Toots: Kristi Jacobson’s Chronicle of Owner of America’s Greatest Bar

Kristi Jacobson’s “Toots” will open in Los Angeles on November 21, 2008 at the Downtown Independent Theater at 215 S. Main Street.

“Toots Shor is many things to many people,” said newsman Edward R. Murrow of the legendary Manhattan saloon keeper in 1955. He was a friend to the famous, a crook to the feds, a father, a brother and a gambler, but, most of all, Toots Shor was the owner of America’s greatest bar.

TOOTS is a refreshingly fun, provocative, and unmistakably authentic portrait of a self-made, unapologetic American who became the unlikely den-mother to the heroes and larger-than-life personalities of America’s golden age.

Politicians and gangsters, sports heroes and movie stars, for 30 years, they all found their way to Toots’ eponymous saloon on New York’s West 51st Street for food and drink, served up with a heaping side of put downs.

On any given night, on one side of the crowded dining roon of Toots Shor’s could be the Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, on the other side, the notorious mob boss Frank Costell. The most coveted tables were reserved for Toots’ closest friends – Frank Sinatra, Joe DiMaggio, Frank Gifford, Jackie Gleason.

These giants of American culture and sports found in Toots a unique sense of comfort, somewhere between his trademark bear hug and relentless insults.

As The New York Times put it in 1977: “In a very unique manner, Toots Shor for several decades was the mirror of a special excitement and quality that set New York apart from all other cities. He was a magnet around which flowed many of the special streams of New York’s greatness.”

Narrated by Toots himself, with audio from an oral history recorded two years before his death, and directed by his granddaughter, award-winning filmmaker Kristi Jacobson, who gracefully captures Toots¬í unique charm as well as his gruff sense of humor, this upbeat, though highly-personal story taps the heart-felt emotions of Toots¬í friends, family and journalists as they take you on a journey to a lost time and place captured in what The New York Post called, “A well-deserved toast to a quintessential New Yorker.”

Interviewees (in order of appearance):

Gay Talese, Walter Cronkite, David Brown, Mike Wallace, Frank Gifford, Peter Duchin, Kerry Jacobson, Sidney Zion, Bill Fugazy, Pete Hamill, Nick Pileggi, Bill Buchbinder, LeRoy Neiman, Bert Sugar, John Clancy, Pat Futcher, Whitey Ford, Joe Garagiola, Bill Gallo, Maury Allen, Dave Anderson, Yogi Berra, Harry Lavin, Larry Merchant, Perian Conerly, Charles Reilly, Gianni Russo, Dick Sherman, Liz Murray

About Kristi Jacobson

Kristi Jacobson (Producer/Director) is an independent documentary filmmaker whose body of work tackles a wide range of subjects including violence against women, workers¬í rights, HIV and AIDS, capital punishment, and homelessness. Her films have been featured on HBO, A&E, Lifetime, ABC Television, Sundance Channel and PBS. Kristi¬ís debut feature-length documentary, “American Standoff”, premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast as part of HBO¬ís award-winning America Undercover series.

Running time: 85 minutes.

Not Rated. In English. 2007

“Tots” will be released on DVD following the L.A. theatrical release in November 2008