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U.S. Presidents in the Hearst Newsreels

Theodore Roosevelt
February 17, 2019 - 2:53 pm

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Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Cliff Retallick for the silent portion of this program.

The Hearst Metrotone News Collection contains moving images from the silent era through the late 1960s. This important collection of 20th century news film, unsurprisingly, includes extensive coverage of the U.S. presidents during that period.

Today's program, in honor of Presidents’ Day, is dedicated to 12 of these U.S. presidents. With speeches on policy, diplomatic trips overseas, parades, vacations and glimpses of life after the presidency, there will be an opportunity to see and hear the former presidents and observe how they conducted themselves in the public eye.

This show will include a large selection of newsreel stories and some unreleased material from both silent and sound Hearst newsreel series. Starting with a short compilation of inaugurations from McKinley to Coolidge, it will be followed by an overview of the presidents during the silent era. Highlights include an obituary for President Theodore Roosevelt, President Taft breaking ground for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, President Wilson in a parade in Los Angeles, President-elect Harding taking the Panama Rest Cure, and former President Coolidge touring a movie studio.

The program will conclude with the presidents of the sound era. Beginning with President Hoover, featured stories include the president, along with Henry Ford, honoring Thomas Edison during the Golden Jubilee of the incandescent light bulb; President Franklin D. Roosevelt speaking about recovery from the Depression without dictatorship; President Truman taking a break in Key West, Florida; President Eisenhower giving his “Back to God” talk; President Kennedy discussing the possibility of a joint U.S.-Soviet Moon mission; and President Johnson speaking on the Great Society.

With over 60 newsreel excerpts, this program will be an exciting, whirlwind tour of presidential history from the previous century.Jeffrey Bickel

DCP, b/w, total program running time: 120 min.