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April 25, 2021 12:49 pm

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April 25, 2021 12:49 pm

In our cover story, Tracy Smith looks at how the movie industry is primed to welcome audiences back into theaters after a year of closures. Martha Teichner examines the repercussions of the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. Ben Mankiewicz visits Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight. Mo Rocca snaps fingers with "West Side Story" star Russ Tamblyn. Jim Axelrod discusses the new book about swindler Bernie Madoff, "Madoff Talks" with its author, Jim Campbell, and David Pogue checks out Cameo, a service that offers fans personalized videos from celebrities.

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Our CBS Sunday morning podcast is sponsored by Edward Jones. College tours with your oldest daughter. Updating the kitchen to the appropriate decade.

Retiring on the coast. Life is full of moments that matter, and Edward Jones helps you make the most of them. That's why every Edward Jones financial advisor works with you to build personalized strategies for now and down the road. So when your next moment arrives, big or small, you're ready for it. Life is for living.

Let's partner for all of it. Learn more at Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday Morning. Almost five full days after the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, the people of Minneapolis and the rest of America too are still taking stock.

Martha Teichner will take a look back and forward. Then it's on to the Oscars, held tonight under most unusual circumstances as Hollywood wonders if a year of COVID could put its coming attractions and its future in jeopardy. As Tracy Smith explains. If the pandemic crushed the theater business, then why is the film industry betting big that you'll go out to a movie this year?

It's one of life's mysteries, sir. The movie theater always comes back. And again, you think it will? I think the movie theater is going to come back in a big way. A real Hollywood comeback story in the making. You can imagine why I've come back to play.

Later on Sunday morning. Our Sunday profile this morning is of John Voigt, a Hollywood veteran who has an Oscar to his credit and much to say about movie making, politics and more. He'll be talking with Ben Mankiewicz. 52 years ago, Midnight Cowboy put John Voigt on the map. Oh, hell, I'm a hustler. You didn't know that?

And he knew precisely where to go with the part. This is about loneliness. It's about loneliness. It's heartbreaking too. I understand this character.

Now the Academy Award winner wants you to understand him. I'm an interesting person to myself. And John Voigt ahead on Sunday morning. You may not know her name, but you have almost certainly heard her voice. She's backup singer Mary Clayton, who's making herself heard loud and clear after a terrible car accident with Lee Cowan. We pay her a visit. She was one of the stars of an Oscar winning documentary.

But since then, these are beautiful. Mary Clayton has a whole new chapter to sing about. Anyone can go through something in life, but it's not what you go through. It's what you do while you're in the midst of it. The background behind a background singer that will leave you inspired. Coming up on Sunday morning.

Maraca catches up with actor, dancer and tumbler Russ Tamblyn. David Pogue introduces us to some celebrities who make house calls. Jim Axelrod talks with the author who wrote the book on late Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff. Plus, Steve Hartman, thoughts from columnist Charles Blow and more on this Sunday morning, April twenty fifth, twenty twenty one.

And we'll be back in a moment. Coming attractions are the fuel and the promise Hollywood runs on. But on this particular Oscar Sunday, questions abound as to what sort of future the industry even has. After more than a year in the dark due to covid, Tracey Smith has our tickets.

I just want to tell you all how happy I am to be back in the studio making a picture again. In the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard, washed up screen idol Norma Desmond was both glamorous and tragic, and the same might be said for a real life movie relic at Sunset and Vine. For most of the past 60 years, the Cinerama Dome was a landmark movie palace and a true Hollywood player since the day it opened November 7th, 1963. The geodesic domed movie palace cost about one million dollars to build, and the motion picture cost upwards of ten million dollars to produce. But like so many other movie houses, the dome shut down last year, another casualty of the financial realities of the pandemic. The pandemic literally overnight decimated the movie theater business.

Comscore senior media analyst Paul De Garabedian. It was so bleak that people couldn't even imagine that theaters would be shut down for a month, let alone a year. That moment changed the world for the movie theater industry, and nobody saw it coming.

And now the Cinerama Dome's owners say it'll stay closed even after the pandemic. But even if it's closed for good, that doesn't mean that movie going is going away. In fact, word on the street is that the movie business might just be getting ready to take off and soar to heights no one ever thought possible.

Coming soon to a brick and mortar theater near you, a flock of big movies fighting for your attention. Good morning, aviators. This is your captain speaking. Today's exercise is dog fighting. Two versus one? He's got to be kidding. Tom Cruise's much delayed Top Gun sequel will be in the thick of it.

How many others are there? So will Marvel's Black Widow. And by the fall... Come on Bond, where the hell are you? James Bond will make an entrance. You can imagine why I've come back to play. So why are studios now sending movies back to the theaters?

You could ask these guys. Since it opened March 31st, the movie Godzilla versus Kong has been crushing it with a $30 million plus opening weekend, and that's giving the industry reason for hope. People were wondering what's going to happen with Godzilla versus Kong, and there was a huge collective sigh of relief when it overperformed by a huge margin in theaters around the globe.

I kind of half expected starting this story that at least someone would be doom and gloom, but it's not going to be you. I mean, it sounds like... No, look, here's the thing. If Godzilla versus Kong had done $5 million instead of $32 million, then you could argue with me that the theater is the product of a bygone era. That would go extinct like a prehistoric lizard. And guess what?

It's not happening. What's more, the movie opened day and date, meaning that it was released on streaming on the exact same day, and people still went out to see it. So it's no flash in the pan. Godzilla was a very important milestone for the industry.

And there's something else at work here. As movies are the lifeblood of theaters, so too can theaters be good for a movie. For example, last year's best picture winner, Parasite, according to Parasite's distributor, neon president, Elissa Federoff. I think it absolutely changed the course of Parasite to be in theaters for as long as it was. And the fact that it ran in theaters for six months straight, only made it a bigger phenomenon and more exciting for the audience. Talk about exciting.

Y'all ever thought about the wild missions we've been on? The Fast and Furious franchise will bring its ninth installment to theaters in July. Still fast. Still furious. Still wildly profitable. If you had told me, or told the industry 30 years ago, that a movie that ran in theaters 30 years ago, that a film franchise about fast cars with diverse stars, right, is one of the most diverse film franchises in the industry, would become the number one movie in China ever, they would have said you were crazy.

But that's exactly what happened. Franklin Leonard is a former movie executive who started The Blacklist, an annual survey of film producers' favorite unproduced movie scripts, the ones that sometimes get lost in the Hollywood shuffle. Our job is not to save one passenger convoy.

It is to win the war. And when they do get made, Blacklist films often win Oscars, like 2015's The Invitation Game. Our job was to crack a nightmare.

Well, we've done that. Now, because of the pandemic, Leonard says even more Blacklist films could be on the way. As the pandemic began, you know, people were stuck at home. And if you are a movie maker or television maker, what you want to be doing is reading good stuff that you can try to go make. And that's really what we saw happen. When this is all over and as we're coming out of it, we're going to need to share stories with each other about how we survived this moment, what it means and what we do now. And what we do now, or at least soon if the experts are right, is get up off the couch and go to the movies. You can see things start to come back.

Yeah. What happens next? I think next up is the appreciation for the movie theater even more so than before. There will be changes in the industry.

We don't know what all of those are going to be yet, but don't count out the movie theater. It's making that big Hollywood comeback and we're living through it right now. Five days after the verdict, Americans are still pondering the lessons of the Derek Chauvin case and wondering what it means for our nation going forward.

Here's Martha Teichner. Believe your eyes, what you saw, you saw. Over and over again, he said it. It's exactly what you saw with your eyes. It's exactly what you knew. It's what you felt in your gut.

It's what you now know in your heart. Prosecutor Steve Schleicher in final arguments to the jury in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. This wasn't policing. This was murder.

You know that's bogus right now, bro. From every angle, jurors saw. Took in what Darnella Frazier, then 17, dared to record on her cell phone. They watched witnesses weep, describing how they saw George Floyd die and did what so many other juries have not. Find the defendant guilty. They believed. I was relieved that the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty.

I was surprised that they did. Dartmouth College African American history professor Matthew Delmont discussing the verdict with colleagues last week. We've seen so many cases from Rodney King to the present where video evidence would seem to guarantee that police would be found guilty. But the police officers who beat Rodney King in 1991 were acquitted. I think if Darnella Frazier hadn't taken that video, I don't think it's possible the jury would have convicted Derek Chauvin. Without that video, I don't think you see the massive protest across the country and globally last summer. And without that, I don't think there's the pressure on Minneapolis to bring the case in the way that they did. But he adds, The visual proof doesn't guarantee justice. Delmont grew up in Minneapolis, not far from where George Floyd died.

If he sounds wary, it's because Americans have seen with their own eyes for decades. The horror of Emmett Till's face after he was lynched in 1955. There was Eric Garner in 2014.

He said, I can't breathe, too. At least 64 more people were killed by police in the United States just during the Chauvin trial, including 20-year-old Daunte Wright just a few miles from the courthouse. When it happens in your city, you take it personally. I can't not take this personally, not as a black mom in the Twin Cities. There's no way.

All of this is personal to me. Professor Dutchess Harris is a race scholar at McAllister College in St. Paul, Minnesota. There has been a killing of an unarmed black man every summer since 2014. The litany of police killings in the Twin Cities includes Philando Castile in 2016, his girlfriend live streaming the aftermath on Facebook. He was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm.

I told him not to reach for it, I told him to get his hand out of it. The cop who shot him was found not guilty of manslaughter. I did the research, and when Philando Castile was killed, 60 percent of white Americans were opposed to Black Lives Matter. Black lives matter! Black lives matter! Black lives matter!

Harris, too, has been grappling with what happened between then and now. How among the tens of millions of Americans who defied COVID quarantines last summer to march in George Floyd's name behind Black Lives Matter banners, huge numbers were white. What I have come to at this point is my own understanding that so many white people just didn't know. And I didn't realize that they didn't know.

And that's partly because I'm living my life and I've never had the opportunity not to know. It was a murder in full light of day and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see. Why did white people not see with their own eyes what was before them?

And even, to be perfectly frank, even if there were no images, why did we not hear, why did we not listen? Writer Alex Kotlowitz has spent his career trying to straddle the racial divide. In my second book, The Other Side of the River, when I was in these two towns, Benton Harbor and St. Joe, Benton Harbor, predominantly black, incredibly distressed, on the other side of the river, all white and very prosperous.

In 1998, Sunday morning accompanied Kotlowitz to the two Southwestern Michigan towns. You say, you tell me you feel safer in Benton Harbor despite the murder rate, whatever you would in St. Joe. Yeah.

Yeah. Here's a kid who says he's more afraid of going into St. Joe than he is in his own town. And yet, in his own town, they have 20 murders in one year. In St. Joe, they've had three murders in 25 years.

Fear is also the reason St. Joe residents say they don't go to Benton Harbor. What does that say to you? Well, it says to me that we've got a long way to go in this country to build some kind of connections or bridges between people. And I would go into the white community, St. Joseph, and people would say, but why are you writing about this racism issue around here? They were so disconnected from their neighbors across the river that they couldn't even begin to sort of imagine what it meant to be black in this country. Couldn't see each other, Kotlowitz came to believe, even though they were neighbors. And maybe that's the one thing that's different about this moment, is that... That everybody saw the same thing?

Yeah, white Americans finally saw what black Americans have seen and experienced for a long time. A cameo, however brief, by a big-name star is a boost to any movie. How much bigger the boost when stars make a cameo appearance in a not-so-famous person's daily life. David Pogue shows us how it's done. Venture capitalist Mark Suester used to take his kids to see the Philadelphia Eagles play every year.

But in the year of COVID, I wasn't able to take them. And so I thought, what could I do that would make them feel special when we're socially isolated? What's up, Jake? This is Brandon Graham. He wound up giving each kid a video. My fingers crossed, too, on us making this play. A personal greeting recorded by actual Eagles players.

I'm telling you, we're going to be back in the Super Bowl again. And so what we did is on Christmas morning, we watched it almost like an unboxing, like watching them and their faces lighting up, and it was magical. So far, he's bought six such videos from How's it going, Jessica?

Lance Bass here. You can pay famous people to record personalized videos. And from ICE, Happy Mother's Day. It is the modern-day equivalent of an autograph.

And what's more intimate than a video where they're talking to you by name, calling out something like your birthday or a holiday? This is Smokey Robinson. I know you didn't expect to hear from me. Over 30,000 celebrities are available in a huge range of prices. Hi, Cyra. It's Caitlyn Jenner here. Caitlyn Jenner charges $2,500 per video.

And I'm back. David Hasselhoff here. David Hasselhoff, $500.

The Hoff has spoken. Dionne Warwick, $350. What the world needs now is love, sweet love. Cameo takes a 25% cut. Essentially, the idea is for any talent on Earth, you can then pay them to say whatever you want to whoever you want. Stephen Galanis is the CEO and co-founder of Cameo.

This is Melissa Etheridge. The company's popularity surged during the pandemic. And more celebrities signed up.

Every single athlete, actor, celebrity on Earth found themselves out of jobs, out of work. So Cameo went from being funny money or from being an insignificant source of people's income to all of a sudden becoming the primary source or the sole source in some cases. Hi, this is Gilbert Gottfried. Cameo has become the primary source of income for comedian Gilbert Gottfried.

And in case you don't know him. Gilbert Gottfried. Yeah, Aladdin. I can't take it anymore.

Did you ever see that, Aladdin? I was on Saturday Night Live years ago, not a good season, but I was on it. He charges $150 per video and he's made quite a few. I think I've done 8,000. 8,000? Let's see, 8,000 times $150 a piece. It's not a bad job.

I should have my own island somewhere. Why the hell am I wasting time sitting here talking to you? For singer and actress Keri Hilson, the money isn't the main attraction. When the pandemic hit and I was sitting at home twiddling my thumbs, couldn't go anywhere, couldn't perform, that's when it became extra attractive to me.

So you gotta take the good with the bad. To reach out to my fans, to engage with them in a new way. My name is Keri, I'm so very fly, oh my, it's a little bit scary.

Can you give some encouraging words to my 13-year-old? I want you to keep pushing. Or my husband has the biggest crush on you, can you please just send him some caramel kisses?

What sorts of things would you consider not doable? Well, there, I get some boyfriend requests. Hi Lisa, it's Kenny G here in my studio. Grammy winner Kenny G has made over 600 Canada videos at $295 a piece. He includes a soprano sax solo in every video. What percent of them would you say are birthday greetings?

Oh gosh, I'd say probably 60 to 70 percent. Really? So I got happy birthday down, bro.

He'll deliver your greeting in any language, and if he doesn't know the song you're requesting, he'll learn it. I'm getting the impression that you're a little bit of a perfectionist to make these great. I mean, I guess that's the, there's pluses and minuses to that. I mean, you know, a lot of my friends, they tell me, listen, you're no picnic. Now, many of the celebrities on Cameo are, well, how can I put it? Some of them make me feel like I'm in a good mood.

How can I put it? Some of them made their last movies or played their last ball games decades ago. Of course we've heard that, but our platform's also populated by a lot of people who we call next, TikTokers, emerging stars, people who are on shows that will blow up in Netflix in, you know, the next two to three months. Have you ever had a talent person have reservations because of this thing about, I'm shilling myself, I'm prostituting myself, I'm selling myself.

I think we used to see that early. When we started the business, direct to fan monetization was seen as very taboo. But these days, sites like YouTube and Instagram are making a lot more people famous, just not rich and famous. They're selling merch. They're doing live meet and greets. They're going to Comic Cons. Direct to fan monetization is the future. Cameo has competition, but it does have a healthy head start.

It says it's sold over a million videos so far. I'd like to wish all my friends at CBS Sunday Morning a very happy 42nd anniversary. And yes, we bought a Kenny G cameo to commemorate our own celebration. Russ Tamblyn is a one-time Oscar nominee whose career, despite some high points, wasn't always, well, let's just say, a snap.

He's in conversation with our morocca. 1961's West Side Story opens on the character Riff, the leader of the Jets, snapping his fingers, marking time and territory in gangland New York City. When you're walking down the street, are you ever tempted to snap? The answer is yes. When you're walking down the street, are you ever tempted to snap?

The answer to that is no. Maybe that's because the actor who played Riff, Russ Tamblyn, doesn't have to prove how cool he is. In the 1950s, Tamblyn leapt his way to movie stardom, hitting the heights and earning himself the nickname Tumblin' Tamblyn. I'm a sucker for tumbling in a musical number. Well, it was my thing. And I'll tell you this, tumbling not only got me through musicals where people thought, oh, what a great dancer. I was really not a good dancer. I was just a great acrobat. When did you start doing gymnastics? I was kind of born doing gymnastics.

Raised in Los Angeles by showbiz parents, Tamblyn was about 10 years old when the neighborhood kids made him a bet. I said I could do a handstand anywhere. And they said, yeah, bet you can't go up on top of that telephone pole and do a handstand. So I climbed up the telephone pole and did a handstand between the high-voltage wires. And I had no fear of it. My mother came out of the house. She was afraid to say anything, you know, because she didn't want me to fall or anything.

It wasn't until I got down that she balled the hell out of me. Discovered not long afterward, Tamblyn was 15 when he played Elizabeth Taylor's younger brother in Father of the Bride. But his breakout role was as the youngest of seven in MGM's Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I was the only one out of all of them that could look like he was learning how to dance.

Playing a back woodsman, his lack of any formal training played to his advantage. Two years later, Tamblyn traded the axe for a pair of shovels in the fastest gun alive with a dance that not long ago blazed across social media. No wonder that when Elvis Presley needed help with his moves for the Jailhouse Rock number, he asked Tamblyn. Elvis asked me what I thought, and I said, I can help you with with your knees. They're like sort of knee pops? Well, the knee pops, yeah.

He was doing it like a little bit, but I got him to really do it hard. But Tamblyn wouldn't be confined to musicals. I can't get over how wonderful you look. His performance in the melodrama Peyton Place earned him an Oscar nomination. You never said goodbye to me when you left Peyton Place.

The following year, he starred in the cult classic High School Confidential. Let's stick to business. How many joints you got to sell? Playing Tony Baker, an undercover cop investigating a high school drug ring.

I'm looking to graze on some grass. What? Okay, chick, I guess I dialed the wrong number.

With lingo as with it today, as it surely was back then. I was going to park there big shot. The name's Baker. B-A-K-E-R, and I park where I want. That space is mine. You got 32 teeth, buster. You want to try for none? Okay, just one more.

You get in with the wheelers and dealers. And you'll be a top stud yourself. Yeah? I got news for you, man.

Before this crummy day's over, every crummy stud in this whole crummy school is going to know who Tony Baker is. See, I don't join them, man. They join me. You dig me? I dig you. And were you dating like crazy when you became famous?

Like crazy, yes. And size was not a problem, even when Tamplin played Tom Thumb. Happy birthday, everyone! They shaved all the hair off my chest, a little bit that was growing. They shaved it all off and shaved my legs, dyed my hair white. But, you know, blonde. And I thought, oh my God, I'm going to never get another girlfriend again.

Girls loved it. But by the early 1960s, Tamplin began feeling adrift in Hollywood. He turned down the title role in the sitcom Gilligan's Island. Why'd you say no? Because it was the dumbest script I ever read.

I mean, if I'd have done it, I probably would have ended up being a drug addict, you know, just to just to get through it. Tamplin was seeking a new direction. I was living in a big house in Pacific Palisades and I was very unhappy and I just couldn't figure out what it was. I was looking for something much deeper than show business.

I felt empty. And so he moved to the Bohemian community of California's Topanga Canyon and began making experimental art films and collages. I had switched my focus, my energy from the performing arts to fine art. And the difference I always explained is that in the performing arts, you do whatever you can to make the audience's head spin. In fine art, it doesn't matter.

You should do what makes your own head spin. That Oscar nomination for Peyton Place, he even turned that into art. But it didn't pay the rent, so he painted houses, waited tables.

Waited tables. It's no theory, you know, that the brown gargantua was a harmless creature. And took roles in a Japanese monster movie and in outlaw biker movies. You're right. I am a rotten bastard. I admit it. In Satan's sadists who played a servant of the devil, sinning, slugging and drugging their way to hell.

That was fun. But his fans remained loyal. He was in the first film I ever saw as a little girl. Okay.

Redheaded boys are the only ones I want. In 1979, Tamblyn met his future wife Bonnie at a nightclub where she was performing folk music. After I played my gig, I got off stage and he came up to me and his pickup line was, I'd like to teach you how to dance. I was going okay. I did, didn't I?

Yeah, we danced together. Tamblyn has two daughters, artist Chyna and actress and writer Amber Tamblyn. She knows one needs to give up to be a young actor.

She relates to the constant having to go out on an audition, for instance, and not get the part. Russ Tamblyn made a comeback in the early 90s, playing an eccentric psychiatrist on TV's Twin Peaks, revived in 2017. It's seven o'clock. Do you know where your freedom is? That's it, the red and the blue.

And I had these glasses made and they're the ones. At 86, Tamblyn isn't quite as quick on his feet as he used to be. In 2014, he had open heart surgery. And the thing that was scary for us was that the doctor says, I don't know if he's going to come back from this. But after eight hours in the O.R. and a new heart valve, Russ Tamblyn showed he still got it. He opened his eyes and he looked at us and he went, he snapped his fingers. That's right.

That's it. When it comes to the late Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, you could truly write a book. Jim Axelrod has been talking to the author who did.

For the 12 and a half years between his arrest and his death, Bernie Madoff barely said a word to reporters. This is handwritten letters that Bernie sent me. Or so we thought it turns out he was engaged in extensive correspondence with a journalist named Jim Campbell, 400 pages worth. Handwritten letters, the vast bulk of 400 pages as emails. I have a chunk. They're single spaced.

They're long. They're full of compulsion to explain. Very Nixonian in the need to rationalize and justify his behavior. Campbell is out with a book made off talks, which takes us inside the mind of the man who perpetrated the biggest fraud in American financial history. Did he ever express remorse?

Yes. And it would happen this way. My lawyers tell me I have to express remorse, Jim. I said, here's a victim that you decimated. How do you feel about that? I said, I really, I have a tremendous amount of remorse.

Please tell her that I say that. Why didn't he reach out to her himself and say, I'm sorry. He couldn't do that really. His grotesque ego permitted only one sentence of apology to his son, Andrew, but allowed him to write letter after letter to a stranger to try to manage his legacy. You realize that he's writing a guy that he's never met six, seven page single space letters. And he sent a letter to Andy and his fiance partner, one sentence. I'm so sorry, dad, not even love. I'm so sorry, dad.

That's chilling. It illuminates a narcissist that is compelled to rationalize what he happened. He sometimes he would go, Jim, you know, nobody knows why Madoff did this. And I say, Bernie, you're Madoff. Prison officials refused Campbell's request for a face-to-face visit with Madoff, but he took Madoff's wife, Ruth, to lunch many times, starting in 2011. Was Ruth Madoff complicit? My assessment is she was not complicit and she did not know about it. I asked her, what did you say after Bernie told you guys? What is a Ponzi scheme?

And you think that's on the level. You think Ruth Madoff really didn't know what a Ponzi scheme was. I don't believe that she really understood what was going on, though. It removes an element of sinister that Bernie has attached to him. And it just makes Ruth tragic.

It does. And also it's again emanating from Madoff's ego. He could never have admitted to his wife and family that he was running this thing as a criminal enterprise. Bernie Madoff outlived both his sons. Mark died by suicide on the second anniversary of Madoff's arrest. Andrew died of cancer in 2014. You know, Andrew would say to me, he killed Mark quickly.

He's killing me slowly. Andrew and his brother had worked for their father in a legitimate billion-dollar market-making business Madoff kept separate from the Ponzi scheme. After Madoff confessed to his sons, they turned him in. Andrew never spoke a word to him again. Did he have any capacity for introspection?

No, not much. I don't think he had introspection because he's keeping this thing running in his brain every day. Complete criminal enterprise. At the same time, he's keeping the legitimate business going.

How could a guy do that if he looked inside himself for two minutes? It's the work of a psychopath. It's the work of a financial psychopath, yes. This is a statement of Bernie's firm and went to his investors each month. Campbell showed us one of the principal tools of the fraud.

Morgan Stanley, PepsiCo, American Express, Pfizer, Bank of America, Procter & Gamble. This particular client thought that Madoff was investing his or her money in these companies. Yes. Was he?

No, it's completely fake. He had complete phony records run off of an old archaic IBM AS400 and every trade was there faked, but that was just for the regulators and for show. Campbell says plenty of blame extends well beyond Madoff. How could the regulators not uncover that?

It's inexcusable, it's gross negligence, it's incompetence. But at the heart of his story is a criminal mastermind who kept spinning to the end. He thought that I would set the record straight.

You'll see that the first letter says that, you know, you can help clear up all the misperceptions that are out there. If that was his calculus, then Bernie Madoff's final investment in Jim Campbell ended up like all the others, worthless. I say it's not too far of a stretch to say he was a monster. He was a product, as he told me, of the corrupt nature of Wall Street. So it was somebody else's fault.

Yes, the blame was always shifted to somebody else. A high school pitcher laid low by disease is back on the mound and at the top of his game. Steve Hartman has his story.

17-year-old Walker Smallwood of Dixie Heights High School in Edgewood, Kentucky, always dreamed of pitching in the pros until he started posting some very disappointing numbers. Six surgeries, six chemo cycles, 24 treatments, and 18 hospital stays. Back in 2018, this promising lefty was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer in his leg. He's now in remission, but his baseball career has passed. Yeah, it was pretty devastating.

Walker's mom, Pam. He just kept asking, can I just pitch? And we kept saying, no, you just really can't.

At the time, I guess I was just kind of in denial because my whole life, day in and day out, it kind of been built around baseball and sports. But now that left leg was just too fragile. He resigned himself to games of catch. But before stepping off the mound for good, his parents and coach decided to let Walker start one last game, for old time's sake. What we had agreed to was, you know, maybe an inning, a few batters.

Say you did it, have some fun, and then that'll be it. Obviously, that's not what happened. Here's what did. In the first inning, Walker threw a strike.

Quite a few, actually. In fact, he did so well, they decided to let him keep pitching, at least until he gave up a hit, which never happened. Walker Smallwood threw a no hitter, striking out all but two batters, tying a school record. When the last strike came, I was just in denial all over again. I was like, that didn't just happen. I was in tears. Most of the stands were in tears. Just one of those special moments that we'll cherish forever. Number six, Walker Smallwood. Walker may never play again, and he's actually fine with that now.

Because who needs a World Series ring, when you've already taken on your greatest rival and gone undefeated? John Voigt is a long-time Hollywood leading man who hails from a family of no small distinction. Ben Mankiewicz with our Sunday profile. On a sunny afternoon this month in Los Angeles, John Voigt was feeling groovy. You make my heart sing, you make everything groovy.

True story, Voigt's brother, Chip Taylor, wrote the hit Wild Thing, and like the song's title, this Academy Award winner is a bit of a loose cannon, especially in this town. I'm an interesting person to myself. I'm interesting, very interesting guy. I definitely think you're interesting. I know where I stand and I have to say my piece if I'm going to say it. And there's plenty Voigt wants to say, but first, let's get to his career. Over seven decades, Voigt has been memorable and mesmerizing. I apologize. He's played cowboys, convicts, champs, and chumps. And at 82, You hear about this new law?

He's set to return as Liev Schreiber's conniving gangster father in Showtime's Ray Donovan. If you can't laugh, what are you going to do, cry all the time? No matter the character, the motivation is the same. Whatever does kill me makes me stronger. You're trying to get to that truth of it, you know, that essence that illuminates this moment or the story. It's a wonderful thing.

It's a spiritual thing. A devout Catholic, Voigt was born in 1938, 20 miles outside Manhattan and a million miles from Hollywood. I'm from Yonkers, New York. I'm from Yonkers, New York. And I liked it.

Yeah. And you can't have heirs if you're from Yonkers, you know. Sid Caesar didn't have heirs.

That's the way I like to feel it, couldn't you? He was from Yonkers too. And every Saturday night in the early 50s, as the Voigt family watched your show of shows, Young John found inspiration. I give him credit for my career as an actor. I used to imitate Sid Caesar doing the German, his German professor, you know.

Can we get a little of that? That you still do it? Well, you know, if we're sitting here and with the great and the great, I'm talking about the great, the great Ben Mankiewicz, you see. After college, Voigt found work on and off Broadway with Robert Duvall in A View from the Bridge and as Rolf in The Sound of Music.

In 1969, the break of a lifetime. I'd be happy to oblige. With the support of his friend Dustin Hoffman, I really would. Voigt landed the part of the naive gigolo Joe Buck in Midnight Cowboy. Everybody's talking at me.

Voigt says much of the dialogue was unscripted. We used to improvise all the time, Dusty and I. We were walking across the street and he hits the cab and says, you know, hey, I'm walking here, I'm walking here, I'm walking here, up yours, you. Up yours, you son of a bitch, you don't talk to me that way. Get out of here.

Then he turns around to me and I'm thinking, this is great. Let's stay in character. Don't worry about that. Actually, that ain't a bad way to pick up insurance, you know. That's all I was thinking.

Stay in character, don't cut. And then we got it, so. It's perfect.

To this day, Midnight Cowboy is the only X-rated film to win Best Picture. Perfection quickly became opportunity, though not necessarily the right one. I turned down Love Story because I was smart enough to see that I'd mess it up. Why would you mess it up?

Because I'd make it too complicated. If he was looking for complicated, Voigt found it in Deliverance. The 1972 classic is a brutal survival film.

We're going to make it, keep it straight. Deliverance earned a Best Picture nomination and further cemented Voigt as a heavyweight actor. You treat us like nobody else. Six years later, Voigt delivered another searing performance opposite Jane Fonda in Coming Home, this time as a Vietnam War veteran who's lost the use of his legs. Voigt prepared by spending nine weeks in an L.A. hospital with wounded vets and learning to live as a paraplegic. These guys embrace me.

These guys embrace me. Voigt won the Best Actor Oscar for Coming Home. Yet to this day, what he remembers most about that night isn't winning, but a brief moment backstage with Fred Astaire. I'm crazy about Fred Astaire. He's a magical talent. He said, let me step aside. I said, no, no, Mr. Astaire. I don't know why it touches me so much, but I think it's, you know, just because of the value of our work and the appreciation for the great greatness of this artist's work and all of the artists that preceded me. He doesn't dance like Astaire, but Voigt glides from genre to genre. Thrillers. May it please the court. Courtroom dramas.

Hey! Even comedies. Lately, though, it's not merely his acting that gets attention. It's his politics.

Voigt is more than a staunch conservative. He's a vocal Trump loyalist in largely liberal Hollywood. Roe v. Wade, in the grand scheme of things, is not that important. Critics of his latest film, Roe v. Wade, call it propaganda. The movie examines the circumstances that led to the Supreme Court decision legally to legalize abortion.

Voigt plays Chief Justice Warren Burger. All those in favor of re-arguing. I'm a conservative, as you know. Therefore... You're a conservative? Yeah.

Is that right? And I'm not so happy with government involvement in anything. I'm very concerned about our country.

I'm very concerned about this attack on free speech. I don't like it that we can't sit down and talk about everything. We're all unique. There's no one that's different or better or whatever it is.

We all are unique. Next another potentially sensitive subject, his daughter, actress and director, Angelina Jolie. They've had a turbulent relationship for years. Voigt has only good things to say about her. You have to be proud that your daughter followed in your footsteps and is so good at this. Not just an actor. Yeah, she's really remarkable. She's got her own thing and she's got her own way of dealing with things.

She's very clear. And as a director too, right? Yeah, and as a director. As you're an actor, do you think you could handle being directed by your daughter? She would be tough.

Yeah. But yes, of course, I would love to work with her. Look, John Voigt is complicated. He's a Hollywood outsider who's also an insider. After you talk to him, you don't leave thinking about his politics or his famous daughter. You end up thinking about a man who truly loves the craft of acting and his fellow actors. I do know I care about this industry and I do know that I still feel the same way when I get a part. That I don't know what I'm going to do with it, but I'm excited to go on this journey and try to figure it out and all of that, you know? You don't seem like a guy who's thinking about retiring. No, I won't retire. You can shoot me as a dying person in bed, you know, you can always do something.

If I can move one eye, I can wink. The conviction of Derek Chauvin this past week for the murder of George Floyd has particular meaning for New York Times columnist Charles Blow. The Reverend Jesse Jackson has called the lynching of Emmett Till the big bang of the civil rights movement. Till was a 14-year-old Chicago boy who in the summer of 1955 was kidnapped from his great uncle's house in Money, Mississippi in the middle of the night. He was brutally beaten, forced to strip naked, shot through the face and then tied with barbed wire to the fan of a cotton gin and thrown into the Tallahatchie River. Tens of thousands of people filed past his casket to see what white terrorists had done to the child's body. The image of his disfigured face was seared into the public consciousness.

When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery City bus just a few months later, she said that she thought of Emmett Till. The evidence against the men who murdered Till was overwhelming, but the trial for that killing was a mockery. As Jet Magazine reported at the time, the trial had taken on the appearances of a Sunday school picnic. The defendants were escorted to court every day by the county sheriff who greeted the black press by saying good morning with a racial slur. The defendants' wives and children were allowed to sit with them during testimony.

Spectators drank sodas and beer in the courtroom. After just four hours of jury deliberation, Till's killers were found not guilty. Then, as Jet described, as the white spectators rose to leave, they turned a damning glance towards the handful of Negroes who sat at their press table. It was their way of letting it be known that no white man in the state had been punished for the murder of a Negro in more than 65 years. I couldn't help but think of Till's trial while watching the murder trial of Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd. You could reasonably argue that Floyd was lynched by Chauvin as he kneeled on his neck pressing the life out of him.

You could call Floyd's murder the big bang of 2020's racial reckoning. Like Till, the killing sparked massive outrage. Like Till, the image of the murder became cultural iconography. Like Till's case, the evidence was overwhelming, but the trials were completely different. Chauvin was found guilty on all counts and led out of court in handcuffs. In Mississippi, white supremacy had sneered, suggesting that it had been 65 years since a white man had been convicted of killing a black one in the state.

Over 65 years later, in Minnesota, Chauvin became the first white officer in the history of that state to be convicted of killing a black person. This time, in this moment, if only for this moment, history would not be repeated. Justice would not be mocked. With big bangs, universes of possibilities are born.

With George Floyd's murder, justice was among them. We leave you this Sunday morning at the Fort Pierre National Grassland in central South Dakota, where it's courtship season for greater prairie chickens. Thank you for listening.

Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. This is The Takeout with Major Garrett. This week, Stephen Law, ally of Mitch McConnell and one of Washington's biggest midterm money men. List for me the two Senate races where you think Republicans have the best chance of taking a Democratic seat away. Nevada, New Hampshire. Not Georgia. Georgia is right up there, but New Hampshire is a surprise. In New Hampshire, people really just kind of don't like Maggie Hassan. For more from this week's conversation, follow The Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 01:39:41 / 2023-01-29 01:59:07 / 19

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