This episode of "The Greatest Drama" -- Mister New York -- is about Grover Whalen (1886-1962) and the influential role he played in New York City politics and society. The film begins by acknowledging that Grover Whalen (00:17) is master of the ticker tape parades that began in New York City (the first ticker tape parade occurred the year of Whalen’s birth, celebrating the dedication of the Statue of Liberty). Whalen tells the viewers how he organized the parades (00:29), making them a symbol of New York City, the “world’s most magnificent and open-hearted city.” The film’s narrator informs viewers that Whalen was born and raised on the Lower East Side, as viewers are treated to footage of New York City during the 1890s (01:25), including a simple street carousel (01:45). Whalen, ever the bright student, enters politics and gets his foot into New York City Hall (02:22). Whalen helps John F. Hylan (02:30) become mayor in 1918. Hylan appoints him to run the parades, and Whalen oversees a number of parades, including: welcoming home the Dough Boys and General John J. Pershing (02:39); greeting Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd in 1926 with a flotilla (02:55), then escorting Byrd to the city for the parade (03:11); welcoming Queen Marie of Romania (03:36) in October 1926; honoring Gertrude Ederle (03:50), the first woman to swim the English Channel—more than two million people turned out for her parade; and celebrating Charles Lindbergh (04:04) on 13 June 1927. When not throwing parades, Whalen works in a department store (04:19). In 1928, Whalen is sworn in as Police Commissioner by Mayor Jimmy Walker (04:33). Whalen shows no mercy for mobsters and bootleggers, sending raiding squads to arrest crime bosses (04:56; 05:19). Whalen ruthlessly enforces prohibition laws, but then resigns due to criticisms for his role in the escalating use of violence by police. In 1933, Whalen becomes the National Recovery Act Director of New York (05:34) and plans the 1939 New York World’s Fair, breaking ground (06:02) for the massive undertaking. In need of sponsors, Whalen flies to Europe to recruit European leaders to purchase space at the fair. He first goes to Rome where he meets with Benito Mussolini (06:25), convincing the Italian to purchase space; other European leaders followed suit. The 1939 World’s Fair is impressive from an aerial view (06:57), and the event is officially opened by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (07:04). Though thousands and thousands of people attend, Whalen is unhappy because the fair failed financially: the outbreak of World War II limited the investment in the fair, which Whalen spent $155 million on. Whalen’s next assignment is in Alaska (08:08), where he serves 6 months as a civilian advisor for the Civilian Defense Corps. After the war, Whalen continues planning ticker tape parades, welcoming Dwight D. Eisenhower (08:45), Winston Churchill (08:56) and General Douglas MacArthur (09:11). Whalen’s vision for New York City prompts him to build scale models of the city (09:34), complete with planned convention halls and fashion centers, but the plans stagnate because of the costs. Whalen’s ongoing efforts earn him the gold medal for public service, which is given to him by Mayor William O’Dwyer (10:31). The film ends with Whalen, also known as “Mister New York,” telling viewers that New York City will one day become the fashion and artistic center of the world (10:50).
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com