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FILM GUIDE ARCHIVE FEATURE DOCUMENTARY

TOOTS

TFF 2006
FILM GUIDE ARCHIVE TOOTS [TFF 2006]

Toots transports us back to a New York City most of us only know from black-and-white photographs-a place where the saloonkeeper was king and regular folks hobnobbed with actors and sports stars. Toots Shor is the saloonkeeper in question, and from 1940 to 1959 his eponymous midtown Manhattan bar was the place to be seen. Decades later, his granddaughter Kristi Jacobson takes us on tour of her famous grandfather's world through interviews with family, friends, patrons (including Walter Cronkite), and some choice archival footage. Born in turn-of-the-century Philadelphia, Shor made his way to New York in 1930, and started out as a bouncer at various speakeasies. Some years after the repeal of Prohibition, he made good on his connections and opened his own place. Shor's jocularity and innate sense of populism turned his saloon into a phenomenon, and on any given night the average working stiff might find himself drinking next to Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, mobster Frank Costello, ballplayer Joe DiMaggio, or singer Frank Sinatra, among many others. But Shor was as bad with business as he was good with people. After selling his bar for $1.5 million in 1959, he blew through his entire bankroll before reopening at a new location in 1961. Unfortunately, Shor could not keep up with the changing times, and the radical 1960's spelled the death of his establishment's popularity. Jacobson paints a personal portrait of her grandfather, using the glamorous energy of the time to bring him back to life as the celebrity he once was.

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Toots transports us back to a New York City most of us only know from black-and-white photographs-a place where the saloonkeeper was king and regular folks hobnobbed with actors and sports stars. Toots Shor is the saloonkeeper in question, and from 1940 to 1959 his eponymous midtown Manhattan bar was the place to be seen. Decades later, his granddaughter Kristi Jacobson takes us on tour of her famous grandfather's world through interviews with family, friends, patrons (including Walter Cronkite), and some choice archival footage. Born in turn-of-the-century Philadelphia, Shor made his way to New York in 1930, and started out as a bouncer at various speakeasies. Some years after the repeal of Prohibition, he made good on his connections and opened his own place. Shor's jocularity and innate sense of populism turned his saloon into a phenomenon, and on any given night the average working stiff might find himself drinking next to Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, mobster Frank Costello, ballplayer Joe DiMaggio, or singer Frank Sinatra, among many others. But Shor was as bad with business as he was good with people. After selling his bar for $1.5 million in 1959, he blew through his entire bankroll before reopening at a new location in 1961. Unfortunately, Shor could not keep up with the changing times, and the radical 1960's spelled the death of his establishment's popularity. Jacobson paints a personal portrait of her grandfather, using the glamorous energy of the time to bring him back to life as the celebrity he once was.

Film Information
Year: 2006
Length: 85 minutes
Language: English
Country: USA
Premiere: World
About the Director(s)

Kristi Jacobson shares her grandfather Toots' love of New York City, and is proud to live and work in the city he embodied. Since 1993, she has been involved in documentary filmmaking, and her debut feature documentary American Standoff premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and screened at the first annual Tribeca Film Festival before its broadcast on HBO's award-winning America Undercover series. Her body of work tackles a wide range of social concerns, including violence against women, workers' rights, HIV and AIDS, capital punishment, and homelessness, and has been featured on HBO, A&E, Lifetime, ABC, Sundance Channel, and PBS. Most recently, she served as director/producer on PBS's eight-part Emmy™-nominated series Colonial House. She graduated summa cum laude from Duke University.

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