Posts Tagged ‘Mort Sahl Interview’

1968 Mort Sahl Interview –

Friday, September 28th, 2018

1968 Interview with Elliot Mintz regarding being blackballed from Hollywood for speaking out about the JFK assassination.

Mort Sahl: Yes, I found myself completely unemployable. Completely.

Elliot Mintz: You couldn’t get a job anywhere.

Mort Sahl: Yeah, nowhere. You know-

Elliot Mintz: What would happen when your agents would call the nightclubs, TV stations, or-

Mort Sahl: What would happen is – America’s not Germany and it’s not well enough organized. So sometimes guys fall in the trap and a guy would call you and offer you a job on Friday and by the time I get back to him on Tuesday, he would’ve changed in his mind.

Elliot Mintz: What happened in the interim, Mort? Who would make the telephone calls to the booking agents?

Mort Sahl: Well, I did. Then after a while, I didn’t.

Elliot Mintz: No, I mean, who spoke with the booking agents and the people who could give you employment and say, “Don’t touch Sahl?”

Mort Sahl: Oh, you mean from the other end?

Elliot Mintz: Yeah.

Mort Sahl: Well, several people. A vice president of a network here in this city, and there are only three, said to my agent, “If I try to use Mort,” he said, “whom I respect, I’ll lose my job.” That’s a man with seniority I might add at the network.

Vice president of a leading motion picture and television studio here said, “Don’t ever mention his name in this office.” That offended. That offended by it.

Elliot Mintz: Were they functioning independently, Mort, because of their own hang-ups or with somebody … like who threatened the vice president of the network?

Mort Sahl: Well, you don’t know… It’s hard to be both, as I told you the other night, a corpse and a detective too. 15% of this puzzle is missing because people won’t come out of the bushes and say … They will come out of the shadows and say, “We are conspirators.” I don’t believe that the government calls everybody. I think that people are sufficiently corrupt and enjoy a mutuality of interests that they will behave as they do.

One of the leading television commentators said to me when I said, “What are you going to do about the Garrison case?”

He said, “Oh, I’m going to stay away from him.” He told me that openly, but that would be his course. That would be his fearless course of informing the American people of who killed our President.

The best way, of course, was for everybody to call me paranoiac and to look the other way. And I’ve had some pretty important people tell me that, because what can they do? Can they admit, again, that this is not the best of all possible worlds? Because then they might have to do a patch and we’ll have to do a repair job. But they’re not prepared sufficiently to even sweep the room and take care of it, be custodians of the room hygienically, let alone re-paper the walls and make some improvements on the property. They are all by and large a gutless breed. There are several levels here in Hollywood. There’s the level of “I’m not talented. He’s having bad luck. It might rub off on me and I’ll really be in trouble. I better keep away.” The straight opportunism. But there are some remarks that are hard to answer. There’s Bill Cosby who said, “I have a wife and kids. I can’t be seen with him.”

Elliot Mintz: Wow.

Mort Sahl: How’s that? How’s that? A wife and kids and I addressed my remarks to him one week. I said, “I’d like to know what you’re going to leave your wife and kids. What are you going to leave your kids in America?” We have America. That’s all we have. And the signs are that we are losing her.

Elliot Mintz: Mort, what about your friends? What happened with them?

Mort Sahl: My friends?

Elliot Mintz: Your close friends, people who-

Mort Sahl: Well, they vanished. I know they’re around because I go to see them in pictures all the time. But I’m glad that they’re still available to me on film as my memories are treasured.

Elliot Mintz: Really? Was it really like that? I mean, right now-

Mort Sahl: There was a social ostracism. What friends do I have now?

Elliot Mintz: Yeah. How many people could you call now and say, “Hey man, I’d like to get together with you and rap,” you know?

Mort Sahl: Well, you’re the newest. I would say Mark Lane, Jim Garrison, Maggie Field and Enrico Banducci at the hungry i.

Elliot Mintz: I’m in pretty good company.