Loudmouth talk show host Morton Downey Jr., whose controversial show ran on television in the late 1980s, is now the subject of a new documentary called "Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie." NY1's Neil Rosen filed the following review.
If you watched a fair amount of television in the late eighties, there is a good chance you probably remember Morton Downey Jr.
Now, there is a new documentary looking at the life of this loudmouth talk show host called "Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie."
Before Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh there was Downey, an opinionated, bullying, chain-smoking, in-your-face talk show host who would rant and rave his right wing views on television five nights a week.
Downey would scream at anyone who disagreed with his point of view, while his crazed studio audience cheered him on all along the way.
The show's guests included notables, such as Ron Paul and Al Sharpton. In one memorable episode involving a discussion about the Tawana Brawley case, things did not just get heated, they got physical.
Downey's show was unlike anything anyone had seen on television before, though the syndicated show only ran from 1987 to 1989.
People got tired of Downey pretty quickly and the show was so outrageous that after a while he couldn't book legitimate guests. The program became a freak show and advertisers shied away.
As the absorbing documentary points out, however, Downey's shtick was mainly an act.
Downey was actually a guy with liberal roots who campaigned for Ted Kennedy. He was all about show business and ratings, and the documentary makes viewers wonder if he really believed anything he was saying.
"Evocateur" shows interviews with other famous talk show hosts as well as memorable and crazy moments from the show.
Using archival footage, including what appears to be home movies, a fascinating picture is painted of this obnoxious opportunist who, in his own way, changed the face of television.
Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating: 3 Apples