A 1950s TV show had a fear-mongering conman named Trump who wanted to build a wall


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/10/a-1950s-tv-show-had-a-fear-mon.html


#2

Ahh young Robert Culp.
Those shows are fun for spotting all the stars of later years in guest roles.


#3

The con man in the episode speaks like he continued school beyond the 8th grade, but otherwise the catchphrases are there: “I alone”, “which I don’t expect you to believe, but…”, “I am the only one, trust me”, all the fearmongering and garbage about the impenetrable wall.

The sheriff, of course, is the GOP establishment and the judge is the libertarian who finds Reason-able excuses to stand aside. I guess the hero (the Robert Culp character) is Mueller.

I would love to see Il Douche wear white robes like that for today’s speech. His aides could convince him it would be an homage to Fred and a shout-out to his most loyal supporters.


#4

This would have been right around the time Fred Trump was investigated by the Senate for profiteering…


#5

Could the ending of the movie be prophetic as well?


#6

I like this guy’s combover, much more natural.
And this guy’s film flam is MUCH more convincing! Quick, what time is it?!!?

I also like the audio track at 3:44!


#7

Déjà vu, exactly two years ago: https://boingboing.net/2017/01/10/this-1958-tv-western-predicted.html


#8

That reminds me of the un-filmed epilogue of the episode, presented here:

[The townspeople gather around the body of the con man, stunned at how things came to such a pass]

RANGER HERO: He almost made it out of town, too. With a saddlebag filled with your money.

LOCAL: Yeah, about that, do we get our money back now?

Other LOCALS [shouting]: Yeah! We want our money back! Money! Money!

RANGER HERO: Well, he was a confidence artist, so he didn’t keep a ledger. I think the fair thing to do is use the money to build a new community hall. It’ll give the people here some work, and the old community hall is falling down.

SHERIFF MCCONNELL: No, we need a new jail!

Half the LOCALS [shouting]: Yeah, a jail! Lock 'em up! Lock 'em up!

JUDGE LIBERTY [stroking chin wisely]: Now wait a minute. Wait a minute all of you. Let’s simmer down and think about this reasonably, folks. This is America. We’re not trying to become like that dangerous Hebrew fellow with the big beard in Europe wants us to be. Now we may not have liked how this businessman made his money, but we’re a land of laws and contracts that protect all our property. I’m sure this man has a will, and heirs, and that money now belongs to them. If you had a lot of money you’d want the same.

3/4 of the LOCALS [thoughtfully muttering]: Yes, the judge is right. One day I might be rich, too!

SHERIFF MCCONNELL [abashedly]: Sorry, judge. Forgot my place there for a minute. I’m with you.

RANGER HERO [throwing up his hands]: F*ck this idiot town. I’m outta here.


#9

Just saw A Face in the Crowd (1957). Many similarities, except Trump, instead of being an Arkansas drifter, is a Queens, NY grifter. While Rhodes suffered a downfall, Trump continued his upward ascent.

The climax of A Face in the Crowd comes when the anti-hero Rhodes is taped surreptitiously revealing his true contempt for the masses and thereby loses everything. Trump has already had this happen, many times, yet he suffers no dip in his support. What is his “I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue” statement, but a declaration of contempt for his audience? What is “Grab them by the pussy” tape, but a declaration of his contempt for women? Etc.

Much has been made of Elia Kazan’s prescience for predicting the rise of television and its ability to empower demagogues. If Kazan had been truly prescient, the climax would not show Rhodes losing his audience appeal after his gaffe. Instead, it would have shown him, like Trump, succeeding and maintaining audience support after any and all gaffes, including those which demean and belittle his own audience.

image


#10

This is a thing I think about almost daily. Why, oh why, are the sorts of things that take down other politicians not taking down trump? I mean, Howard Dean yelled funny, and that ended his presidential hopes. Dukakis looked silly in a tank, and that ended his presidential hopes. But this guy – is it just refuge in audacity?


#11

Why didn’t you emphasize “exactly”? What are you trying to hide?


#12

… in the ICU of an underfunded, local hospital after suffering a massive stroke and in the care of the same CBP doctors who failed to notice anything wrong with Felipe Alonzo-Gomez and Jakelin Caal Maquin.


#13

The short answer is: fame + human psychology. His years on The Apprentice spot-welded him into a certain demographic’s brain. Sure, to any thinking person, he’s a joke, (in fact, he’s been a joke since the 1980s), But to that certain demographic, he is part of their identity. When we criticize him, they see it as an attack on themselves. Thus, there is literally nothing he can do wrong. There are, no doubt, certain government workers cheering Trump on, even as his shutdown denies them work and causes them and their families to suffer. He is the white OJ.

Longer answer is: tribalism (by the above demographic) and cynicism by the fellow-traveler Republicans who accept Trump because he’s going to ban abortion for the evangelicals and cut all taxes for the wealthy.

Finally, there’s habituation: Trump commits so many errors (in deed, in knowledge, in manners, in finance, in politics) Trump supporters are now in the habit of defending him, no matter what he does. Trump uses Skinner’s operant conditioning on his followers: Trump commits an error, they forgive him, they are rewarded.

What truly amazes is: how this ignorant, racist, narcissist, adulterer, loudmouth shyster, with no political experience, has instinctively and accidentally happened upon the magic formula for his spectacular success. There have been plenty of other populist messiahs (eg, Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan), but none achieved the critical mass that Trump has. Would Perot have succeeded if he’d strongly endorsed an anti-abortion and conservative SCOTUS stance? Would Buchanan have succeeded if he’d been a billionaire tycoon with a long running reality TV show?

As a politician, Trump has never modified nor moderated his behavior in any way. He was and has been his disgusting self the entire time. And they love him for it.


#14

So, we can say “As foretold by prophesy!!”


#15

Either that or it’s an Easter Egg put in by developers of the simulation we’re living in.


#16

This presidency has finally convinced me we are all living in a simulation.


#17

Exerctly whert Er wers gering ter pernt ert.


#18

The AI that runs our simulation is getting cheeky.


#19

This is undoubtedly an edge condition.


#20

The fictional Trump has even less hair but otherwise looks rather like Fred Trump.