Tuesday, February 06, 2007

We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams

Ronald Wilson Reagan ~ 40th President of the United States of America
Date of birth: 6 February 1911
Tampico, Illinois, USA
Date of death: 5 June 2004
Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, USA.

"All the world's a stage,
and all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
and one man in his time plays many parts,
his acts being seven ages." ~ William Shakespeare

From IMDB:
Ronald Reagan played many roles in his life's seven acts: radio announcer, movie star, union boss, television actor-cum-host, governor, right-wing critic of big government and President of the United States. While historians still debate his ultimate legacy as Chief Executive and First Magistrate, the fact is this amiable man played the biggest and most important role ever limned by a actor, and pulled it off with grace and aplomb as befits a great headliner.

There is so much that one could say about Ronald Reagan. Others will say it better than I. So instead of trying to out-prose better writers than I, I thought I'd simply post the following from the Internet Movie DataBase, which I think you will find fairly interesting. And nostalgic. Enjoy:
Father of Ron Reagan and Patti Davis with Nancy Davis.

William Holden was the best man at his wedding to Nancy Davis in 1952.

40th president of the United States (1981-1989).

Elected governor of California in 1966 and re-elected in 1970.

President of the Screen Actors Guild from 1947 to 1952 and 1959-1960.

Graduate of Eureka College (1932).

Son of John Edward Reagan and Nelle Clyde Wilson Reagan.

Was a sports announcer in Des Moines, Iowa, before becoming an actor in 1937.

Member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

President of Screen Actors Guild (S.A.G.) 1947-1952.

Was presented with George Gipp's letterman's sweater by the University of Notre Dame football team on January 18, 1989, two days before leaving the White House.

Was portrayed on "Saturday Night Live" (1975) by seven different actors: Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Charles Rocket, Harry Shearer, Robin Williams, Joe Piscopo, and Phil Hartman.

Father of Maureen Reagan and Michael Reagan with Jane Wyman.

Daughter, with first wife - actress Jane Wyman - Maureen Reagan dies of malignant melanoma (skin cancer) at her Sacramento-area home. [8 August 2001]

Brother of Neil Reagan (1908-1996).

When he was a young man, he had a part-time job as a lifeguard. He once had to retrieve an old man's dentures at the bottom of the pool and did so without hesitating.

. Became the oldest ex-president in U. S. history, surpassing the previous record-holder, John Adams. [October 11, 2001]

While President of the USA, his Secret Service codename was "Rawhide".

. Awarded the United States Congressional Gold Medal for ending the "Cold War" against Russia, along with his wife Nancy Davis, for fighting substance abuse among American youths. [May 16th 2002]

When Reagan's long-time friend and first Hollywood agent, studio mogul Lew Wasserman, died on 3 June 2002, AP reported that their friendship was the subject of a controversial book called "Dark Victory: Ronald Reagan, MCA and the Mob" (1988). The book reviewed the federal investgation into the Reagan- Wasserman relationship and charges that alleged payoffs were made in the 1950s by Wasserman's mammoth MCA agency to Reagan and some of his fellow officers of the Screen Actors Guild. Ultimately, Reagan was cleared in the inquiry.

Because of his battle with Alzheimer's disease, he was unaware that his daughter Maureen had died. Wife Nancy understandably chose not to tell him.

Was the first guest of honor on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, in 1973.

Although he was 30 when the United States entered World War II, he volunteered for military service. He was turned down for combat duty due to his poor eyesight.

For two weeks in 1954, Reagan opened as a stand-up comic at the Ramona Room of the Hotel Last Frontier in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1989.

On Tuesday, March 14, 1972, during his second term as governor of the Golden State, expunged the criminal record of Merle Haggard, granting him a full pardon.

Influenced by the Martin Scorsese film Taxi Driver (1976), John Hinckley - the son of a prominent Republican family from Colorado - tried to assassinate Reagan in 1981 in order to impress actress Jodie Foster. Foster had won her first Oscar nomination for the film, in which Robert De Niro's eponymous character, Travis Bickle, tried to assassinate a liberal Democratic presidential candidate to impress Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), the woman he is obsessed with. Hinckley was acquitted by a jury on reasons of insanity and remains incarcerated in a psychiatric facility 25 years after committing the crime.

He was the first president to beat the "zero factor". Before him every president elected in a year ending in zero (beginning with 1840) had died in office.

Originally was a very liberal member of the Democratic Party, but eventually converted to the Republican Party in 1962, when he was fifty-one. He gave a highly acclaimed speech in support of Barry Goldwater during the 1964 Presidential election.

At the time of his death, he was the longest-living President of the United States, at age 93 years, 120 days. This record was surpassed by President Gerald Ford on 12 November 2006.

Amidst the panic at the hospital after Reagan's assassination attempt, a Secret Service agent was asked information for Reagan's admission forms. The intern asked for Reagan's last name. The agent, who was quite surprised at the question, responded "Reagan". The intern then asked for Reagan's first name. The agent, again surprised, responded "Ronald". The intern didn't look up, instead he unassumingly asked for Reagan's address. The agent paused for a few moments in great surprise before saying "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue". That got the intern's attention.

Became the first president to have a state funeral in Washington, D.C. since Lyndon Johnson in 1973.

Had a photographic memory.

In 1978, after having served as governor of California but before running for President, Reagan came out against The Briggs Initiative, a ballot initiative introduced by a right-wing Republican state senator named John Briggs, which would have made it illegal for homosexuals to be employed as teachers in the California school system. Reagan strongly and vocally opposed the measure, saying that it infringed upon basic human rights and bordered on being unconstitutional. He is largely credited for turning public opinion against the measure and it was defeated in the election.

He never actually broadcast Cubs games, he re-created them from telegraph reports while working for Des Moines radio station WHO in the 1930s. He demonstrated the technique of making it sound like he was actually at the games to Cubs broadcaster Harry Carey when he made a guest appearance during part of a Cubs telecast in the 1980s.

Turned down a guest appearance on "Simpsons, The" (1989)_ .

In the film American Beauty (1999), the Fitts family (Chris Cooper, Allison Janney and Wes Bentley) can be seen watching an old army film with Reagan in it.

Played Chicago Cubs hurler Grover Cleveland Alexander in the film The Winning Team (1952). He also served a brief stint as a broadcaster for WGN Radio, which broadcasts Cubs baseball games.

A month after his death, items from the 40th president's funeral, burial and week-long public viewing were selling fast on the online auction site eBay. The company has sold 780 pieces of Reagan funeral memorabilia since June 11, 2004 for a total of $66,000. The items range from programs (sold for up to $1,525 each) from the interment at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley to gratitude cards given to mourners who visited his casket.

Pictured on a 60¢ memorial postage stamp issued by the Republic of the Marshall Islands 4 July, 2004, the first memorial to be issued in his honor.

The first President since Dwight D. Eisenhower to serve two full terms in office.

The former President was buried at his presidential library in Simi Valley, California.

Only United States President to have appeared in a shirt advertisement.

Pictured on a USA 37¢ commemorative postage stamp issued 9 February 2005. When the first-class letter rate was raised to 39¢ in January 2006, the US Postal Service received an unprecedented number of requests to reissue the stamp at the higher value. The 39¢ postage stamp was issued on 14 June 2006, using the same design as the earlier stamp.

He was the first former American president to die in the 21st Century.

Rumoured studio publicity claimed he was scheduled to play Rick Blaine in Casablanca (1942); however, this was never the case.

His first bid for the Presidency was actually in 1968, when he finished 3rd in the balloting at the GOP national convention behind Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller. As the Constitution, in practical terms, forbids the president and vice president from being from the same state (a rule that binds the electoral college), Reagan was not considered for the vice presidency when Spiro Agnew resigned in 1973. Besides, though Reagan supported his fellow Californian Nixon for president, the two were never close. In 1976, he challenged incumbent Gerald Ford (the man whom Nixon appointed Vice President to replace Agnew) for the Republican nomination, won several primaries, but narrowly lost the nomination at the convention. Though Ford confided in people he was considering a run for the presidency in 1980 to forestall Reagan's ascendancy, he never did and Reagan won the nomination and the presidency.

Received more electoral votes than any other president in history, winning by 525 (out of 538) in his 1984 re-election campaign when he racked up 49 of 50 states in beating Jimmy Carter's vice president Walter Mondale.

Is portrayed by James Brolin in The Reagans (2003) (TV).

Was considered to be the most conservative United States President since Herbert Hoover, though George W. Bush arguably is more conservative.

He was the only United States President (as of 2005) to have been a member of a union (the Screen Actors Guild).

Member of the Eureka College cheerleading squad.

His last public appearance was at Richard Nixon's funeral in April 1994.

Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS).

knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, received an honorary British knighthood, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. This entitled him to the use of the post-nominal letters GCB, but did not entitle him to be known as "Sir Ronald Reagan". [15 June 1989]

During the 1980 Presidential campaign, incumbent President Jimmy Carter publicly criticized Reagan for launching his campaign with a speech on states' rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the site of the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers immortalized in the film Mississippi Burning (1988). Carter, a former governor of the Deep South state of Georgia who had run as a racial moderate in 1970, claimed that the phrase 'states' rights' was a 'code word' for segregation, as Southerners opposed to federally mandated segregation claimed that federal intervention into the local laws and mores of their states by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were unconstitutional abrogations of the rights of their states to police themselves. Reagan, who had used his opposition to state equal housing laws to defeat Governor Edmund G. Brown in 1965, disavowed any racist intent and the issue was ignored by most voters and pundits. When Carter persisted in trying to portray the affable Reagan as a racist, the strategy boomeranged against the incumbent President and made him seem petty and petulant.

After his presidency he and Nancy Davis moved to 666 St. Cloud Road in Bel Air, California which Ronald lived in until his death. Nancy had the address changed from 666 to 668 due to the fact 666 is known as the devil's number. The house is down the street from 805 St. Cloud Road, the house used in the TV show "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (1990).

While as an actor he is thought of mostly as a Western/Action-Adventure star, his two best-remembered lines were from straight dramatic roles and delivered while he was flat on his back in bed, his character either dying or horribly crippled: "Win just one more for the Gipper!" in Knute Rockne All American (1940) and "Where's the rest of me?" in Kings Row (1942).

His famous nickname "The Great Communicator", was not earned but was requested. Reagan asked for it during his farewell address in 1989.

His state funeral service took place on the 25th anniversary of the death of his close friend and ally John Wayne.

Spent World War II making Army training films for Hal Roach Studios.


Personal quotes
[at the Berlin Wall, 1987]: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

The best view of government is seen on a rear view mirror as one is driving away from it.

[in the 1980 campaign]: Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. Recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.

[1964]: I love three things in life: drama, politics and sports and I'm not sure they always come in that order.

[1980]: I remember some of my own views when I was quite young. For heaven's sake, I was even a Democrat!

[to his wife after the assassination attempt]: Honey, I forgot to duck.

[to his doctors prior to going in the surgery room after being shot]: I hope all of you are Republicans.

[semi-consciously, to the nurse who hauled him on the gurney]: Does Nancy know about us?

[1980]: I know what it's like to pull the Republican lever for the first time, because I used to be a Democrat myself, and I can tell you it only hurts for a minute and then it feels just great.

[1985]: I've been criticized for going over the heads of the Congress. So, what's the fuss? A lot of things go over their heads.

America is too great to dream small dreams.

[from the Alzheimer's letter]: I now begin the journey that will lead me to the sunset of my life. I know that for America, there will always be a bright dawn ahead.

Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards; if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.

You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jellybeans.

Government is not the solution to our problems. Government IS the problem!

[in a 1984 debate, referring to Walter Mondale]: I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience.

All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk.

Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal.

[on Vietnam]: I have a feeling that we are doing better in the war than the people have been told.

[Carmel, CA, June 1990]: You may think this a little mystical, and I've said it many times before, but I believe there was a Divine Plan to place this great continent here between the two oceans to be found by peoples from every corner of the earth. I believe we were preordained to carry the torch of freedom for the world.

I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency - even if I'm in a Cabinet meeting.

[During a microphone check on August 11 1984, unaware that he was being broadcast]: My fellow Americans. I'm pleased to announce that I've signed legislation outlawing the Soviet Union. We begin bombing in five minutes.

Trees cause more pollution than automobiles.

They say hard work never hurt anybody, but I figure why take the chance.

Well, I learned a lot....I went down to Latin America to find out from them and (learn) their views. You'd be surprised. They're all individual countries.

We are trying to get unemployment to go up and I think we're going to succeed.

When I go in for a physical, they no longer ask how old I am. They just carbon-date me.

[from a 1950s interview]: Nobody ever 'went Hollywood.' They were already that way when they got here. Hollywood just brought it out in them.

Approximately 80% of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation, so let's not go overboard in setting and enforcing tough emission standards.

Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born.

Tonight is a very special night, although at my age, every night is a special night.

[His opinion of the Klingon warriors he saw during a visit to the set of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987)]: I like them. They remind me of Congress.

[During his re-election campaign in 1984America's future rests in a thousand dreams inside our hearts; it rests in the message of hope in songs of a man so many young Americans admire: New Jersey's own Bruce Springsteen. And helping you make your dreams come true is what this job of mine is all about.

[confirming his 1984 re-election victory to the crowd chanting, "Four more years"]: I think that's just been arranged.

A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not.

I don't know how anybody could be in politics if they *hadn't* been an actor!

I can't do a damn thing until I'm elected!

If I could paraphrase a well-known statement by Will Rogers that he never met a man he didn't like, I'm afraid we have some people around here who never met a tax they didn't like.

[at the 1980 presidential debate, when Jimmy Carter accused him of opposing Medicare]: There you go again.

[from his Presidential Farewell Address]: I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.

[on Bill Clinton]: This fellow they've nominated claims he's the new Thomas Jefferson. Well, let me tell you something: I knew Thomas Jefferson. He was a friend of mine. And governor, you're no Thomas Jefferson.

Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.

If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.

The taxpayer: that's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination.

No arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.

[Notre Dame University. 17 May, 1981]: The years ahead will be great ones for our country, for the cause of freedom and the spread of civilization. The West will not contain Communism, it will transcend Communism. We will not bother to denounce it, we'll dismiss it as a sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written.

Film is forever. I've been trapped in some film forever myself.

Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to understand that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.

It isn't that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so much that isn't so.

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."


Swing Your Lady (1938) $200/week
Love Is on the Air (1937) $200/week

From Josh Trevino, comes this observation. Head over for the whole thing.
Truth and victory.
My colleague at The Remedy, Ryan Williams, is not much younger than me — he was eight when Reagan left office, and I was thirteen — but the age difference is enough, I trust, that I may remember with some greater clarity one of the key features of Reagan’s anti-Communist rhetoric: it did not buy into the basic premises of the enemy. It did not concede, at least rhetorically, the commanding role of the state, nor the Hegelian/Marxist march of history, nor the forced perfectibility of man, nor the founding nobility of the Communist enterprise. Reagan’s genius was to recall the American people, and to a lesser extent the West, to the need to proceed from the premises of our Founders: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as the inalienable rights of man, and government as existing merely to secure their just exercise. One did not win arguments with Communism when accepting Communist starting-points for those arguments. They led inevitably to the Communist end, and appeals to humanity were steamrolled by appeals to inexorable logic.

Happy Birthday, Mister President! We miss you! We will not forget you!


dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, like thanks so much for the Dinomention. Didn't know that Ronnie was the first Dinoguest. Never was, never will be anyone as cool as the King of Cool. Oh, to return to the days when Dino walked the earth.

benning said...

Those, my friend, were the good old days!

WomanHonorThyself said...

wow Benning..talk about thorough!..lol..now this I did not KNOW: For two weeks in 1954, Reagan opened as a stand-up comic at the Ramona Room..wow!

Gayle said...

I didn't know that he had ever been a stand-up comic either, Benning, nor did I realize he had ever been a Democrat! I can't believe I didn't know that because I've read a lot on this wonderful man. Well, I feel honored to be in great company; I started out as a Democrat too. Carter changed all that! Great post, Benning. Thank you! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow.... fantastic post benning ... man .. could we use someone like him today .. He sure had it right about congress ...

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie Benning, like the good ol' days Dinoindeed!!!

Always On Watch said...

When I cast my ballot--twice--for Ronald Reagan, I did so with enthusiasm and conviction. Though I never met the man himself, I miss him. I began missing him the moment he left office.

My husband met Governor Reagan when my mother-in-law worked to get Reagan elected in California. To this day, my husband speaks of what a wonderful person Ronald Reagan was. He'd get down in the floor and play with children and my inlaws' house. Not a stuffed shirt!

Of all the many brilliant utterances and writing from Reagan, these two lines always make me well up with tears:

[from the Alzheimer's letter]: I now begin the journey that will lead me to the sunset of my life. I know that for America, there will always be a bright dawn ahead.

In his final years, Reagan was blessed not to have seen and understood 9/11. Thank God he was spared from experiencing that day! It would have broken his heart--and made him righteouly angry at the same time.

Mike's America said...

I love that photo of Ron & Nancy at the ranch. I have a copy around the house somewhere.

Thanks for remembering President Reagan's birthday. It should be a national holiday.

Last year I did a week long series of posts from others remembering the 25th anniversary of Reagan's first inaugural. Lots of photos, audio clips from the "tear down this wall" speech etc:


Brooke said...

Thanks so much for the post about this great man!

Would that we could find another Ronnie to take the Oval Office!

Always On Watch said...

I posted a link to your excellent work here.

Dardin Soto said...

The quotes,.. those marvelous quotes alone can fill a tome of memories. This is a beautiful piece. I envy the time you must dedicate to form such a presentation. Bravo, Bravo,... and BRAVO!

Anonymous said...

He was the greatest president of the 20th century. Unfortunatley there is no one like him today. We could really use another Reagan in the White House.

blogagog said...

What a guy!

"[on Vietnam]: I have a feeling that we are doing better in the war than the people have been told."

His words are still true.