Ronald Wilson Reagan Part 57 (Bad Actor?)

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan prepares to present the Ronald Reagan Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mr. Bob Hope during his 94th birthday celebration. July 1, 1997

File:Nancy Reagan presents Ronald Reagan Freedom Award to Bob Hope.jpg

Jane “legs a mile long” Russell, Bob Hope and Roy Rogers from Son of Paleface (1952) – and a treat at the very end!

My grandfather, Everette Hatcher Sr. (1903-1988), and I saw Bob Hope do a performance in Memphis in 1982. It was great. I know that we used to watch Hope on TV together and he would always comment how amazing Hope was to be hosting so many TV Shows at his age.

I will be quoting from an article “Five Myths about Ronald Reagan” (Washington Post, Feb 4, 2011) by Edmund Morris.

1. He was a bad actor.

Well, yes and no. Most of the movies he made as a Warner Bros. contract player are unwatchable by persons of sound mind. When he was president, it was easy to laugh at them. The spectacle of the leader of the free world, a.k.a. Secret Service agent Brass Bancroft, deploying an enormous ray gun against an airborne armada was especially hilarious in 1983, the year he announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, that vaporizer of foreign nuclear missiles. “All right, Hayden – focus that inertia projector on ’em and let ’em have it!”

Even when Reagan believed he was acting well, as in “Kings Row,” he betrayed infallible signs of thespian mediocrity: an unwillingness to listen to other performers and an inability to communicate thoughts. Now that he is dead, however, one feels an odd tenderness for the effort he put into every role – particularly in early movies, when he struggled to control a tendency of his lips to writhe around his too-rapid speech.

Ironically, he was transformed into a superb actor when he took on the roles of governor of California, presidential candidate and president of the United States. Then, as never in his movies, he became authoritative, authentic, irresistible to eye and ear. His two greatest performances, in my opinion, were at the Republican National Convention in 1976, when he effortlessly stole Gerald Ford’s thunder as nominee and made the delegates regret their choice, and at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1985, when he delivered the supreme speech of his presidency.

I asked him once if he had any nostalgia for the years he was nuzzling up to Ann Sheridan and Doris Day on camera. He gestured around the Oval Office. “Why should I? I have the biggest stage in the world, right here!”

Pete Leabo / AP

No. 27: A halfcourt shot KOs the champs

Midwest Regional semifinals, March 14, 1981 — Arkansas trailed defending champion Louisville 73-72 with five seconds remaining, but guard U.S. Reed was stuck trying to wind through defenders and was unable to pass. So he launched a 49-foot heave that found the bottom of the net. “Before the game I was shooting long shots in warmups,” he said. “They were so long the guys in the line were saying, ‘What are you doing?’ I was saying I may have to hit a long shot at the end of the game. You never know.”

n pictures: Japan earthquake and tsunami

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