Toots | 2007
Toots Shor was a well known saloonkeeper in New York from 1940 to 1959 and his eponymous midtown Manhattan bar was the place to be seen. Decades later, his granddaughter documentary filmmaker Kristi Jacobson takes us on tour of her famous grandfather's world through interviews with family, friends, patrons, and some choice archival footage. Born in turn-of-the-century Philadelphia, Shor made his way to New York in 1930, and started out as a bouncer at various speakeasies. Some years after the repeal of Prohibition, he made good on his connections and opened his own place. Shor's jocularity and innate sense of populism turned his saloon into a phenomenon, and on any given night the average working stiff might find himself drinking next to Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, mobster Frank Costello, ballplayer Joe DiMaggio, or singer Frank Sinatra, among many others. But Shor was as bad with business as he was good with people. After selling his bar for $1.5 million in 1959, he blew through his entire bankroll before reopening at a new location in 1961. Unfortunately, Shor could not keep up with the changing times, and the radical 1960's spelled the death of his establishment's popularity.