CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

Angels Don't Die: the life of Ronald Reagan

"And whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope that it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts.
Ronald Reagan
1992 Republican Convention

President Ronald Reagan was laid to rest on the 25th anniversary of John Wayne's death. These two friends were reviled by elitist media critics, but were loved by the American public. These elitist critics never understood the appeal of these two men. As John Wayne once said in an interview, "You can not sell sincerity."

There is bitterness toward Ronald Reagan that does not subside. There is meanness to Reagan’s critics that may be buried with their bones on some fateful day. According to the elitist critic, Reagan created class warfare and prolonged the AIDS epidemic. Yet as we have witnessed from the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, The Great Communicator’s mourners came from all walks of life. This national outpouring of grief and memorials has only poured the salt on the wounds of these very bitter people

When Patti Davis wrote a scandalous book about her family, it was front-page news. I found "Angels Don't Die - My Father's Gift of Faith " on the bargain rack of a bookstore chain shortly after publication. Like Ruben "Hurricane" Carter's out-of-print book "The 15th Round," sometimes you do not find a book, sometimes the book finds you. Patti wrote a book in which she reconciled with her father. "Angels Don't Die - My Father's Gift of Faith" is a spiritual book of common sense philosophy and conviction. Patti comes to grips with her father's emotional distance. Despite his showmanship and gregarious nature, Patti learns that her Daddy was really a very shy man.

Reagan was very humble about his Hollywood career. While under contract with the Warner Brothers studio, Reagan undertook every acting assignment and was in routine B-movies. Reagan supported Errol Flynn in the western, "Santa Fe Trial" and a World War II propaganda movie, "Desperate Journey." Reagan escorted Bette Davis through her three hankie classic "Dark Victory," which co-starred Humphrey Bogart and George Brent. Reagan’s last role was that of a villain in a Ernest Hemingway adaptation "The Killers." Reagan shot it out with Corporal Lee Marvin and slapped around Angie Dickinson.

Reagan gave his best performances in "Knute Rockne - All American" and in "Kings Row." While his role in "Knute Rockne- All American" was small, it was memorable. He said his immortal line "...tell the boys to win one for the Gipper." It became a standard line at Republican conventions since 1980.

"King's Row" is an excellent movie about the dark side of a mid western town at the close the 19th century. Third billed behind Ann Sheridan and Robert Cummings, Reagan portrays Drake McHugh. The son of wealthy parent, McHugh falls in love and marries Randy (Ann Sheridan). Drake’s fortunes tumble and he goes to work in a train yard. An accident occurs and Drake loses both legs. It is learned that Drake's amputation was unnecessary, because the Doctor disliked Drake's former bon vivant lifestyle.

Based on the novel by Henry Bellamen, screenwriter Casey Robinson transformed the novel of incest, homosexuality and sadistic doctors into acceptable 1940's entertainment. Reagan earned his best notices ever as an actor. With the exception of some documentaries, Reagan did not headline a movie for four years due to his military service in World War II.

Legally blind since his youth, Reagan was assigned to desk duty and worked his way up the ranks to Captain. One little known fact about Ronald Reagan was his preservation of military documentaries for Fort (Hal) Roach in California. His office was one of the repositories of film from General Eisenhower’s visit to Auschwitz. Years after the war, when it was questioned if the Holocaust actually happened or if it were staged as propaganda tool; Reagan presented a documentary film of Jews being machine-gunned while trying to climb barb wired toward freedom.

The son of an alcoholic father, Reagan was raised with strong Christian values and was a proponent of the golden rule. Reagan’s 93 years were full; from lifeguard radio broadcaster, movie actor, television commentary, governor and president. An unbelievable movie, but a realistic life in the United States of America. Ray Charles and Ronald Reagan must be having a fascinating conversation in Heaven at the moment. I am sad that Mr. Reagan has gone from this world; he was a positive influence on my life in many ways, through good times and bad times.

" Now, I would appeal to you to invigorate democracy in your own Neighborhoods'"

Ronald Reagan
1992 Republican Convention
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