City Desk

Jews! Rednecks! Jimmy Carter! Michael Jordan! Abe Pollin?

Jimmy Carter Has Always Hated Jews!

Michael Jordan Called Abe Pollin a Lying Redneck Bastard!

Those are the money shots from All About Abe, the straight-to-party-favors-bags documentary about Abe Pollin that was recently produced.

The only release the film has had so far came when DVDs were given away at a party celebrating Pollin's 84th birthday and the 10th anniversary of the Verizon Center.

I didn't rate an invite to the party, but got a copy from a guy who knows a guy, and was stunned that the movie hasn't gotten any attention whatsoever, even with its very limited distribution.

What's more, wide release or no, I felt the scenes containing the aforementioned Jew/Redneck slurs made the film's director, Ivy Meeropol, a lock for the 2007 Unsportsman of the Year award.

I didn't speak with Meeropol until after deadline for my current column, which bestows the annual dishonor on her.

Turns out she's a real good sport. Rather than get defensive or snippy, Meeropol said she was "happy to hear" any feedback, even if I thought parts of the doc make Abe seem like a creep.

"I'm probably not going to hear many perspectives on this, so, I welcome anything," she said. "I have to say, I didn't think anybody would feel that way."

Meeropol said that the Pollin family, who funded and produced All About Abe, wanted a feature-film documentary made, and paid the going rate to have that done. But there were indications that the Pollins never intended to release the movie to theaters or television.

"They didn't buy insurance, which you'd have to do if you're going to put this out," she said. "What if Jimmy Carter comes after me and says, 'Hey, you're calling me an anti-Semite!' You'd have to protect yourself. I don't see how this could ever be released. The family just wanted to make [several thousand copies] and give them to friends and family. They wanted a legacy thing."

In other words, Abe Pollin wanted his friends and family to see him and his pals smear Jimmy Carter.

The ex-president is portrayed in the movie, albeit with total disregard to historical accuracy, as a guy who back in the 1970s used all his powers to ruin the political career and life of FOA (Friend of Abe) and former Maryland governor Marvin Mandel.

Why? Well, according to the documentary, because Mandel is Jewish. (The Mandel/Carter scenes feel like they should be in another movie, but are creepy enough to make the DVD worth seeking out all by themselves.)

Meeropol said if she wasn't working on a vanity project for the Pollins, she would have made some attempt to counter-balance those portions of the film that brutalize Michael Jordan, also. The most sensational of these scenes has Pollin accusing Jordan of calling him a liar and "redneck bastard."

"I think this told Abe's side of the story. We did not give [Jordan's] side at all," she said with a laugh, "I felt that was a little unfair. But...."

We know: We'll have to wait till Jordan funds his own documentary to get the rest of the story.

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  • j

    Good for you for posting this. Just for the record, Meeropol is also the director of a great documentary called "Heir To An Execution" about her grandparents Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. I think in the end she made the film the Pollins wanted her to make and if this were her own product it would have been very different.

  • Dave McKenna

    j:

    I was fascinated to learn about Ivy Meeropol's lineage after seeing the Pollin film, and had written a short bio in the first draft of the column, but it was cut for length and probably artlessness.

    In the deleted graphs, I tried to conjecture that maybe the Mandel/Carter scenes and the antisemitism accusations were included because Meeropol's grandparents, who went to the electric chair in 1953 for espionage, perhaps really were screwed by the U.S. Government because of their Jewishness, so she'd be inclined to give Mandel the benefit of the doubt when he makes such accusations against the former president.

    I still think my theory about Meeropol's motivations is an interesting one. But, after talking to her, I also think my theory is probably crap, and I'm glad it got cut.

    Thanks for your post.

  • Janda

    Why would Carter even bother to try to ruin Marvin Mandel? Mandel did it himself and went to prison for mail fraud and racketeering.

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