling like a real hot [ bleep ]. he picked out laurie. >> she had beautiful blue eyes. she was a struggling dancer. i was like, what are you doing? >> kelly, say something intelligent if you can. >> i don't know if she was playing hard to get or if she really in the beginning wasn't interested or if that's what made her so appealing to him. >> from then on, it was laurie, laurie, laurie, laurie. he didn't care about anything else. the producers would say to me, what is she trying to do? and i said, i don't know that she realizes that he is totally obsessed. >> she was the cause of a lot of heartache for kim because he started cheating while very much married to kim. >> who predicted i would get divorced? oh, yeah. my ex-wife is watching tonight. she gave me ten great years and i enjoyed them.
but watch what i do with the next ten, baby! >> the whole life at that time was trying to please laurie. one time somebody said, well, she's just trying to get his money. ♪ >> mort was purchasing a multimilliion-dollar condo. laurie will have her knickknacks here and i'm going to do this. and we're doing this and this and this. >> lauri's dressing table. the stuff that lauri wants will go here. >> yet lauri didn't care about the money. >> one beautiful tall blonde comes with the apartment. >> the bills were piling up. >> one, two, three glass statues. >> they owed $50,000 to this credit card company. and he said [bleep].
then he'd grab the bill and just throw it in the trash. >> and we have the clown mask there. >> he didn't like to talk about anything somebody could call him on. >> get away from me! >> he would just go into a rage. >> hey! >> you pull a sneak-up on somebody else. [ bleep ]. >> he would always say after these episodes, i know i let you down. i shouldn't have done that. >> that's tough [bleep]. you want to know what kind of [bleep] that i am? i'll rip your lungs out, [bleep]. try me. >> i'll touch whatever i want. >> go, mort. >> try me, you [ bleep ]! >> it was sad to find a man that talented who could not control himself. i tried to appeal to the logic of, at the end of the day, mort, i have other things in my life. i have other ways to make money.
i do make money in other ways. this is your life. he just needed the money. >> he still did his weekend gigs. he made more money doing that than he did doing the show. >> go to college after college. and we felt like rock stars. when we had our small plane, we would travel everywhere. mort said, i did this at 21. before i knew him when he was a younger man. >> now i couldn't believe all these people thought he was the blue collar king. >> missouri is called the show me state, right? what really burns your butt, baby? >> people putting the american flag on the ground and stepping all over it.
>> how about you, ma'am? >> i am so irritated that we let foreigners come in and buy up our farmland in western kansas. >> he could get people screaming. he could get them crying. >> we need to support one another and be americans. this is the greatest nation on this side of heaven. >> we went out of the theater and, my god, there's a whole mob. >> at the university of pittsburgh, there were 5,000 people in the audience. crowd's roaring. it's like a rally at nuremberg. mort, mort, mort! >> north, mort, mort!
mort, mort, mort! >> instead of doing the show, mort walks out and there and pardon my french and says, hey, guys, you want to see what a 60-year-old is blanking these days? he brings out lauri. i can see people talking to each other and promoters in my face going, this isn't why they're here. >> on the plane back i was seated next to grand poobah of advertising for domino's pizza. she goes, why don't you advertise? because i don't want the name domino's on the screen the day that idiot you work for blows himself up. >> you really want to fight it out with the advertisers? at a certain point, how do you defend stuff? (vo) after 50 years of designing
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>> some people in this world are different. i happen to be one of those different people. i'm just as worthy as any other person, even though i'm different. >> may i remind you of the homeless woman who was a double amputee that played the star-spangled banner with her tongue. >> that was toward the end. >> and we loved it. ♪ ♪ when the music has stopped and the children must go ♪ ♪ now have i stayed too long at the fair ♪ ♪ i'll be rolling downhill like a snowball that's headed for hell ♪ >> the idea is to be an attractive figure on television. ♪ and we'll deepen the crack in our beautiful liberty bell ♪ so that you can change minds and ultimately policy.
♪ ♪ is a ford still a sore >> and you let the entertainment value run away into the fever swamps? and i think you might have seen some of that with my old friend morton. >> i got into a fierce argument with mort about the time i left. when i said, mort, if you could just keep it in your pants literally and figuratively, you could be the center square on the hollywood squares until the day they put you in the ground. and you don't have to blow up the show. >> mr. mayor, now, what i want to know and what these people want to know and what america wants to know. what in the [ bleep ] am i doing here? are we on the air? >> we've been taping. >> mort didn't want to hear it when he was wrong. i guess it's a little like elvis. you know, those people that are around him, hey, you shouldn't be taking those drugs.
[bleep] you. you're not working anymore. >> record this. record this. record it. [ bleep ]! >> as someone who went through a similar kind of experience, you don't think it's ever going to end. when you are in the midst of it. ♪ nana nana na hey hey hey good-bye ♪ >> when you move to replace that man who's on top, not caring who's hurt, too cruel to stop. god help you, blind man, with eyes that see but cannot cry. how foolish you are. you too must die.
>> mort broke up with kim and moved into trump tower. sitting at trump tower one time, he said, i've got to do something. i've got to do something big. and i said, oh, [ bleep ]. the live show is where we would travel around. we were cut down to like three shows a month. mort and i flew to denver and then san francisco. >> [ bleep ]! i wouldn't [ bleep ] you with his [ bleep ]. we are taking our streets back away from all these minorities. that's what these skinheads are -- >> we fight for white america! >> then you are white [ bleep ]! you are white [ bleep ]! >> at the san francisco airport, i watched him walk into the men's room.
i walked down here, and i heard a voice go, lloyd? lloyd? where are you? i said, mort, where are you? so i walked down about three or four stalls, opened the door. oh, my god. security! security! morton downey jr., is in there and he's been attacked by skinheads. >> i said, oh, my gosh, that's terrible. he said, well, don't talk to the press until we figure out what the story is. he said, well, there's a problem. he called me from a room with all the press already in the room. >> first one guy yelled kill the [bleep]. and the other guy just started cutting my hair off. >> so i'm watching on tv, and i said, gee, that sounds so strange. doesn't sound right.
immediately i had the flashback that it was like a tawana brawley round two. >> mort called me. i just got jumped by a bunch of skinheads. i'm screwed. what you've got to do is get a private jet to fly me back. i can't fly commercial. >> we landed, rushed to trump tower. >> day by day, we learn a little more about the case of tawana brawley. >> witnesses said they saw her climbing into the plastic bag in which she had been found. >> we drive to trump tower and there's donald trump in the lobby. he liked mort. >> that's not a surprise. >> what happened? what happened? oh, my god. take him up to my suite. >> the album was just out. they had just shipped 250,000 copies. ♪ hey there mr. dealer ♪ you drug pushing son of a >> i knew if this went across america, which it did, it hit the wire service and it went
across everywhere. people were saying, he's just a phony sleaze. what is this crap? ♪ a garbage of our lands ♪ the devil is a-waiting just to welcome you to your eternal promised land ♪ >> he claims that he was attacked by three neonazi skinheads. the police aren't sure. there were no skinheads to be found. >> the ratings were dying, no doubt about that. >> mort went in to do lie detecting tests and he came out and they said boy, he passed that with flying colors. i found him in the stall. i said, mort, where are you? we have ten minutes to catch a plane. what's going on? i pushed the door. he's leaning up against it. opened the door. i said, what the hell happened to you? i understand why a woman doesn't report she's raped anymore. all right? i understand what you go through. >> we have a member of the new
york state community made up a story like this, tawana brawley. remember that? i can't help but liken this story to hers. >> the "new york post" just happened to call, you hear what happened to downey? i said, what? told the whole skinhead routine. i said, i'd be suspicious. >> langan said this is all bull [ bleep ]. >> jim langan, i fired him. he has said that he is going to sell a story on me if i let him go. i never reported his cocaine use or anything else. >> well, i just -- >> try telling that to my kids who watch it on tv. >> fiancee, lori krebs, are you standing by your man? >> yes, i am, 100%. >> he's innocent. >> lori made the statement to me, if i ever find out that this was a lie, i'm going to leave him. >> we all said this is too crazy. it's out of control. yes, we could make money, but i
didn't want to spend the rest of my life as mort downey's babysitter. and i don't think it's healthy for him either. >> that was the shark jumping >> yeah. >> yeah. >> that was the end of his career. he had a couple of reincarnations, but that was it. >> he rose like a rocket and fell like a stick. >> then he went down almost as fast as he went up. >> his star power plummeted enormously. >> as he said, the money was on the dresser. i was done with the guy. >> morton downey jr. was the fastest rise and fall in the history of television. d i've got the solution. well, we have 30 years of customer records. our cloud can keep them safe and accessible anywhere. my drivers don't have time to fill out forms. tablets. keep it all digital. we're looking to double our deliveries. our fleet apps will find the fastest route. oh, and your boysenberry apple scones smell about done. ahh, you're good. i like to bake. add new business services with at&t and get up to $500 in total savings.
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seven years after the incident, i was in california. i called lloyd and i said, can i come and see you? so i drove up the west coast and had a wonderful lunch with him, had a few drinks. but there was a method to my madness. i said, what's the story? what happened in the airport? >> mort said, i've got the plan, lloyd. i've got the plan. i actually threw up. i was so sick over how he was going to destroy not just his
career but my career. the next day we stopped at a 7-eleven to get some scissors -- i can remember orange handles -- and a black felt pen. and i said, oh, [ bleep ]. >> how sad the looking glass. >> some words will cut like a knife. >> god help you blind man. >> this is no hoax. >> we honor only those our own selfish hearts destroy. >> he was wearing these pants
and this shirt. and i think you can notice that the swastika is not done -- as a matter of fact, it doesn't even look like a swastika. the rip is right here where he says they grabbed him. but i believe it's a scissors cut. maybe i'll sell it on e-bay one of these days. >> believe me, if we wanted a publicity stunt, we would have done it a lot better. >> i was incoherent. i have never seen him this way before. and there was hair all over. >> why do did i do it? i don't know. i'm thinking of my career. i hate myself for doing it in hindsight. but i did it. after a while, he believed that it really happened. >> next thing i knew i reached for something blunt. that i felt against my face. >> that's why he didn't have a problem passing the lie detector test. >> it's really hard to resurrect it sometimes. >> yoke it had anything to do with saving his show, picking up sponsors.
if anything, it would just do the opposite. >> lloyd said, mort did it to make lori feel story for him. >> it was almost like the injured person. take care of me, my love. i need you to come into this world of mine. if lori sees this, she's probably going to be really [ expletive ] with me. but maybe in lori's heart she knows i'm telling the truth. i'm not lying now. >> let me ask a question of our audience here. how many of you have ever seen this? you know what this is? >> so he said, what's the worst thing about it? i was associated with someone that by giving him a forum and giving him a chance to be a celebrity hurt himself. >> an executive with mort's show sent mort to hear about an
amusement park company that designs rides made after celebrities. >> you are building attractions around personality. >> sounds like that could be something that would disappear real fast. a celebrity today and a zero tomorrow. >> that's true. but i think you're here to stay. i think you are entering super star status. >> my regret is mort would have been in a better place as a human being if he had never had that opportunity. >> you've been had, man. >> this is bloopers and practical jokes! can a business have a mind?
>> the first time i really got reconnected with sean at all, it was announced that he had lung cancer. >> we talked. i felt terrible. but in the back of my mind, you always have to wonder, is it true? >> i don't know there was a show that has ever been done with a person having surgery the next day to save his life. and the doctor performing it and all of it live. the people call in. i really salute you, mort, for agreeing to do this. >> i absolute you for letting us do this. >> it's a hunger. i mean, would you have a lung operation and then go and be on larry king.
would you do that? would you call that sane? >> i know he's going to beat it. i know he's going to beat it and i'm really proud of him. >> i've heard from so many people, but the biggest surprise of all is i got the most beautiful letter from edward moore kennedy, teddy kennedy, who he and i have been politically fighting, as you know, for 15 years. >> sean popped in the office. which i hadn't expected. all of a sudden he walked this the door and i gave him a big hug. and he was in coat and tie. and did a lot of thinking about what happened to him. >> now i've got lung cancer. and i could die. what really bothers me is i won't see my 2 1/2-year-old grow up and say no to smoking. mr. chairman, good senators, american lung association
friends, like 3,000 kids every day, i began smoking at the age of about 13. to think i was a role model for cigarette smoke youth, even signing my name on their cigarettes. >> it was really hard for him. because that whole smoking thing was, you know, another part of that personality. >> to that generation, i beg your forgiveness. may the next generation have kinder and wiser role models than i was. >> thank you, thank you. >> he was a better person than when i first met him. more conscientious, less full of crap. >> he called me and said they're going to take out a lung. and i said holy [ expletive ] take out a lung? >> are you scared? >> yeah. i am. but a lot of your people write me nice letters and i've got a lot of nice friends. but i keep working every single day. >> you're going to watch your girl grow up, mort. >> thank you. >> morton, downey, jr. >> it killed me. i really loved him.
i really did. you love him or you hate him. well, i kind of did both. >> you were the king of controversial television. what do you think? >> that's not reality. >> in having advocates for civil rights for women and minorities -- >> reality is having to fight on the downey show with al sharpton. reality is presenting gloria allred to the world for the first time. professor allen dershowitz. >> perhaps he done something important that went beyond a television show. >> i was sitting at home one day and the telephone rang, and i was shocked. it was morton downey calling me in a low, weak voice. >> to single out israel for criticism is anti-semitism. >> it is not. >> that is the try, allen. >> he just wanted to remind me of our earlier days, and ask me if there was anything i needed from him before he departed this world. >> that is american.
>> i told him that i thought he had contributed a lot to television for unrepresented and disenfranchised people. >> don't tell me what you did. tell me what you will do. >> he said he appreciated hearing that. particularly, he said he didn't hear that so often from people like me. >> i was there for a week while he was in the hospital. he was on life support. and i couldn't really tell if he knew i was there. >> and then lorie called me and said "he's gone". >> lorie downey, the widow of morton downey jr. when is the funeral, lorie? >> it's on -- >> saturday. >> saturday. >> open to the public? >> yes. >> yeah. >> he was the blue collar king, and the people loved him.
so i was surprised there weren't more people there. gloria allred was there. maybe jim langan. bill boggs, maybe some of the producers at wor. but maybe they were so angry at him -- >> you know, the question is always asked why people respond actively to certain people throughout history. people responded to the beatles, and no one knew why. was it their long hair. to elvis presley. some people who have no other word for it call it charisma. >> i would have kicked your [ bleep ] nuts out. >> some said i was the first rock and roll star to come along without music. >> i'll make al sharpton look like piece of [ bleep ] the way i take care of you. >> that's interesting. maybe that's true.
>> mort's legacy is easy to describe. mort's legacy is passion plays on television, even if it's an act. >> it's a free market. and you've got to ask yourself, do people obviously want what they are getting, or they would be getting something else. ♪ >> they had a lot of balloons outside. it was just a beautiful day. the rain is" -- the rain is" -- and they let loose all the balloons. and that was -- that was the end of mort. ♪ obstacles in way way ♪ gone are the dark clouds >> those programs do appeal to certain audiences. i'm not questioning the right of those shows to run on the air. from my standpoint, integrity and quality still have a place in the american home. >> i'm going to stop you both because we are done in 45
seconds and i want to get a final comment. is this a passing fancy, or is this the front of the wave? gambling has a lot more visibility than it used to. it's on the internet. it's on primetime television. and it's almost a varsity sport on some college campuses. but several young men learned the hard way that gambling can put your money at risk and sometimes your life. ♪ gambling isn't confined to casinos, church bingo, and backroom card games anymore. now, it's everywhere. there are poker tournaments on the computer. you can place sports wagers offshore and you can play the