Monday, November 12, 2007

Mort the Mouth

Some things about the 80s were awesome, like A Muppet Family Christmas. Other things I didn't ever understand, like my birthday. My parents said a stork brought me, but I grew up in Central Virginia and the only stork nearby (the great Wood Stork) migrates to South Carolina! WTF? Not even close!

And then there are things in the middle. Things that I look back on and say, hey, that' I probably put The Morton Downey Jr. Show in this category.

I can't totally understand Morton "Mort the Mouth" Downey Jr. He's a relic of a time where the men were men, the women wanted to be men and the minorities waited uncomfortably in the wings. Gay rights? "FUGGABOWIT!" When I was looking up things about ole Mort, I found his official website. Usually websites have metatags written in the code to give searchers a summary of the site. It's often worded to attract viewers. Here's the metatag for Mort the Mouth's official site:

The Official Morton Downey Jr. Web Site! Get your FREE Mort Mail! Watch clips of Mort! Start an argument on Mort's Message Board!

And from the website:

In his heyday, Morton Downey Jr., the chain-smoking, combative talk-show host reined [sic] the TV talk show airwaves in the late 1980's. He was known as "Mort the Mouth," and mocked his sometimes bizarre guests, deliberately blowing smoke in their faces calling them "slime" or "scum bucket!" Downey was proud of many aspects of "The Morton Downey Jr. Show," and had every right to be. He took credit for creating the talk-show format embraced today by Jerry Springer and others like him, although he said he never went as far in his day as Springer does. "Everyone says, 'Well, Springer's doing your show now,"' Downey told an interviewer in 1998. "That's not true. I didn't do sleaze. There were times that I did things that were a little sleazy, but I didn't do shows on my neighbor's collie dog having sex with my neighbor's wife."

Whattaguy, that Mort. Anyhow, the show is unbelievable. It's as if I watched a packed Irish pub get transplanted onto a soundstage with a camera crew and lights. Here are a few highlights.

Ron Paul in 1988! He's still got it!

Ace Frehley and Joey Ramone and...Mort?

This was titled "Al Sharpton Knockdown! ("Let's get ready to rumble!")

After watching the first clip of Ron Paul, I tracked down the whole episode (thanks, no doubt, to the Ron Paul phenomenon). It's really great to see some people getting super pumped over politics. There are also some hilarious revisionist titles given to Mort and some speakers by snarky technorait (for instance, around 2.45 on Part III). Enjoy.

Part I

Part II

Part III

And this was a very moving piece. A very self-assured woman stands up to ole Mort.

Boo ya!

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