|Tommy "The Matchmaker" Curtis with|
Sen. Jamie Raskin outside the
Jane Lawton Center in Chevy Chase
Friday, April 22, 2016
Raskin earns endorsement from Bethesda's legendary Tommy "The Matchmaker" Curtis (Photo)
Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin has just picked up the biggest Bethesda endorsement on the table. Longtime Bethesda resident Curtis, of Yacht Club of Bethesda fame, is back in town raising capital for two motion pictures he is producing. But one other item on his agenda was to endorse Raskin (D-Takoma Park), who's running in the highly-competitive race for Chris Van Hollen's 8th Congressional District seat.
Curtis said his decision was difficult. Another frontrunner in the race is Kathleen Matthews, who in her television days served as a producer for two local-Emmy-winning TV specials hosted by Curtis. Ultimately, he said he was swayed by Raskin's experience in contrast to Matthews and businessman David Trone. "He's ready to hit the ground running," Curtis said of Raskin.
The Raskin campaign, seeking any edge in what could be the most expensive Congressional election in history, was delighted to receive the endorsement of a local icon. "We love receiving the usual endorsements of Jamie's fellow elected officials," Raskin's campaign manager Marshall Cohen said, "but we welcome the support of key figures in the community, and who can be a bigger deal than [Curtis]?"
Following the announcement, Curtis joked that, "my endorsement might indeed sway three or four single divorced residents out of the hundreds of thousands of singles that live in the congressional district."
With the old Yacht Club space currently for lease, one could hope Curtis might reopen for business. But he's busy right now at his other pursuit - moviemaking. While most Bethesda residents over the age of 35 can recall Curtis' signature TV sign-off, "Goodnight from the Yacht Club of Bethesda," even they may not know about his Hollywood ventures.
The Seduction starring Morgan Fairchild, Dreamscape featuring Dennis Quaid, and Hell Nite starring Linda Blair (The Exorcist) and Peter Barton (The Powers of Matthew Star), are among Curtis' co-production credits. He said one of the films he is in town to raise financial backing for is slated to film in Baltimore. Amazingly, the Yacht Club - which had a 17-year run starting in 1989 in what is today the DoubleTree Bethesda hotel - was actually launched well after his Hollywood production career began.
Curtis earned titles like the "Pied Piper of local singles," and "Washington institution" through the success of the nightclub, which was aimed at the over-30 professional single in the region. To Raskin's advantage, the matchmaker still has a strong local following. Five-hundred singles showed up at a Yacht Club reunion at the DoubleTree a couple of years ago. Now Raskin will hope they show up at the polling places. Curtis himself did, posing with Raskin during early voting for what has to be the money shot of 2016 in Bethesda.
Maybe Curtis is just the man who could turn around Bethesda's currently-declining nightlife, following the disastrous Montgomery County Council "nighttime economy initiative." At least nine nightspots closed their doors in the wake of the Councilman Hans Riemer-led "effort."
Photo courtesy Jamie Raskin for Congress campaign