The Sidewalks of New York: The Documentary

Al Smith:Ladies and gentleman.I might well call this the close of a rather perfect day. Al Smith singing: Boys and girls together, me and Mamie O Rorke.We tripped the light fantastic on the sidewalks of New York. (Singing The Bowery ) Oh! the night that I struck New York.I went out for a quiet walk.Folks who are on to the city say.Better by far you go down Broadway.But there was the Bowery ablaze with lights.I was out but to see the sights!I had one of the devil's own nights and I'll never go there anymore. (all singing) The Bowery, the Bowery, I'll never go there anymore! Narrator: December 30, 1873.The faint cries of an infant can be heard from the South Street sidewalk on the LowerEast Side of New York City.Alfred Emmanuel Smith, the boy who would one day become the beloved 4-time governor ofthe state of New York, is born, directly under what would soon become the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge.Up on E 18th Street, shy 11-year-old James William Blake sat inside, away from the winter cold.He dreamt of heading barefoot on summer nights across town to the West Side to lie on theriver bank and watch the steamers pass on their way to Albany.Down at Broadway and Spring, 21-year-old Charles Lawlor was living in the old Prescott House,running the building s elevator by day and wooing the landlord's daughter from hiswindow with songs by night, not knowing at the time of his future as an entertainer onthe great stages in New York City, and across the country.And Switzerland-born Lydia Deagon, known better later by her stage name Lottie Gilson, wasvisiting Jose Mora s photography shop at 707 Broadway, shooting the first of many photographsin what would become a life in the spotlight.In the decades to come, the foursome s paths would eventually cross, and each of theirmostly forgotten lives hold a great weight of significance to the history of the cityof New York.Binding them together, a song written in 1894.The New York Times would one day write: Is The Sidewalks of New York to becomethe new national anthem? The names in the song are Johnny, Mamie, Jimmy, Jakey and Nellie.Real life figures in the tunes lyrics, whose names would one day be known to an entirenation.For the first time, clues from books, newspapers, magazines, census records and city directoriescome together, revealing the best explanation for the locations of the song s figures,and what is believed to be the exact address of the song s introduction.Down in front of Casey's... old brown wooden stoop . Casey's.Research conducted by author Michael Lasser revealed that lyricist James W. Blake changedthe name from Higgins to Casey s, because he thought it sounded better. Irish-born Eliza Higgins, a widow of John, is listed in an archived city directory at514 East 16th Street, with the younger child Johnny being one of her children.Boys and girls together, me and Mamie O'Rourke Names included in 1880 census records indicate that Joseph O Rourke was the husband ofJoanna and father of Mary, another name for Mamie.Mary was born around 1855 and had four siblings.Their address: 518 East 16th Street, two houses down from Johnny Casey, same as Higgins athome #514, both located between Avenues A and B.That's where Johnny Casey, and little Jimmy Crowe Johnny Casey is Johnny Higgins, son of Eliza, at 514 East 16th Street.While there were several James Crowe s in the day, and it is believed the lyricist wasn treferring to the Jim Crow laws, little Jimmy Crowe appears to be the stepson of RobertMartin and son of Joanna, listed in the 1880 census records as eight years old and livingat 238 E 15th Street.In 1935 the New York Times stated that they were all classmates in old Grammar SchoolNo. 40 in East 23rd Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues , this now further advancingthe idea of these locations showing validity.With Jakey Krause, the baker, who always had the dough With no baker with the name Jacob Krause living or working on the East side, it seems thatJakey Krause is likely referring to Jacob F. Frasch, a baker at 288 Avenue A, between17th and 18th Streets, an address located near to all of the children in the song, andon the way to and from school.Pretty Nellie Shannon with a dude as light as cork Nellie Shannon aka Ellen Nellie A. Shannon looks to be the daughter of Thomas and MaryShannon, with Mary and the children living at 514 E 16th Street, the same address asJohnny Higgins, known better as the song s Johnny Casey, meaning that 514 E 16th Streetis believed to be the old brown wooden stoop, down in front of Casey s.Today the buildings are no more, with demolition and construction completed in the 1940s toproduce Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.The 18-block area was once home to 600 buildings with 3,100 apartments, 500 stores and smallfactories, churches, schools and theatres.Today in what is believed to be the same location as the old brown wooden stoop, 514 E 16thStreet… a playground, with children singing, dancing and running around with other childrenof all backgrounds, just as before.This is the origin of the lyrics for The Sidewalks of New York, one of the most celebrated andsomewhat forgotten songs in this nation s history.Lyricist James W. Blake, born in 1862, lived at 312 E 18th Street, going to school withthe other children.The characters in the lyrics are only one small part of this incredible story.In the years to come, there would be the tale of the song coming together, its first performance,the rise and fall of its contributors and the incredible moment when the song wouldreceive its grand encore.For the first time, bringing together sources around the world, this is the complete storyof The Sidewalks of New York.In The New York Times on the same day as Alfred Smith s birth, December 30, 1873... yesterday'stemperatures, recorded every three hours in Alexander Hudnut s Drug Store at 218 Broadway.In Hudnut s store, the boxed-in thermometer hung in the window, which became a popularstop for customers and tourists, including the inauguration of the idea to be open for24 hours a day.Travel up Broadway to Spring Street for the old Prescott House, and you ll find Charles Lawlor.Lawlor arrived in the country on July 4, 1869, and was able to make his way up to Union Squareto participate in the day s festivities.He later traveled to Philadelphia, making his performance debut in a small lounge.Slowly but surely, Lawlor worked into what The New York Times described as a dramaticsong specialist billed as a topliner in many an old variety theatre. Just as Lawlor had spent the 1880s and early 90s building his career, Lottie Gilson bloomedout of childhood as a singer touring the nation on a vaudeville circuit.Gilson gained a nickname for being able to fill theatres, a result of her attraction.Filling theater s meant wealthy managers, and so they called her The Little Magnet .Up on East 18th Street resides James W. Blake, future lyricist for The Sidewalks of New York.The New York Times writes:As a boy he was shy and diffident.With his brothers and other lads from the neighborhood he would go down to the riverto dive into the rollers set up by the side-wheelers that made the New York-Bridgeport run.Or he would wander, barefoot on hot Summer days, all the way across town to the WestSide to lie on the river bank and watch the stately Mary Powell steam past, belching blacksmoke as she bucked the North River tide on her way to Albany. And the times described by author Frank Graham: Small boys played along the waterfront,scampering about the ships, playing hide and seek among the crates and bales, swimmingin the river when summer came, building snow forts when the winter drifts were piled high.They hung about the doors of the firehouse in John Street, talking with the firemen,petting the horses, and waiting with but thin patience for an alarm to ring that they mightrace down the street behind the engine, mingling their cries with the shrill blasts of itswhistle and the vibrant clang of its bell.There was among them, in that time, one who was destined for greatness, whose name wouldbe known across the face of the earth.His life would be an inspiration to the youth of the nation, and at his death the nationwould sorrow. Narrator: As courageous work continued on the construction of the East River s BrooklynBridge towers in the 1870s, Alfred Smith watched while swimming in the water below.His family s home is listed in a directory under the name of his father Alfred: 174 SouthStreet, right at the water s edge, and directly next to the Brooklyn Bridge s Manhattan Tower.Tower.So close to the tower were Smith and his family, that his home is one of only a few South Streetbuildings hidden behind the Manhattan Tower in Joshua Beal s 1876 panorama from atopthe Brooklyn Tower.In the attic Al enjoyed spending time with the family goat, four dogs, a parrot and evena monkey.Smith would often visit Coney Island, playing with a shovel and pail, pictured here at agefour in 1878.At the same time, innovative instantaneous photographer George Bradford Brainerd, oncecalled a master of 19th century photography , shot photographs on the shoreline with hisown detective cameras, employing hidden camera tactics to shoot images in order to capturenatural expressions of life in the 1870s, providing a candid glimpse into life around140 years ago, including the magical Oriental Hotel.(dramatic, mysterious, magical music)Following the untimely death of his father, Smith worked to support his family first as a newsboy,then a truck chaser, and next with an oil firm.He finally found a way to make $15 a week, a considerable wage even for a grownman according to The New York Times, working as child from 4 in the morning until 5 inthe evening at the Fulton Fish Market, each night taking home as much fish as he could,saving his mother some money on food.As Smith approached 20 years old in the 1890s, his fascination with the theatre often ledhim to see shows on the Bowery.On one or more occasions he attended performances including Charles Lawlor, and perhaps evenLottie Gilson.Historians have often commented on Thomas Edison's film, titled "What happened on Twenty-thirdStreet", by discussing the ending that shows a woman's dress being blown upward by an airshaft from a newspaper company.But if we start the film from its beginning... if we look closer at history... if we searchfor something different, we find that while we are watching them, one of them is watching us.A young boy stands on the left side of the frame, arms behind his back, observing thefilmmaker, and moving left or right when people block his view of the camera.Just as we're interested in viewing life in motion more than a century ago, we receiveback the boy's interest in the filmmaker, and the beginning of motion pictures.In viewing the lengthy film and seeing the boy's keen interest, one might feel... a the past, almost as if the boy is looking at us, more than 115 years into the future.As the woman approaches and laughs, we see the final glimpse of the unknown boy, justas he begins to walk directly toward the viewer.This is the final frame of the film.A window into the past to the boy's only moments recorded in history.While we will never know who the boy was, where he lived, if he married and had children,or when he passed away, there are, fascinating stories to be uncovered with the advent ofnew technology.One of the greatest stories yet to be told to today s generation: 1894 s The Sidewalks of New York .The New York Times would one day ask, Is The Sidewalks of New York to become the new national anthem? Friday evening.March 2, 1894.It s Ladies Night in the Anawanda Club on Second Avenue, the local Tammany building.Charles Murphy, later known beginning in 1903 as Tammany s Boss Murphy, is enjoying anevening as host.With beer and champagne flowing, all of those in attendance were enjoying the singing ofCharles Lawlor.By this point in 1894 Lawlor had been on numerous stages not just in New York, but around thecountry.Many of the men that evening were Lawlor s friends.After a lively party and plenty of drinks, he stumbled out of the bar and onto the sidewalk,roaming around town under the relatively new electric lights.As he walked the streets late in the night, the music for a tune that had been rattlingaround in his head for some time, began to come together.He walked home that evening, traveling by foot all the way up to 114th Street and 8thAvenue, more than 100 blocks north and six west.Pieces of the tune s twists and turns kept coming and going in Lawlor s mind, aboutthe jovial and wonderful childhood days of yesteryear.A simple tune, yet one that would for so many touch a nostalgic and emotional tone, remindingthose who would listen of some of their fondest memories, so that for but a moment they couldforget their troubles, and be transported back to their youth...( The Sidewalks of New York being played slowly on piano)Less than two days after Lawlor stumbled home in the middle of the night, he traveled backdown 100 blocks, walking into Golding Bros., a hat shop, at 140 3rd Avenue.James W. Blake, the boy who grew up on East 18th Street, was believed to be good withwords, and was working as a clerk in the shop.He was a friend of Lawlor s.Lawlor noticed Blake helping a customer, so he waited until he was finished, and wentto tell him all about the tune.After several minutes of collaboration and a little bit of time helping a customer, Blakehelped Lawlor write the lyrics, forming a song that neither man knew at the time wouldbecome one of the most popular songs ever written about New York.Lawlor left the shop with the song down on paper.In the words of Charles Lawlor: I went across the street to a cafe where actors andwriters and such people used to gather and sang the chorus for them.They took it up and before I left the whole crowd was singing about The Sidewalks of New York. Narrator: With a successful song in hand, Lawlor and Blake looked to feature the song on the stage.One fateful night that same year, a young girl arrived to a theatre on the Bowery, tosing The Sidewalks of New York for the first time.It was The Little Magnet herself, Lottie Gilson.Gilson tripped out onto the stage, belted out the tune, and the audience sang along.It was the first large audience to hear the song.On October 13th, 1894 an ad in The New York Clipper reads: "Of this song many personshave said much, everybody something, and no man enough."On an earlier unknown date the same year, Lawlor and Blake agreed to sell the rightsto the tune for $5,000 to Patrick Howley and Frederick Benjamin Havliand, of Howley, Havilandand Co., a publisher founded in 1893 using the slogan: The Best Because They Are .An estimated 80,000 copies would be sold in 1894 alone.Sure of another hit to come in the new year 1895, Blake and Lawlor teamed up to form TheCrescent Publishing Co., using the address 140 3rd Avenue, the same as Golding Bros.,the hat shop where Blake had worked as salesman one year prior.Now a salesman at Macy s, Blake collaborated on a song with Lawlor titled Pretty JennieSlattery , about Jennie, the prettiest girl working in Macy s.(happy piano song Pretty Jennie Slattery playing)Jennie was engaged to an East Side machinist who had gone to school with Blake.Store owner Nathan Straus bought the first 1,500 copies and distributed them to his employees,and also sold them and advertised the song as being for sale in Macy s book department.In the ad in The World, items for sale included clothing, saddles, medicine, Guinness beerand the song s sheet music.On January 20th in 1895, The Sun publication printed a review of The Sidewalks of NewYork , saying that brevity may be its one distinguishing merit that s givenit so much success.That immense success of the song led into the idea for a stage production of the samename. The Sidewalks of New York played at the Bijou Theatre, being billed as thelatest sensational success, a vivid and realistic comedy drama of New York life, with 4 greatacts and 10 grand scenes.It was a roaring comedy with new songs, clever dancing and… a performing bear .Other than the bear, the draw was a special unrelated act from Kearney P. Speedy, thechampion high diver of the world, with the promise that he will make a plunge headforemost from the top of the stage into a tank of real water .It was billed as a dauntless, death defying dive of 80 feet. Here he s seen jumping in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1898.As the year 1895 rolled along, just five years away from the 20th century, Al Smith gainedenough notoriety with Tammany Hall to earn a spot as an investigator in the Office ofthe City of the Commissioner of Jurors.One of the men to whom he owed thanks: Boss Croker, the leader of Tammany who was perhapsin the vicinity the night Lawlor was at the Anawanda Club one year prior.Croker can be seen here on the right in an Edison film from February 9, 1900.Just as Smith was becoming acquainted with his new job, Lawlor and Blake continued workingon new songs.But none would reach the heights of The Sidewalks of New York.Following 1897, the trail goes mostly cold for several years with the exception of AlSmith, who married his sweetheart Catherine Dunn on May 6, 1900.He called her Katie.As for the other three, Lawlor is mentioned less and less in newspapers.The spotlight on Gilson begins to fade.And James W. Blake, having seen Golding Bros. close its doors, again found work in a shop.His dreams of staying in show business… dashed.He returned to the life of a salesman, selling carpets for a firm.Not long after, he and his wife Ida lost their first child in its first weeks.Their second child suffered the same fate, dying tragically in infancy.Following the deaths of both children, Blake s life would take a horrible turn, after Idaalso passed unexpectedly.In the first several years of the 20th century, Lottie Gilson appeared in newspapers as beingin dying condition .Three months later she fell down a flight of stairs leading to an elevated station,and was arraigned for public drunkenness.In the newspaper mentioning her fall, the article to the left reported on young unknownby the name of Charles Chaplin.Lottie Gilson was faced with the embarrassment of standing in front of a judge, and the possibleinjuries suffered in her fall, so she pulled herself together and miraculously made a comebackin May of 1911.The New York Clipper writes that she returned to a great reception , making a bighit for her singing of old and new songs. The same year Gilson released a recording of Just A Plain Little Irish Girl .Lottie Gilson singing: Just A Plain Little Irish Girl I don t mind telling you.I m head and heels in love with her, my brain is in a whirl, over one little, sweetlittle, dear little, Irish girl. It would be her final comeback.Just A Plain Little Irish Girl is the only known surviving recording of Gilson s.On June 22nd, 1912, an article was printed in The New York Clipper.Lottie Gilson... is dead.She was called the Little Magnet, and probably never in the annals of theatricalshas an appellation been so justly and legitimately bestowed on any performer as that that wasgiven to Miss Gilson. At one point Gilson was one of the highest paid vaudeville performers.She rests in Evergreen, surrounded by friends and associates of other days, whose caresand troubles have ceased forever. Following Al Smith s 1895 appointment in the Office of the City of the Commissionerof Jurors, he was elected to State Assembly in 1903.In 1911 he was able to complete arguably some of his most important work, investigatingthe city s working conditions after the horrifying tragedy in the Triangle Waist Companyfire, an incident in which more than 140 people died after being trapped by locked doors.The majority of the victims were women.Following the incident, a bill was introduced to grant workers shorter hours in a work week,known as the "54-hour Bill".Smith and Robert F. Wagner co-chaired the Factory Investigating Commission, and numerousinvestigations with thousands of pages of testimony led to multiple new laws regulatinglabor in the state.These measures publicized and endeared Smith as someone who cared about the wellbeing ofthe working man.He and Wagner also changed the perception of Tammany Hall from being a corrupt politicalorganization to one that fights for the people.94% of the laws proposed by the commission were legislated by the governor.Smith s efforts led to a 1915 appointment as delegate to the State Constitutional RevisionCommittee and Sheriff of New York County.At the same time, a great city was beginning to rise.(dramatic, epic, inspiring music)Two years later in 1917 Smith earned the position as President of the Board of Aldermen of GreaterNew York.Faced with the eventual next step of becoming the Governor of New York, Smith knew he wouldneed to show the state his true self, and for all voters to know that a vote for Smithtruly meant a vote for New York.The campaign was marked by a moment when his opponent, Charles Whitman, said Al Smithnever earned a dollar with his hands. Al responded: When my opponent was a student at Amherst, I was working from dawn till darkin the Fulton Fish Market. On December 30, 1918, Smith and his family moved away from Oliver Street and enteredthe Executive Mansion for a dinner, with Al now a Governor-Elect.Al Smith had become Governor Al Smith.In 1920 he visited the pacific coast for the first time, attending the Democratic NationalConvention in San Francisco.Charlie Murphy instructed Bourke Cockran to give a speech extolling Al as New York sbest candidate for President, and he did just that.At the end of the speech, the New York delegates cheered and the band leader, unsure of NewYork s state song, decided in desperation to play The Sidewalks of New York , atune that from that day forward would be forever identified with Al Smith.In 1923, just as 24-year-old George Gershwin was composing one of his most famous pieces,The New York Times reported on Governor Al Smith, stating that he had become, in hiswords, a successful song plugger .He read a letter from Charles Lawlor, now blind, stating that bringing The Sidewalksof New York back into popularity helped Lawlor to get back into vaudeville.So forgotten had the ballad become before Smith helped bring to it back, that newspaperswere reporting: Every one sings the chorus, but neither Tammany nor Al s headquarterscan supply verses. Eventually the verses were found, and the sheet music and records became so popular,that stores had trouble keeping copies in stock.Author Oscar Handlin wrote in his book Al Smith and His America : "It was tantalizingto think that in the land of opportunity every boy could dream of becoming President.And in 1918 the man who had been the boy, Al, had already seen many dreams surprisinglycome true.But it was another matter for the governor of the State of New York to have such dreams.The chief executive of a large state stood in a crucial relationship to the Presidency."President.Charlie Murphy went ahead with his plans to thrust Al Smith into the 1924 presidentialrace.Soon after, Al received news that Murphy had a heart attack, and died in his home.Murphy, the same man who in 1894 was in the Anawanda Club the night Charles Lawlor stumbledhome dreaming up the music for The Sidewalks of New York , had built up a wonderful friendshipwith Smith, and, as author Frank Graham put it, Al would from that day forward have acertain deference toward Murphy. The leading Democratic candidate in 1924 was California s William G. McAdoo.Governor Smith was very much against the idea of McAdoo becoming the party s nominee,believing it wouldn t be good for the party or the country.Author Oscar Handlin writes in his book: Smith s career had been a demonstration of the validityof Americanism.In his own mind, his success had confirmed the premise established by his life - thatmen of diverse backgrounds and different beliefs could nevertheless understand one anotherand work together toward common objectives.Yet, disturbingly, at this very time, some Americans were questioning that basic assumption.In the mood of disillusion and apparent betrayal engendered by the unsuccessful peace, manyAmericans longed to believe that somehow the fault had not been in themselves but in externalforce.They sought safety in withdrawal, in rejection of the League of Nations, in the destructionof Wilson s handiwork, in the end of immigration, and in security through isolation.International ties of every sort were dangerous; there was a hidden threat in the connectionsof Catholics and Jews with the outer world.These fears revived the Ku Klux Klan.The masked men - perhaps four million of them - were afraid of the new world their countryhad become.Science had abolished the God of their fathers; strange influences emanating from the cityhad weakened the family and had destroyed traditional standards of authority; intemperancecreated bad habits; and corruption spread through politics and business.Purification was essential through a return to the old order, through fundamentalism inreligion, through abstinence and restraint in personal behavior, and through the forcefulexcision from the government and the economy of all alien sources of infection. Handlin goes on to say: Unhappily, the old order had never existed except in thewishful dreams of men unwilling to confront the future. African Americans weren t the KKK s primary concern in the 1920s.Instead, the Klan set their sights on international Jews and Catholics, seeing the Roman Churchas a threat to the old ways.The Klan was rooted not only in the Republican party, but also in the Democratic party inthe South and West.A vote was taken in the 1924 Democratic convention, with 546.15 in favor of the Klan and 542.85against their ways, a fairly even split.Smith asked for McAdoo, the leading candidate, to give his opinion of the Klan.McAdoo refused.Handlin writes: While the bands played The Sidewalks of New York , Smith grimlywatched from his seat the course of more than 100 ballots.The vote on the platform had already shown that he himself had no chance, but he hadbeen staying in the race to punish the man who would not declare himself. The voice of Franklin Roosevelt: The candidate for whom I speak now leads the poll in thisconvention.We have advocated his nomination as the representative of great Democratic principles.But the future of the Democratic party rises far above the success of candidates.After nearly 100 ballots it is quite apparent to him and to me that the forces in this conventionfind Governor Smith the leader in the race And Mr. McAdoo a close second, cannot be amalgamated.For the sake of the party, therefore, Governor Smith authorizes me to say that immediatelyupon the withdrawal of Mr. McAdoo of his name, Governor Smith will withdraw his name alsofrom the consideration. Narrator: After the hours of balloting, Smith agreed to yield as long as other candidatesreleased their delegates, so that the convention could make a free choice.That choice was John W. Davis.Davis eventually lost to Calvin Coolidge in the general election.The convention did yield a nickname for Smith, one he would carry throughout the rest ofhis life.In Franklin D. Roosevelt s speech, he stated of Smith: This is the happy warrior; thisis he, that every man in arms should wish to be. (ole timey version of The Sidewalks of New York)Narrator: Charles Lawlor, seen here earlier in life, now sightless, feeble, and stilldealing with the untimely loss of his son, was disappointed in the fact that the 1924convention didn't nominate Smith.With The New York Times reporter at his side, he remembered he and James W. Blake's visionfor The Sidewalks of New York.In Lawlor s words: "After it became so popular, a great artist painted a picture after mysong, but I did not care for it, as he had well-to-do children dancing in the street,and my vision was of very poor children.In my mind's eye, I can see a big husky policeman leaning against a lamppost and twirling hisclub, an organ-grinder playing near by, and the east side kids, with dirty faces, shoesunlaced, stockings down, torn clothes, dancing to the music, while from a tenement windowan old Irish woman, with a lace cap and one of those oldtime checkered shawls around hershoulders, looking down and smiling at the children."Governor Smith said of Lawlor: Lawlor, the composer, is one of our most popular varietyactors back in the days of Tony Pastor s Theatre.I can remember going to see him, when everybody roared over his songs and witticisms, mostof them original.He was a man of reputation long before writing his best song, and when it came out New Yorksimply took the tune to its heart. The New York times stated: The man who had so well expressed the poetry of the sidewalksof New York was beginning to grow tired.But his smile survived it all, just as it has survived the ups and downs of theatricallife over almost half a century, and still bears him up in his blindness. Charles Lawlor, the boy who arrived in New York on July 4, 1869, just in time to jointhe celebration in Union Square, passed away on May 31, 1925 at his home on West 106thStreet.Governor Smith was unable to attend the funeral due an illness.Seven years later, Lawlor s widow ran out of money, was evicted from her home, dying in the streets.Following the 1924 election, Smith was determined to not let the bigotry displayed in the conventionportray what he believed to be the good will and accepting nature of the American people.In 1928, Governor Smith ran again for the Democratic nomination for President of theUnited States.(bold, exciting, wonderful music)The Daily Illini described Smith just after Christmas in 1927: He is frank, straightforward,masterful and has the courage of his convictions.The fact that he is so admired in New York, a Republican state, indicates that he is likedby his associates.A certain number of people will probably vote against Smith because of his faith, but onthe other hand another class will most likely vote against Hoover because of the Republicanparty s disappointing stand for farm relief.The two factions will about counter-balance each other.Governor Smith is an outstanding exemplification of American opportunity. (bold, exciting, wonderful music builds even more)In the buildup to the Election of 1928, several members of the Ku Klux Klan were imprisoned,and the organization was in disarray.The Democratic party leaders stated that they saw their mistakes from 1924, and that theyhad a path to improve and win for the upcoming election.Franklin Roosevelt, soon to be the governor of New York, acted as the floor leader inHouston, Texas, during the nomination process.With the balloting results being read aloud on the radio, Smith tabulated the votes onpaper, while sitting in the executive mansion with family.Eventually declared the nominee, Smith went to the window overlooking the lawn and wascheered by the rapidly swelling crowd that kept pounding away at the refrain of The Sidewalks of New York .(music becomes sounds sad, haunting)In the end, Smith was once again disappointed by the American people, even failing to carryhis own state.Author Frank Graham writes: He was deeply saddened, not because a great honor had beendenied him but because the denial would indicate a national state of mind that to him, as tomillions of others, would be no less than tragic. Average, everyday voter Sarah E. Dunne writes to Smith: My dear Governor Smith, be ofgood cheer.The Lord was with you yesterday.Had you been elected I am sure you would have been assassinated, for the K.K.K. was determinedthat no Catholic win.Watch and see how many Catholics and Jews are elected.I voted for you and was anxious for you to win.I am grateful that you didn t.My brother-in-law is terribly depressed over the fact that you lost.He was so sure you were to win.He wouldn t listen to a doubt.Hoping you can feel this defeat to be a godsend.I am.Very truly yours, Sarah E. Dunne. Handlin writes: Smith insisted on being taken as he was, out of a profound, if naive,faith that his honesty and integrity would get across to this widest audience of all.Thus he refused to hedge when Hoover charged that Smith was taking a road to Socialism.In his reply in Boston, Al reaffirmed his conviction of the importance of his programand pointed out that the accusation of Communism was always an easy weapon in the hands ofenemies of progressive legislation. Rumors were spread that it was a plot for Vatican ideals to take over the country.Bishop James Cannon, Jr. called it the foreign-populated city called New York where confessedly Satan s seat is , and that no subject of the Pope shouldbe president. And Bishop Adna Wright Leonard thundered, No governor who kisses the Papal ring cancome within gunshot of the White House. Handlin writes: Logic was a poor instrument to stem the tide of hatred set loose in thecampaign.As the weeks went by, the Democratic candidate recognized that prejudice influenced not afew eccentrics only but a large part of his countrymen. The author continues: In 1928, candor and the plea for intolerance did not help.The farmer and the small-town merchant, the fundamentalist and the prohibitionist, blindedby fear of the future struck out in fury against the urban stranger who was the symbol of thenew America. Smith stated of the religious issue: It is a sad thing in 1928, in view of the countlessbillions of dollars that we have poured into the cause of public education, to see someAmerican citizens proclaiming themselves 100% American, and in the document that makes thatproclamation suggesting that I be defeated for the presidency because of my religiousbelief. Other claims shouted down by Smith include a false allegation that he was driving 50miles per hour down Broadway while intoxicated, even though he did not know how to drive anautomobile.Another claim told school girls in Iowa to tell their parents that a vote for Smith meansanother war.Smith continues: I fully appreciate that here and there, in a great country like ours,there are to be found misguided people and, under ordinary circumstances, it might bewell to be charitable and make full and due allowance for them.But this campaign, so far advanced, discloses such activity on their part as to constitute,in my opinion, a menace not alone to the party, but to the country itself. Speaking of all the people creating fearmongering stories about Smith, he said: I here andnow drag them into the open and I denounce them as a treasonable attack upon the veryfoundations of American liberty. I here emphatically declare that I do not wish any member of my faith in any part ofthe United States to vote for me on any religious grounds.I want them to vote for me only when in their hearts and consciences they become convincedthat my election will promote the best interests of our country. (04:55)The anti-Catholic death threats throughout the campaign were of no comfort to his wifeKatie, but as the returns came in, there was relief only in the fact that he would nothave to fear a gunshot at his inauguration or in the coming four years.And the same night, with Al and his family gathered together, they celebrated Katie sbirthday.Graham writes: He could not help but believe that the decisive factor was his religion.That while he might not have won in any circumstance, he had no chance to win because he was a Catholic. And Handlin writes: In the years after 1928, Al would be for the first time in hislife without an audience; and, oh, it was hard to find something to say when no onewas listening. Smith and his core of friends longed for a restoration of the good old days when abilityand ingenuity could earn an enterprising man an immense fortune. When asked about the secret to his political successes, Smith answered: just being around .Handlin writes: A lifetime of effort had brought Smith, in 1928, to a height from whichhe glimpsed the promised land of equal opportunity about which generations of Americans had dreamed.From his downfall, millions of his countrymen concluded that it had only been a dream. Al Smith speaking: We are about to officially open the Empire State Building, the largestand most beautiful office building in the world. Narrator: One night at a party at the Empire State Club, a newspaper photographer gatheredAl and a few partygoers to pose.Al said Wait a minute.There s a fellow back there who should be in the picture. A reporter asked Smith who is he, Governor? .Smith replied: He played the piano in Tony Pastor s Theatre. Smith had not forgotten his younger days, nor over the years had he changed his characterand motives for greed, money, influence or power.In 1933, James W. Blake and his two siblings ran out of money and were evicted from theirapartment in the Bronx, a not-so-rare sight in the day.The New York Times writes: "They tramped the pavements - the sidewalks of New York thatJim had glorified in song - all of one bitter night, spent a few hours in the warm waitingroom of the Pennsylvania Station and then wandered into the streets again. (cold noises, wind, howling, sad)Narrator: Their final hope was for James to speak with Ishbel Ross, a reporter for TheHerald Tribune, who he had met five years before.In the only known photo of Blake, he's photographed homeless and shivering from the cold, castout to the sidewalks.The reporter reached Al Smith, the East Side boy raised under the beginning of the BrooklynBridge.The Happy Warrior came to Blake s rescue, arranging for living quarters, food and enoughmoney for a decent living, showing the true values of one New Yorker to another.Two years later in Blake s final days, Smith removed him to a hospital.Blake said to a nun at his bedside: "You know, one of the reasons I want to get well is tohear Al sing my song.They tell me he does it swell. In 1944, New York lost Al Smith.Author Frank Graham wrote of Smith s funeral: And in the crowd, walking silently throughthe great cathedral, could be heard, softly, the heartbeat of the city he loved. I hope you enjoyed the closed captions. I uploaded the script so you wouldn't have to deal with automated captions. Thanks for watching.


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