Richter Documentaries
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HHH: What Manner Of Man

"A work of genius." -Joe McGinniss in his best seller
"The 1968 Presidential Campaign"
Directed and produced by Robert Richter

"...A wonderful timepiece of the last campaign ever involving a New Deal Democrat...Even after all these decades, you can watch this fascinating film and see how it 'pushes buttons' for the housewife demographic, the anti-war liberals and the working class vote. It is worth study by advertsing and political science students...5 out of 5 stars."
—Daniel C. Dennis, author, "Invincible Summer" 2011

"...shown more than any other political documentary in American history... did more to help Humphrey begin his climb in the polls than any other single thing in the campaign....I can't think of another single incident, speech, program, film, statement that had the impact on the American public that film had...the single most effective weapon we had in the campaign." Joseph Napolitan, The Election Game and How to Win It, 1972

When this Hubert H. Humphrey biography was telecast in the historic 1968 campaign for President of the United States, it helped turn the tide — but not enough to result in victory, in the closest Presidential election in U.S. history, up to that time.

A youthful Senator Ted Kennedy makes a brief appearance, endorsing Humphrey for the Presidency. The Senator's comments were filmed at the home of Ethel and the late Robert Kennedy.

Young Sen.  Kennedy
Young Sen. Kennedy

Richter often thought that if he had somehow completed the production a few days sooner it might have helped Humphrey defeat Richard Nixon.

The film includes riveting scenes of anti-Vietnam war demonstrators and hecklers at Humphrey's speeches, an unusual way to gain voter support for the candidate who was Lyndon Johnson's loyal Vice President. Because Pres. Johnson was so unpopular at the time, Richter decided that neither his name would be heard nor his face shown.

One of the film's most moving scenes is when Humphrey responded to Richter's interview question, about the candidate's mentally challenged grand-daughter. Humphrey openly described his feelings while the camera discretely showed scenes of the child being hugged by him.

During the editing of the film Richter argued that this scene should be kept in, an argument he won against some of Humphrey's advisers and strategists who claimed it would be seen as too exploitive. Richter asserted that it showed the genuine humanity of the candidate.

In newspapers at the time the film was advertised as "The Mind Changer." If you had made up your mind about Humphrey, then you were urged to see the film. It was telecast 300 times across the nation in the closing three weeks of the political race.

The biography reflected how Richter changed his own mind about Humphrey as the standard bearer for the Democratic Party in the race against Richard Nixon.

Later, Lawrence O'Brien, Democratic Party Chair, described the film as the "most important" element in the campaign that pushed Humphrey up in the polls, resulting in the narrow outcome of the election.

HHH: What Manner of Man is a fascinating account of an extraordinary American leader who helped change his country in profoundly important ways.

29 minutes
Study Areas: Social and political history, American studies, American history, American government, political science, biography, Vietnam war, Presidential campaigns, advertising.