Adages - Campaign 2004 exclusive: Another democrat drops out of the race

By Published on .

Al Gore and Jack Tanner have this in common: They both pulled out of the 2004 run for president.

Al Gore, of course, is a real politician (though some may argue that point) while Jack Tanner is a bogus Michigan congressman played by actor Michael Murphy in the 11-episode HBO mockumentary miniseries "Tanner 88." The show was created by director Robert Altman and Garry Trudeau, "Doonesbury" cartoonist, and it followed Murphy on a phony Democratic stump that was filmed during the real 1988 primary. Critics are now saying Altman and Trudeau were visionaries and "Tanner '88" is being compared to HBO's Washington lobbyist dud "K Street," a drama that also mixed fiction and reality and is now off the air. In truth, Altman and Trudeau were not visionaries, they just borrowed an old routine from Pat Paulsen, the doleful comic from the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour who first ran for president during the real race in 1968, and then again in 1972,1980,1988 and 1992.

"Tanner 88" is getting some air again, this time on the Sundance Channel (starting Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 9 p.m.) and to promote it Altman and Trudeau created new promos with Murphy starring again as an aged and wizened Tanner (also Cynthia Nixon again as his daughter Alex and Pamela Reed returning as his campaign manager T.J. Cavanaugh). Adages has learned that the original promo concept was to film Tanner back on the stump in the real 2004 primary. Justin Wilkes at Radical Media, which produced, said Trudeau wanted to use that approach to comment on contemporary events. That idea was scrapped-Wilkes couldn't say why-and now the promos feature Tanner harmlessly reminiscing about his maiden hustings in '88. Adages wonders if Tanner, like Gore, will also endorse Dean. Tune in.

Hum dinger

Speaking of Sundance, Hachette Filappachi's Premiere is doing a lounge act at the Easy Street Brasserie on Main and Heber Avenue in Park City, Utah, where they will open a Premiere Film & Music Lounge on Jan. 16, during the film festival. Paul Turcotte, Premiere's publisher, tells Adages the lounge is sponsored by advertisers like Sony, Michelob, Parfums Givenchy, Rose's Cocktail Infusions and Mr. and Mrs. T's Premium Blend Bloody Mary Mix. GM's Hummer is also getting into the act by offering a pair of H2's to use as official Premiere vehicles. He explains: "If Jennifer Anniston comes to town, we can offer to pick her up." You're a true gentleman, Paul. Also, DJ Prince Paul and Don Newkirk are set to appear at the lounge, and Tommy Lee Jones is rumored to show.

The fog rolls in

Errol Morris, spot director and the auteur behind acclaimed flick "Fog of War," starring Bob McNamara, former secretary of defense under JFK and LBJ, and the man called the architect of the Vietnam War (the one we lost), tells Adages that he started shooting the anti-war doc before the tragic events of Sept. 11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Adages suggested to Mr. Morris that he had taken a big gamble, shooting a film about war when we were blissfully at peace. It might have died at the box office. The film is now selling out theatres in big cities across the country and is nominated for prestigious awards. "You got lucky," said Adages to Mr. Morris. "No, not at all," said Mr. Morris, "Our country got unlucky."

Come fly with me

The second episode of NBC's Trump reality show "The Apprentice," airing on Wednesday night, takes place at Deutsch Advertising in New York. The show's would-be apprentices will be pitching an ad campaign for Marquis Jet, a company that sells the airline industry equivalent of phone cards. Marquis Jet cards are prepaid flight cards starting with a minimum of 25 hours of flight that can be used on planes in the Net Jet fleet, which is the airline industry equivalent of time shares. Marquis cards run from $109,000 to $299,000. Donny Deutsch will appear in the episode with his media director Peter Gardiner and Marquis exec Ken Austin, who is throwing an "Apprentice" viewing party that night for staff at his home on Long Island.

Send your spare flight time to rlinnett@crain.com

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