From an opening filmed image of an amber field of grain in Kansas, to a live closing shot of a wildly cheering crowd in Florida, Democratic candidate Barack Obama's 30-minute, prime-time campaign infomercial last night was affecting and effective.
It wasn't that the production broke any new ground in media and politics. The producers essentially worked within the well-worn and time-tested genre of candidate films shown at national conventions. Think: Bill Clinton and The Man From Hope.
But last night's presentation was skillfully attuned to the candidate's strengths and perceived weaknesses - and spoke in a voice perfectly pitched to counter what the opposition, Republican presidential and vice presidential candidates John McCain and Sarah Palin, have been saying against Obama on the campaign trail.
His opponents have warned that Obama is an unknown quantity and somehow "different" than what they define as mainstream Americans. But in the film, the Illinois senator spoke movingly about being defined by the "absence" of his father, shaped by the death to cancer of his mother, and the love and hard work of his grandparents. And every scene included an American flag and an abundance of images from our shared national psyche - like that opening field of grain.
In the end, nothing was more impressive in the production than the vignettes of citizens struggling to make ends meet.
For more about those powerful stories and Obama's big TV push last night go to my daily blog at baltimoresun.com/zontv. I didn't miss a second of it.