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Metcalf's Use of Media for His Constituents, 1953-1966

Page history last edited by Jeff Malcomson 8 years, 6 months ago

Glenn W. Ferguson (right), Director of VISTA (a branch of the Office of Economic Opportunity), appears as a guest with Senator Lee Metcalf (left) on set in the Senate Recording Studio, during the filming of a June 1966 film segment for one of Metcalf’s weekly “Washington Report” shows. Ferguson was discussing the role of Montanans in the VISTA program, June 21, 1966.  Lot 31 B17/8.13




By Matthew M. Peek

Montana Historical Society Metcalf CLIR Project Photograph Archivist

July 2014


Metcalf's Use of Media for His Constituents


Senator Lee Metcalf began making weekly radio programs of 4 ½ minutes when he first came to Congress as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1953:


Since 1953, while Congress has been in session, I have made available on a weekly basis, taped public service reports to Montana radio stations. Last year, 27 radio and 8 TV stations carried the report. These reports contain information of interest and importance to Montanans. Congress will reconvene on 10 January.


My first report will be recorded and mailed about a week later. I believe from past experiences that your audience will find these 4 ½ minute programs informative and timely [1].


Montana was one of three states (later two) in the western United States in the 1950s that had no Washington, D.C., correspondent. Metcalf learned from his fellow Democratic congressmen, Senators James E. Murray and Mike Mansfield, about the process for creating media messages to send back to Montana. Murray had been recording radio messages for a number of years, and Mansfield did the occasional report as well. Some of this had to do with the fact that the powerful Anaconda Copper Company owned all the daily newspapers in every major Montana city until 1959—except Great Falls. By producing radio and TV reports, Montana’s Democratic delegation was skirting the grasp of “the Company”, and sharing news directly with their constituents. The Anaconda Copper Company sold its newspapers to the Midwestern news organization Lee Enterprises.


Mostly, the three Montana U.S. congressmen—who were called the “3-Ms” until 1960—produced in the U.S. Senate Recording Studio congressional session radio reports at the start and end of session. Usually, the reports had a runtime between fifteen and thirty minutes. As the senior Montana congressman, Murray led all of these efforts. In 1956—the start of the 84th U.S. Congress’ second session—the Montana congressional delegation began shooting television session reports [2]. Murray, Mansfield, and Metcalf kept copies of the film reels containing the reports. All three men filmed reports in 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1959—though more regular reports began in 1957. A report in the Montana delegation’s newsletter reports the filming of their 1958 session report:


REPORT TO MONTANA: Another Congressional report by the Montana delegation is    on its way home. Senators Murray and Mansfield, Congressmen Metcalf and Anderson met in the radio-TV studio in the Capitol one morning last week to make the 'simulcast’—a 15-minute program simultaneously filmed for television and taped for broadcast. As with previous early-session programs, this round-table discussion covers legislation and appropriations of importance to Montanans. The program was sent to every radio and TV station in the State [3].


The reason 1957 was the year they began more frequently creating televised reports is due to a number of factors. In 1953, Montana received its first commercial television station: KXLF-TV of Butte, Montana. KGVO-TV of Missoula began broadcasting in 1954. Because of Montana’s rural nature, television translators had to be used to boost the signal in Montana’s remote rural and mountainous regions. Translators are low-power “station[s] in the broadcast service operated for the purpose of retransmitting the programs and signals of a television broadcast station, without significantly altering any characteristic of the original signal other than its frequency and amplitude, for the purpose of providing television reception to the general public” [4]. In sparsely populated rural and mountainous areas, particularly in the West, translators (also called broadcast relay stations) deliver a television signal beyond the original signal’s geographic range. Translators found heavy resistance from the Federal Communications Commission, with whom all three of Montana’s Democratic congressmen petitioned repeatedly to authorize the use of translators. In the 1950s, radio programs reached a much wider audience in Montana than television, and Montana’s congressmen continued “simulcast” recording television and radio reports in order to reach the maximum number of constituents. However, by 1957, Montana had several television stations in the major cities, making televised reports more feasible.


Another reason 1957 was the year the Montana delegation starting filming reports was that from 1955 to 1957, Montana’s congressional delegation—two U.S. Senators and two U.S. Representatives—was composed of three Democrats and one Republican—Orvin Fjare of Montana’s Eastern District (District Two). In 1956, Montana’s Eastern U.S. House seat was won by a Democrat, LeRoy Anderson. Anderson took office in 1957, which was when the first known joint Montana congressional session television report was shot, including the all-Democratic delegation. Senator James E. Murray retired from the U.S. Senate in 1960; in the summer of 1960, Murray “gave his films and tapes of Montana delegation simulcasts to MSU’s Radio and Television studios” [5].


Lee Metcalf shot various television programs and campaign pieces from 1957 to 1960. On Saturday, March 31, 1957, for example, Metcalf and Andrew J. Biemiller, Director of the AFL-CIO Legislative Department, appeared on the ABC television program As We See It on the program entitled “Federal Aid Can’t Wait,” discussing the need for a federal aid to education legislation [6]. Metcalf relied on network and local television networks to shoot television programs on various issues, not having the office funds or staff yet which he needed in order to create his own regular television series. On May 17, 1958, Rep. Metcalf film a short television program intended as a campaign film for his 1958 House re-election campaign. However, he discussed various pieces of legislation in Congress and those affecting Montanans—one his early attempts at what would become in the 1960s his “Washington Report” TV program [7]. This is the first documented time that Lee Metcalf created his own television programs (commercials or constituent reports) for Montanans.


Rep. Lee Metcalf began in 1960 shooting a series of low-budget 60-second campaign films in the U.S. House of Representatives Recording Studio, which aired on Montana television stations between September and the election in November 1960. In November 1960, Lee Metcalf won Murray’s Senate seat over Republican challenger and former U.S. Representative Orvin Fjare. In January 1961, the newly-minted Senator Lee Metcalf sat down in the Senate Recording Studio with the new Senate Majority Leader, Mike Mansfield, to record the two’s first congressional session report on their own, without Senator Murray. The report detailed the legislation and issues facing the 87th U.S. Congress in its first session.


Beginning in 1953, Lee Metcalf had been writing a series of weekly newsletters during congressional sessions, titled “Lee Metcalf and his Report from Washington”, which were mailed to subscribing Montanans. In 1955, Senator James Murray began with Montana’s other two Democratic congressmen—Mansfield and Metcalf—a roughly weekly newsletter called “A Montanan’s Washington Notebook” (AMWN), which covered activities in the U.S. Congress which were of interest or had an impact on Montana and Montanans. The newsletters served the same purpose as radio reports: to provide coverage of Washington, D.C., political news in lieu of a state correspondent. Additionally, the newsletter gave the Montana congressmen a chance to let their subscribing constituents know what they were doing in Congress for Montana. Newspapers would occasionally use these AMWN reports as the basis for stories, saying that the Montana delegation had done something “in a report from Washington”.


Murray’s office managed the publication of the AMWN newsletter, with contributions by Mansfield and Metcalf’s office staff in the writing, publication, and photograph selection for the issues. The newsletters were published in the format of a “zine” (an abbreviation for fanzine or magazine), which is a small circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images usually reproduced via photocopier. It has a general format, but no set columns, no consistently-titled regular features, and is not numbered or printed consistently (as are most self-published newsletters). Because of Murray’s anger with Metcalf and Anderson over the 1960 election, Mike Mansfield’s office took over publication of the AMWN newsletter. Senator Lee Metcalf took responsibility for the publication of the AMWN newsletter starting in January 1961. Until Metcalf’s death in January 1978, he was producing two newsletters published at least bi-weekly during congressional sessions (Lee Metcalf’s Report from Washington and A Montanan’s Washington Report).


Senator Metcalf also continued recording his radio reports to his Montana constituents from 1961 to 1966. Despite delving into creating TV reports with Mansfield and Murray in the 1950s, Metcalf continued shooting radio messages to Montanans in 1961, after he knew of the results of the 1960 U.S. Senate election:


Early next month I plan to resume the weekly reports to the people of Montana which I have made available to radio stations in the First Congressional District for the past eight years. As in the past, this series will consist of talks on the issues before Congress as I see them. The taped programs will run about 4 ½ minutes and will be exclusive to you in your area [8].


By 1963, Metcalf’s early experience with televised congressional reports initially had him recording at least two of what he called his “Report from Washington” television program. He believed in communicating with his constituents in ways that would inform and empower them. Towards that end, he used any media available to communicate to Montanans. The earliest documented of these programs was shot in the U.S. Senate Recording Studio on December 2, 1963, for a “Report from Washington” film on issues related to American railroads. The exact topic is not known for this film. However, photographs of the filming session in the Senate studio show Metcalf talking with Jesse Clark, President of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, and Norman Paige, who served as the interview moderator. From a letter in Metcalf’s papers, the “panel program” appeals to have been organized in part by the Railway Labor Executives Association [9]. Apparently, Metcalf began shooting regular weekly to bi-weekly “Report from Washington” or "Washington Report" segments—typically lasting between four and five minutes—starting in 1964 (though he may have started this practice in 1963).


One of the reasons for this uncertainty is due to the history of the Democratic Party in 1963 and 1964. Metcalf was friends with President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963 seems to have sidelined both Metcalf’s newsletter reports and his radio messages. It may have also limited the number of any regular television reports he would make in 1963. From February to June 19, 1964, Metcalf was the Acting President Pro Tempore, presiding over the major debates and votes of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Also in 1964, two bills he had long fought for—the 1964 Wilderness Act and the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964—were being debated and voted upon in the U.S. Senate. Metcalf seems to have devoted himself to these pieces of legislation, which were to become his hallmarks as a U.S. Senator. He shot more radio reports from 1963 to 1964 than he did television reports, according to the number of radio scripts in his papers [10]. Still, a can of master film that was in Metcalf’s office—and that the Montana Historical Society now possesses—is titled “programs from January 1, 1964, to December 31, 1964”, and are the original versions of his “Report from Washington” television programs. Still, the question remains: from where did Metcalf get the idea of creating a regular television report to constituents in the early years of television?


In the U.S. Senate, Senator Everett M. Dirksen (R-IL), began filming in 1951 a program called Your Senator Reports, which appears to be one of the earliest attempts by a U.S. congressman to create a weekly television report for constituents in the legislator’s home state. Such reports were not feasible for Montana in the 1950s [11]. Several other U.S. Senators and Representatives dabbled in producing weekly television reports. Some of the earliest that can be identified are Senator Jacob K. Javits (R-NY) (serving in the Senate starting in 1957); Senator John Sherman Cooper (R-KY) (served five non-consecutive terms beginning in 1946); and Senator James O. Eastland (D-MS) (started in the Senate in 1941, then from 1943 to 1978). Javits actually shot a program in the U.S. Senate Recording Studio called Report to the People, that aired throughout New York State [12].


Between 1959 and 1964, the popularity of television had spiked, made even more popular by the 1960 presidential debates and President Kennedy’s televised funeral procession in Washington, D.C. In this five-year time period, a large number of U.S. Senators began filming reports or programs for their constituents in the U.S. Senate Recording Studio. These include Senators Joseph S. Clark (D-PA), John Sherman Cooper (R-KY), Wayne Morse (D-OR), Karl Mundt (R-SD), Harrison A. Williams, Jr. (D-NJ), Clairborne Pell (D-RI), John J. Williams (R-DE), and Hubert H. Humphrey (D-MN). In particular, Humphrey shot a weekly “Washington Report” television program in 1963, prior to his participation in the Civil Rights Act debate and ascendency to the Vice-Presidency in 1964. Mundt’s weekly program Your Washington and You On The Air—a TV adaptation of the Mundt’s constituent newsletters by the title Your Washington and You—featured Mundt’s answers to prearranged questions, asked by the superintendent of the Senate Recording Studio in the guise of a “Washington Correspondent” [13].


Ironically, despite the popularity of television in the 1960s, many U.S. congressmen who used the Senate Recording Studio to shoot regular or one-off television programs were criticized by the press and the public. The Senate Recording Studio was a non-union operation, which got union-supporting congressmen such as Senator Hubert H. Humphrey in trouble with the press (Humphrey later shot his television programs in for-profit, union film studios in Washington, D.C.) [14]. Several senators used the studio for their own personal films, such as Senator Allen Ellender (D-LA), and press viewed the studio as a playground for congressmen at the taxpayers’ expense.


The studio was operated in 1960 by Robert J. Coar and had 11 employees. In 1966, the studio was run by Charlie Jones [16]. The studio provided film services to U.S. Senators at one-fifth the cost of commercial studios, with the added film production costs not paid for by the senator taken out of federal, tax-payer funds. The costs to operate the studio were seen as wasteful and as a toy of sorts of the federal politicians.


Americans saw television primarily as a medium for entertainment and current news reporting: receiving short, planned recorded reports from congressmen did not appear to be seen as worthwhile by the public. Even Senator Metcalf found himself criticized in 1966 for taking the time and effort to shoot a television program rather than spending the time on the needs of Montanans. Although there were undoubtedly political reasons for U.S. congressman to record televised reports, federal politicians were attempting to use a new medium for communication to reach directly their constituents and interested parties in a manner lacking by static radio reports.


It was in this time period—between 1959 and 1964—that Senator Lee Metcalf, who knew and worked closely with a number of the Democratic Senators who shot weekly or regular television reports, began mentioning in letters about starting to film weekly television programs. The Senate Recording Studio offered two standard film recording times for anything over 60 seconds: 4 ½ minutes and 13 ½ minutes (the lengths seems to have to do with the film reels they had, equipment, and studio use scheduling for other U.S. Senators). Because of the limited number of hours in a day each week, there were a limited number of U.S. Senators who could find time to schedule weekly or bi-weekly TV programs. Metcalf appears to have been one of between 10 and 15 senators to have tried filming weekly TV reports from 1963-1967. It was discovered during the processing of the Lee Metcalf Film Collection that fellow Rep. James F. Battin (R-MT) shot constituent film reports to Montanans in his eastern Montana district in the mid-1960s, though the title of Battin's television program is unknown.


From January 1965 to December 1966, Senator Metcalf shot over 78 weekly television programs (except for stretches during his 1966 re-election campaign). In early 1965, he titled the programs “Report from Washington”. For some unknown reason, between February 1965 and January 1966 he changed the name of the program to “Washington Report”, though intermittently continuing to utilize the "Report from Washington" title for his 1965 films. One possibility for the change is that every U.S. congressman creating constituent newsletters or reports used some variant of the “Washington Report” or “Your Senator Reports” headline for their programming, such as Karl Mundt of South Dakota. Metcalf would schedule his programs to air between Friday and the next Tuesday following the recording of his television programs. The programs aired on eight Montana television networks and one North Dakota network: KFBB-TV (Great Falls), KRTV-TV (Great Falls), KXGN-TV (Glendive), KGVO-TV (Missoula), KXLF-TV (Butte), KULR-TV (Billings), KOOK-TV (Billings), KBLL-TV (Helena), and KUMV-TV (Williston, ND) [17].


From January 1965 to July 1965, Metcalf’s 1964-1965 Montana congressional intern Ron Richards was responsible for managing the production of Metcalf’s television programs. Richards had been involved in radio production while a graduate student at the University of Montana-Missoula in the early 1960s. Metcalf utilized young professionals he chose as congressional interns to run various aspects of his office. In the case of those with media and journalism experience, Metcalf’s office managers assigned them to help write and edit Metcalf’s newsletters, as well as to write scripts for Metcalf’s radio and television programs. On July 13, 1965, Richards wrote a two-page memo to Senator Metcalf’s executive secretary and administrative assistant regarding the radio and television programs’ production processes and details. He did this to document Metcalf’s regular filming and broadcast practices for the next Montana congressional intern. In August 1965, Richards became the new executive secretary of the Montana Democratic State Central Committee. Metcalf’s 1965-1966 congressional intern was Gene (Eugene) Marianetti, a Great Falls, Montana newsman.


Gene Marianetti was news director for radio station KMNO in Great Falls, Montana, in the early 1960s. He also served as Vice-President of the Montana Associated Press Stations in 1962, and president of the Great Falls Press Club in 1963. In 1965, 29-year old Marianetti decided to apply for Senator Metcalf’s 1965-1966 Montana congressional internship; the application deadline was July 1, 1965. Due to the extreme competition for the internship, Marianetti did not believe he would receive the position. He had packed up his wife and three children for a trip at the same time Metcalf’s office staff was trying to reach him. Gene had won the internship, and a member of Metcalf’s staff left a message with Gene’s mother to call back as soon as possible to accept the position. Gene called his mother while out of town and was told about the internship opportunity; the family returned to Great Falls to plan for the upcoming move to Washington, D.C., in less than two months. Marianetti was to start the internship the first week of September 1965. After struggling to sell the family ‘s Great Falls home and locate a place to live in Washington, Gene started working for Metcalf at the start of September 1965 [18].


With his first job to get oriented with the staff, Gene was introduced to Metcalf’s staff and met all of Metcalf’s chief administrative people (including Vic Reinemer, Brit Englund, and Peggy McLaughlin). Gene worked under Brit Englund, Metcalf’s long-time administrative assistant, and Brit assigned Gene a desk behind Englund’s own (which was adjacent Metcalf’s personal office). Gene’s job for his first few months was to write and contribute to Metcalf’s A Montanan’s Washington Notebook newsletter, in coordination with Senator Mansfield’s office staff that assisted in the newsletter’s creation and publication [19].


Starting sometime between the end of September and the end of October 1965, Marianetti was assigned to write scripts for Metcalf’s weekly television program “Report from Washington” (also “Washington Report”). With his background in radio and TV news production, Gene began taking over the production and development of Metcalf’s television program. Gene wrote all the show scripts and planned the shows—including interview candidates, film inserts, and other parts of the recording process for the programs. Once the subject of film programs were selected, Marianetti would seek out film clips to use in Metcalf’s programs:


We would be interested in obtaining a couple hundred feet of wildlife, conservation and recreation scenes. I believe some good shots of duck hunters and fishermen would also help. As an example, we have several good film clips of a flock of ducks landing on the water but we do not have the sound of the ducks, flapping of wings and etc. We would prefer sound film if you have it. The fishing footage should be native to Montana such as a mountain stream with timber stands in the picture [20].


Marianetti wrote 90% of the TV and radio shows’ script content, with edits and additions provided by Metcalf, Englund, and several other Metcalf staffers. Gene also read the “Open and Close” for the recordings of Metcalf’s “Washington Report” TV program, from the fall of 1965 to the end of 1966, which was formatted as follows:


Open: From the nation’s capital . . . Senator Lee Metcalf and his WASHINGTON REPORT


Close: WASHINGTON REPORT . . . with Senator Lee Metcalf . . . is a weekly television service of this station [21].


Gene’s job was to create a list of potential interview subjects for Metcalf’s television programs. He picked people that were in the news, were relevant to the nation and Montana, or would be an interesting guest. Marianetti recalls that they "looked for timely people to interview about the issues of the day" [22]. For example, Senator Metcalf interviewed Jack Hood Vaughn, the second director of the Peace Corps, on March 2, 1966, the day prior to Vaughn being confirmed by the U.S. Congress as the new Peace Corps director. Vaughn had come to the nation’s capital for the confirmation hearing, and Metcalf was able to work out a shooting date with Vaughn.


Sometimes, potential interviewees had to re-schedule their appearances on Metcalf’s TV program. According to Senator Metcalf’s April 1965 office schedule, Henry H. Fowler, United States Secretary of the Treasury under President Lyndon B. Johnson, was tentatively booked to record a “Report from Washington” program on Thursday, April 8, 1965, to discuss the excise tax and the state of the Treasury Department. Fowler did not record the interview then; rather, the TV program was recorded two weeks later on Wednesday, April 21, 1965 [23]. Gene worked with Peggy DeMichele and Teddy Roe of Senator Mike Mansfield’s office, specifically on coordinating the shooting of the radio and television programs—mainly when the programs would involve Mansfield.


Metcalf shot all of his television programs in the U.S. Senate Recording Studio. Marianetti recalls them regularly shooting TV programs in the studio once a month. However, from the dates on the films, the shooting schedule was conducted much more frequently than once a month. Gene would set a television or radio program recording time with the Senate Recording Studio. According to Metcalf’s schedules, Metcalf’s “Washington Report” program was shot on 4 P.M. on Mondays usually (occasionally as late as Tuesdays by 4 P.M.), and radio programs were shot from 1:45 P.M. to 2 P.M. on Wednesdays. For the television programs, Gene, Senator Metcalf, and anyone else going to the studio met in Metcalf’s office, where they reviewed the program on Monday afternoon before 4 P.M. After the program review was over, they all walked down together to the studio and shot the television program [24].


Ron Richards 1965 memo provides unique insight into the full operation of a U.S. Senator’s shooting of a regularly-scheduled television program. Excerpts from this memo are included in the following:


TV: Ordinarily, the TV session is scheduled for 4:00P[M] Mondays in the Recording Studio. However, we can go as late as 1 or 2 on Tuesdays and still receive the films in time for airmailing (Carol does this) on Wednesdays. Each program should be as close to 4:30 as possible. Each show has a short off-camera open and close. The format is attached. If film inserts, whether from agency film or visuals made in the office, are to be used Max Esper (chief cameraman) should be consulted in advance. This is particularly true if visuals are to be filmed in the studio separate from the program. In the photo lab, Joe Johenning is an excellent film editor, and is familiar with putting inserts within the program.


Lee’s best formats seem to be seated, behind the desk, or sitting on the edge of same, for single-person appearances. For interviews, etc., the ‘fireplace’ set is better. Procedure for a typical week usually follows this pattern: Friday—complete the draft for the program, get Lee’s approval. Check with studio for any change you may wish to make in recording appointment. Check with Max or Joe on any inserts you may wish to use. Send approved draft to service department to be placed on teleprompter (Mrs. Manatos in charge here). Monday—teleprompter will be ready. She usually will call when finished. Pickup or send page for it. Head for studio a little in advance of appointment so teleprompter can be set up, etc. I usually operate teleprompter and read the open and close. Both are simple tasks, so don’t worry about them.


Lee often likes to run through the teleprompter once before filming and it’s a good chance to get a time on the script. Wednesday—films should be ready. Studio will call. One film will be unboxed and should be viewed, just to be sure everything is the way you want it. Bring back seven boxes of film, write the title of the program on the side, give them to Carol. The large steel-gray cans of film in Brit’s office are a chronological record of each show. It should be kept up to date. Six to seven shows can be placed on a reel. Carol is responsible for mailing out and checking in all films and is custodian of all scripts. After each show, the original draft should be given to Carol, who will type it with copies for Dick Warden, Dick Conlon [25].


Senator Metcalf had eight to nine months to put together his U.S. Senate re-election campaign in 1966. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) put a lot of money into Metcalf’s campaign, giving him assistance in all aspects of the campaign. Gene Marianetti’s job was to put together campaign films—campaign ads and short spots—using silent film segments shot by Philip “Phil” McMartin of the NRECA. McMartin worked for the NRECA to produce educational and informational films for in-house use by member cooperative associations. He evidently served as the primary photographer and film producer for NRECA. The NRECA offered Senator Lee Metcalf to have McMartin follow Metcalf around, shooting silent film segments which could be utilized for Metcalf’s campaign films. NRECA was extremely interested in helping Metcalf, due primarily to Lee’s vital role in promoting and supporting rural electrical cooperatives. The NRECA’s offer saved Metcalf’s campaign and office thousands of dollars, and allowed Gene Marianetti to be able to put together a number of different campaign films from a large selection of footage [26].


Phil McMartin and Lee Metcalf didn’t get along particularly well. Phil followed Lee Metcalf wherever Lee went, shooting the raw footage from which the senator and his staff could select and put together film commercials and segments. Metcalf did not like being followed around closely and having a camera record all of his movements—which was likely the reason for the animosity. McMartin took a large amount of silent film footage in 1966. The filming was done related to specific subjects while Metcalf was touring specific areas: education, Native American issues, War on Poverty, and others. If Metcalf was visiting with ranchers in a rural area, McMartin shot him talking with the ranchers. If Metcalf visited a school or hospital constructed or improved due to funding obtained by Metcalf in the U.S. Senate, McMartin shot footage of the senator talking with students, officials, or nurses [27].


Gene Marianetti and Phil McMartin started working closely together in 1966 on Metcalf’s campaign film production. Gene and Phil would go down to the studio [likely the Senate Recording Studio] to look at the raw footage that McMartin shot of Metcalf. The two would separate the footage between what they would use in Metcalf’s campaign films and what they would not. From the footage they chose to keep, the two created silent film clips on film reels that Marianetti and Metcalf’s office could use repeatedly for future campaign commercials [28]. Metcalf waited to have his television campaign launched at the end of his 1966 re-election campaign: “Today the television campaign and the spot announcements on the radio are the important things. We are now setting up for the television programs for the end of the campaign and making contracts for early morning radio and announcements around news casts on broadcasts” [29]. Metcalf used his friend Thomas L. Judge of Helena’s Judge Advertising firm and Joe Renders of Great Falls to place his campaign commercials. Judge placed TV programs with KFBB-TV (Great Falls), KGVO-TV (Missoula), KXLF-TV (Butte), KULR-TV (Billings), and KOOK-TV (Billings).


Senator Metcalf’s son, Jerry Metcalf, took a leave from his advertising job at a prominent New York City advertising company and moved to Washington, D.C., in 1966. Jerry made the move in order to assist his father with Lee’ re-election campaign promotional materials. Lee Metcalf liked consulting his son for advice on campaign materials and advertisements. Jerry’s firm handled printing several campaign handouts and mailers for Lee Metcalf’s 1966 and 1972 Senate re-election campaigns. Jerry brought an expertise, touch of professionalism, and outside eye to assist Senator Metcalf’s film production team of Gene Marianetti and Phil McMartin. Jerry Metcalf reviewed television program and campaign commercial scripts, offering changes to dialogue and scenes to utilize—as this letter on July 29, 1966, from Senator Metcalf to Jerry illustrates:


Dear Jerry: Here are some suggested spots Gene [Marianetti] has written. Let me know if the concept is as we discussed. Some of our TV footage will run alongside. I hope you will look them over and give me your opinion of the language, suggested changes to make them more forceful—or let me know if, in your opinion, they are doing the job we want [30].


Senator Metcalf’s campaign film strategy was to have his campaign commercials air on Montana television stations between mid-October and November 8, 1966. The commercials were run primarily in the last week of the 1966 national election in November, and Metcalf had spent a significant amount on running the spots in the state. Metcalf even had Senator Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy agree to shoot a five-minute campaign film for Metcalf. Ted Kennedy’s Senate office was located across the hallway from Senator Metcalf’s office in Room 427 of the Old Russell Senate Office Building. The two men ran into each other all of the time, and they talked regularly in the hallway and on the elevator. Kennedy had agreed to campaign for Metcalf and Rep. Arnold Olsen in five Montana cities on September 26 and 27, 1966—Butte, Anaconda, Helena, Billings, and Miles City [31]. However, Kennedy canceled the campaign tour upon the death of a Kennedy relative in a plane crash in Idaho. In place of a visit, Metcalf asked Kennedy if he would agree to shoot a shot film in support of Metcalf’s Senate re-election. Metcalf had provided some sort of assistance to Kennedy early (according to Metcalf’s former television program script writer and produce Gene Marianetti), and Kennedy shot the film as means of paying Metcalf back for his help. They shot the film sometime between September and October 31, 1966 [32]. Metcalf’s campaign strategy worked, as Metcalf won re-election over Montana’s Republican governor Tim Babcock in 1966.


Return to Senator Lee Metcalf (1911-1978) 




1. Letter, Lee Metcalf to Mike Donavan (Manager, KANA, Anaconda, MT), December 15, 1965. MC 172 Lee Metcalf Papers, Box 421, Folder 1. Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives.


2. There is some indication by Metcalf and Mansfield in letters in MC 172 Metcalf Papers that the Montana Democratic congressional delegation may have begun shooting TV reports between 1953 and 1955—but there is no documented proof of this in Metcalf’s records.


3. “Montana Congressional delegation’s 1958 session report.” A Montanan’s Washington Notebook, January 30, 1958.


4. FCC Television Broadcast Translator Station Definition, 47 C.F.R. § 74.701(a) (1992).


5. A Montanan’s Washington Notebook, September 8, 1960.


6. Transcript for “Federal Aid Can’t Wait,” As We See It television program, American Broadcasting Company, Saturday, March 31, 1957 (Harry W. Flannery, Moderator). Lee Metcalf Papers, MC 172, Box 661, Folder 2. Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives.


7. Metcalf, Lee. Script for television program, May 17, 1958. Lee Metcalf Papers, MC 172, Box 661, Folder 2. Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives.


8. Letter, Lee Metcalf to ‘Fellow Montanans’, December 8, 1960. Lee Metcalf Papers, MC 172, Box 421, Folder 2. Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives.


9. Letter, Vic Reinemer (Executive Secretary to Lee Metcalf) to Milt Plumb, Railway Labor Executives Association, December 3, 1963. Lee Metcalf Papers, MC 172, Box 421, Folder 1. Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives.


10. Lee Metcalf Papers, MC 172, Boxes 558-560. Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives.


11. "List of Collection Series," Everett M. Dirksen Papers. The Dirksen Congressional Center. Accessed on June 25, 2014, at http://www.dirksencenter.org/print_collections_dirksen.htm.


12. "Series Description: Series 14—Audio and Video. Subseries 2—Video. 1956­1984,"  Senator Jacob K. Javits Collection, Manuscript Collection 285, Stony Brook University Libraries Special Collections and University Archives. Accessed on June 25, 2014, at http://www.stonybrook.edu/libspecial/collections/manuscripts/javits/seriesdescriptions.shtml.


13. Donald A. Ritchie, Reporting from Washington: The History of the Washington Press Corps. Oxford UP, 2005: pp. 190.


14. Fulton Lewis, Jr., “Labor Double Cross,” Montana Standard (Butte, Montana), Friday, February 5, 1960, pp. 4.


15. “Jack Anderson on Washington Merry-Go-Round: Nixon Ready with Deadlock Strategy,” The Times-Standard (Eureka, California), Monday, October 28, 1966, pp. 4.


16. Don Mclean, “Interviews,” Evening Times (Cumberland, Maryland), Monday, August 29, 1966, pp. 8.


17. A Montanan’s Washington Notebook, April 15, 1966.


18. Notes from Telephone Interview on June 6, 2014, of Eugene Marianetti of Locust Grove, Virginia, by Matthew Peek, MHS CLIR Metcalf Project Photograph Archivist.


19. Ibid.


20. Letter, Gene Marianetti to Charles H. Callison, Assistant to the President, National Audobon Society, August 23, 1966. Lee Metcalf Papers, MC 172, Box 646, Folder 3, Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives.


21. “Opening and Closing of “Washington Report” (1965-1966), Lee Metcalf Papers, MC 172, Box 421, Folder 1, Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives.


22. Notes from Marianetti Telephone Interview.


23. Senator Lee Metcalf Weekly Schedule, April 5-10, 1965. Lee Metcalf Papers, MC 172, Box 426, Folder 3, Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives.


24. Notes from Marianetti Telephone Interview; “Lee’s Schedule: Monday, April 5, 1965-Saturday, April 10, 1965”, Lee Metcalf Papers, MC 172, Box 426, Folder 3, Montana Historical Society Research Center Archives; Lee Metcalf’s 1966 pocket schedule book, Lee Metcalf Papers, MC 172, Box 426, Folder 3, Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives.


25. Memo, [Ron] Richards [Lee Metcalf’s 1964-1965 Montana intern] to Vic Reinemer, Brit Englund, and Bob [?]: Radio and television details [U.S. Senate Recording Studio], July 13, 1965. Lee Metcalf Paper, MC 172, Box 421, Folder 1, Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives.


26. Notes from Marianetti Telephone Interview.


27. Ibid.


28. Ibid.


29. Letter, Lee Metcalf to Tim Meloy, May 14, 1966. Lee Metcalf Papers, MC 172, Box 646, Folder 4. Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives.


30. Letter, Lee Metcalf to Jerry Metcalf, July 29, 1966. Lee Metcalf Papers, MC 172, Box 645, Folder 2. Montana Historical Society Research Center. Archives.


31. “Will Speak Here Monday: Sen. Ted Kennedy Plans Visit to Five Cities,” Helena Independent Record (Helena, Montana), Wednesday, September 21, 1966, pp. 12.


32. “Demos Moving Big Guns Into State for Campaign,” Helena Independent Record (Helena, Montana), Sunday, September 25, 1966; Notes from Marianetti Telephone Interview.


 Montana Historical Society Research Center

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