October 03, 2012 - Hollywood won't promote local filmmaker Norm Pardo's movie about O.J. Simpson, so he's hitting the road to do it himself.
Norm Pardo of Springfield Township, on tour with O.J. Simpson. Photo provided (click for larger version)
"We'll be spreading the word and raising money to distribute it," said Pardo of Springfield Township. "It'll be fun."
First stop will be in Clarkston, tentatively set for Oct. 12. After that will be Flint and Detroit, then up and down the east coast
"It's O.J. gone wild, what it's like to be hanging out with O.J. Simpson," Pardo said. "It's different, very exciting. You never knew, minute by minute, if someone was going to get shot and killed."
He made the "reality documentary" to tell the real story of O.J. and what it says about racism in America's justice system.
"My movie brings it out and makes it public," Pardo said. "Not much has changed over the past 30 years."
The film spends about 10 minutes reviewing Simpson's trial for the murder of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. The other 90 or so minutes comes from a national tour Simpson went on after he was acquitted.
Pardo accompanied Simpson on tour from 2001-2008 as promoter and manager.
"We went to clubs all over the east coast of the United States, and also Minnesota," Pardo said.
His plan for the movie tour is to revisit those clubs, exhibit some of the film, and raise funds for distribution. He'll hold drawings at each one for tickets to local premiers.
"Hollywood wants O.J. to go away," Pardo said. "So I'm going straight to the public."
The movie places front and center the racism of the Rampart police scandals of the 1990s.
"My movie shows stuff people don't want to deal with," Pardo said. "There is still a race problem in California – it's still happening. He's in prison now because of race."
In 2008, Simpson was sentenced to prison for 33 years on robbery, kidnapping, coercion, and conspiracy charges in connection with a Las Vegas burglary.
Pardo got involved with the Simpson story after the former athlete's murder trial in 1995.
"I wanted to know what really happened," he said. "I never trusted the media version."
His findings: "Nothing made sense. I don't see how he could have done it."
Mark Furhnman, a detective on the case, was convicted of perjury in the trial, when under cross examination he denied using racial slurs in the prior decade. Defense attorneys were examining whether he planted evidence at the scene.
The infamous freeway chase in the white Bronco was misreported.
"He wasn't fleeing – he was going home to say goodbye to his children," Pardo said.
Fleeing police is a crime, but it didn't come up in court, he said.
As defense attorney Johnnie Cochran pointed out, the glove didn't fit.
"It was a large. O.J. wears extra large. He has big hands. They would have fit Mark Fuhrman, though. Make of that what you will."
Money wasn't much of a a motive – Simpson didn't owe child support or alimony.
Jealousy wasn't either. Pardo's film includes a transcrpt of a 9-1-1 tape, used by prosecutors to establish Simpson's rage againt his ex-wife,
"We transcribed the tape – no one did that before," Pardo said. "He was angry about drug dealers and prostitutes in the home with his kids."
Simpson and Brown had an open relationship, Pardo said.
"It was no big deal," he said. "He could have had a different woman every hour. That's Hollywood."
As for other suspects, Pardo points out links to organized crime – Goldman's father Fred Goldman is married to Patti Glass, whose ex-husband Marvin Glass was a defense attorney representing drug dealers, and who was convicted of racketeering and bribery in the 1980s.
"The jury had all the evidence," Pardo said. " We never did. There was no internet back then – we had to depend on court commentators on TV. We missed a lot."
Still, Simpson isn't pure and innocent, something made clear in the movie.
"He wants it to show him all nice and fuzzy, his old image," Pardo said. "Hollywood wants him shown as a killer. I made it without either one."
Pardo and Simpson still talk sometimes, but not about the movie.
"I talked to O.J. a couple weeks ago," Pardo said. "He was working on his fantasy football. The refs were making a mess out of his fantasy football predictions."
"Un-Promotable" also stars local actors Wendy Williams, Robert P. Young III, son of the Hon. Robert P. Young Jr., justice on the Michigan Supreme Court, Chris Kelly, and Mike Clark of Detroit (not Clarkston).
For crowdsource fund-raising, go to www.unpromotable.com. RSVP for the Clarkston fund-raiser at Rsvp@unpromotable.com. To arrange an appearance or for more information, call 248-625-4893.
Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.