tv [untitled] February 20, 2012 12:30pm-1:00pm EST
to do what is right as god gives him the wisdom to know the right. most people come into the office with dreams to dream and they leave it with many satisfactions and some disappointments, and always some of their dreams have not come true. and i am no exception. but i'm so grateful and so proud that i've had my chance. and as to how successful i've been in doing the greatest good for the greatest number, the people themselves and their posterity must decide. i have the satisfaction, my
twitter, and foursqua foursquare. follow us all weekend every weekend and online at c-span.org/history. american history tv usually shown on the weekends on c-span 3 will continue this week in prime time. our focus on tuesday night is black history month. at 8:00 eastern with the ground breaking of the new smithsonian museum of african-american history and culture taking place wednesday on the national mall. the museum's founding director lonnie bunch takes us through the storage facility to see some of the artifacts that will be on display. at 8:30 the relationship between martin luther king jr. and his
mentors, benjamin mace. at 10:00, to nashville, tennessee, the museum built on the cite where martin luther king jr. wass as is nated. at 10:30, professor william foster teaches a class on the history of the "n" world on american literature and culture with a focus on uncle tom's cabin and mark twain's huckleberry finn. this is american history tv on c-span 3. you're joining us on c-span 3 american history tv every weekend, 48 hours of the people and the events that tell the american story. we're continuing our special look at the nation's first ladies on this president's day weekend. and we revisit nancy reagan's 1999 tour of the ronald reagan presidential library. >> mrs. reagan, for somebody who has not been to this library,
how do you get here? where is it? >> it's? n. s it's in simi valley. it sits high on 100 acres. and it's not too far from los angeles. we can leave our house and be here in 45 minutes. it's beautiful, just beautiful. everybody how old coshould come it. >> one of the things that struck me after being at the ranch was the similarity here, the winding road, the hills and all that. did you think about that when you built it? >> well, ronnie -- ronnie always liked to be high. shining city on the hill. our house in belaire is high and the ranch is high. this is high. and that always appealed to him. he could never live in a valley, you know, in a valley, i guess
you call it. >> when you thought about this library what was your objective? >> our objective was to have his legacy very much very much have everything here so that people could come and see and read all of his papers and see the history of him and of me and him. and it's here for everybody. >> when you see the early years here, what's -- what comes to mind? >> well, this is -- this is where ronnie was born. he was born above the store as he keeps always saying. small little room. he and his brother neil who --
they were very close in age. two years apart in age. his mother and father. >> have you been to tampico? >> yes, i've been to tampico and dicks dickson. >> and over here we've got some of the things we've been talking about lately with the program. the eureka sweater? >> yes, and his mother and father and his brother and ronnie. and that's -- at school here. this is at school. >> grade school? >> yeah. there's ronnie putting his hand up to his cheek, his chin. and that little girl down there with the checked blouse, he had a crush on that little girl. and i could have -- he asked me, which girl do you think i had a
crush on? i said that one. >> did he tell you her name? >> no, he couldn't remember the name. >> now, when he was growing up in illinois, you're a little bit younger than he is. >> yeah. >> but you grew up how far from the dickson area? >> well, i grew up in chicago. i don't know. it was close. >> what part of chicago did you live in? >> n ere near the north side. that's the lifeguard where he saved 77 lives. he loved those summers when he lifeguarded. he always said he -- he didn't have to worry about money because he never -- he never could spend the money. he would go early morning and w work all of the way through until late at night. he never had a chance to spend the money. >> did you know his parents? >> i knew his mother. his father died very young, 58.
and it was before i knew ronnie. >> anything you see here from these early years you want to talk about? just holler as we walk through. we're going through over to the hollywood years. >> yes. now, you know, there's been so much talk about this movie. i have to tell you, i thought the movie was funny. i thought it was cute. >> "bedtime for bonzo"? >> i thought it was a cute movie. >> what year was it? >> gee, i don't know. i don't know. i don't know. >> what was his first year for acting and what was your first year? >> oh, dear. to ask me years is fatal. >> '40s? >> my first year was -- had to be '49, in movies. i had been in theater before in
new york. >> well, what was it that got you interested in movies and the theater and acting? >> well, my mother was an actress. and i had gone to college and graduated and hadn't found the man i wanted to marry. i didn't want to sit in chicago and do nothing. so i became an actress. >> any picture up here that's your favorite from your acting days? what's this one right here? >> oh, that's at the -- we were at chaissons withholden and don -- anyway, that was at chaissons. this is at the store club. this was our first visit to new york after we were married. i was so excited. >> did he change from that day as he got older much? >> no, never. never. ronnie -- ronnie stayed the same
all the time. he never changed. >> how many movies did you act in? >> 11. >> did you act together? >> once. >> what was that like? >> it was fun except they had a scene -- he played a man in service, commander abbott, and i played a navy nurse. and there was a scene where he was supposed to be telling me good-bye. and we hadn't been married too lo long. oh, dear. i took it all very seriously. and i started to cry. and they had to keep reshooting and reshooting. >> there's a picture i want to ask you about over here. you've got president reagan
here, jack benny, george burns, and you're going to have help. >> al jolson, isn't it? yes. yes. >> did you know all these folks? >> i didn't know al jolson. i knew jack benny and george burns and ronald reagan. >> what was his relationship to them? >> i don't know what this was. i don't know what this was. >> but root over height over he was a political -- >> this is a favorite picture of mine. grover cleveland and alexander. that was -- i love that picture. >> political question i want to ask you about is over here with president truman with your husband endorsing president truman right there? >> oh, yes. he was a big fan of truman's. >> are people surprised when they find out? >> yes, yes. >> what did he like about him? >> he liked him because he thought he was strong and direct
and principled. he just liked him. >> were you interested in politics? >> no, i wasn't. i wasn't. >> can you remember -- >> i knew nothing about politics when we got married. nothing. >> were your mother and father political? >> no, not really. >> can you remember the first time you got interested? >> well, after i married ronnie. he had always been involved in politics. he would always go out and campaign for whoever he was interested in. and in those days, you know, he would get in the car and just drive to wherever the event was. never occurred to him to ever ask for gasoline money or a car and driver. you know. never occurred to him. >> is it hard, right behind you are pictures of your husband with a lot of leading ladies. is it hard to watch your spouse
in some of these scenes in these movies? >> no. yes, no, no. he always talked about the actors who would get leading la lady-itis as he called it. it ended as soon as the picture was over. >> the hollywood years? >> this is taking out our marriage license. >> how many years ago? >> 47. it will be 4 marc in march. coming up, 48. >> let's move over to the inauguration years. -- well, before we get there, let's go to the governor's time. the years you were in sacramento, what were they? >> eight years. they were wonderful years.
well, they were wonderful and they were -- they were difficult years because that was during the '60s and rioting and berkeley and -- they were difficult years. but he -- and pat brown wanted ronnie to win the primary because he thought he would be the easiest to defeat. turned out to not be so. >> on this wall over here is something i know you were involved in but so was the president. these are the p.o.w. bracelets? >> oh, yes, yes. >> that bottom bracelet down there is lieutenant commander john mccain. >> uh-huh. >> and you see today when pictures of john mccain with the governor and he often credits him forgetting h getting him in in all of this. >> we gave -- when they first
came back, wedinners for the first ones to arrive back. i have some wonderful presents that they would give me. some brought me the tin cups that they ate from or a spoon that they used or a package of cigarettes. it was -- it was -- and to hear their stories, you couldn't believe what these men went true. i mean, it was unbelievable. and you thought to yourself, you wondered forbid, if you were in the same spot, if you could withstand that. i don't know. >> and now as i said, let's go on to the inauguration for president. february 20th, 1981.
do you remember what you felt like standing there? >> you know, it's terrible. very, very emotional moments for me. like when we got married, i remember very little of it. i don't even remember when the man said, i pronounce you manned and wife. i don't remember it. i wish we could run it all over again. can we do it all over again? >> do you feel the sense of the -- you know, of the reins being passed on when you're standing there and he takes the oath? >> i don't think it really hits you until after the parade and you walk into the white house for the first time and then -- and then you -- and then it hits you. i think that's when it does. >> what kind of things would he talk about during this time, between the two of you? >> during the eight years? >> no, no, at the beginning of
all this, during inauguration? was he excited about it, nervous? >> yes, yes, excited, yes, of course. and the parade and seeing people. the groups that were in the parade and our friends all being there was -- i mean, there were only, what, 39 people ahead of him who had ever done that. and -- >> there is a button right over here that has to do with the hostages that day. >> yes. that was a big -- the hostages were released and -- but he didn't announce it until we went in for lunch because he wanted them to get out iranian airspace, and than he got up and announced. >> when did you all know that that was going to happen? >> we didn't know until -- i think it was -- well, it was
after the swearing in. but he couldn't -- he couldn't announce it, didn't want to announce it until after they were out of iranian airspace, as i say. >> when people come to the library, is there one or two things that they find to be their favorite? >> well, you would really have to ask them. i think they're always curious about the pberlin wall. and the whole thing is so -- i mean, it's all here. everything in his life is here. it would be hard for me to say which one they would choose. >> right over here is march 30th, 1981. where were you when you heard the president had been shot?
>> i was at a luncheon, an art gallery luncheon. and for some reason, it's never happened to me before, god willing, won't happen to me again, but i suddenly had the feeling i had to go. and -- >> you mean just -- >> just -- i don't know what it was. i just had the feeling i had to get back to the white house. and i did. i went up to the solarium. we were doing a lot of work there at the time. george, the head of my detail, came -- it was a ramp up to the solarium. and he came to the bottom -- th ramp and he came to the bottom and beckoned me to come down.
i thought, that's funny. why doesn't he just come up. i went down. he said, there's been a shooting. and by that time i'm on my way to the elevator. we went down the elevator. he says he hasn't been shot. he hasn't been hurt. and we got downstairs. he kept saying -- i said, i'm going to the hospital. he said, it's not necessary. he hasn't been hurt. they are on their -- it's not necessary. i said, george, you either get the kcar, or i'm going to walk. and we got to the hospital and mike deaver met me at the hospital and said he has been shot.
and there were police all around and a lot of noise. they put me in a little small room. there was one desk and one chair. that was it. i kept wanting to see ronnie. and they kept saying, he's all right, but you can't see him. i kept saying, well, if he's all right, why can't i see him? finally they let me see him. he was lying there with that thing on his face to help him breathe. he lifted it up. that's when he said, honey, i forgot to duck. >> did the two of you ever talk
about the danger you faced, potential assassination? >> never thought about it. never thought about it. you don't think about that. you think maybe your husband might get sick. you never think he's going to be shot ever. we never thought about it. >> over here you've got the actual x-ray. have you looked at that? what was the decision on the x-ray? >> they had a hard time. the bullet ended up -- it was a devastator bullet. the bullet ended up an inch or two from his heart. they couldn't find it. every time they would think they had it, it would get away from them. by that time they had moved me to a room up above with televisions going. the nurse kept coming up there
telling me what was happening, the progress. and she finally came up and said, well, we just can't seem to get it. we might have to leave it in him. that didn't sound like a very good idea to me. and finally this wonderful doctor, who had been up all night we found out later with a patient found it and got it out. but it was -- we almost lost him. >> you know we were at the ranch yesterday. i know one of the things that hit me when i was up there, we were talking to john barleta from the secret service, that any time you were there in that little house, there were 53 secret service on the perimeter. it seemed to me when i was there, you'd feel very funny knowing all these people were out there. >> no.
you weren't aware of it at all. the house didn't seem so little to us. the house seemed just wonderful to us, just right. we didn't want a great big house. you know, when we wanted to vacation, ronnie always liked to be outdoors and build things, as john told you yesterday. he built all those fences, which john told you about. we made a lot of changes in the house, which john told you about. you may not know about. we enclosed the porch. we put a fireplace on the porch. there was no heating or air conditioning or anything like that. but it was heaven for us. we loved it. >> one of the other things that struck me, it can be very cold in that little house and can be hot, i assume, on a hot day. no air conditioning, no heat.
>> no. >> i don't know whether i should go this far but sounds like you were roughing it in this place. >> didn't seem to me we were roughing it. i loved it. we had fires, electric blanket. >> do you miss it? >> i miss it. i do miss it. but i couldn't go this without ronnie. >> why don't we go look at the gifts? >> okay. >> mrs. reagan, we're in the gifts part of the museum and library. let's start with the egg. >> the egg was from king faud. it was a beautiful egg, almost like a faberge egg. he gave very nice presents. >> what did you think -- i don't know if it was a requirement or not, but of the practice of giving gifts among heads of state. >> well, it was very nice.
for us, it was a little embarrassing. you were limited as to what you could give financially. >> dollarwise? >> yeah. >> do you remember what the element was? >> gosh, i think it was $100 or something. they gave us beautiful, beautiful things. you felt a little self-conscious. >> did you get involved in picking the gifts yourself? >> to give to them? >> uh-huh. >> sure, yes. >> do you remember a gift you gave somebody else? >> i can't remember. i don't remember. i just remember it was hard to keep within the limits. >> what's this big photograph over here. >> the big photograph. >> arrival of somebody -- >> it's an arrival ceremony. >> did you go to those? >> yes. there i am. yes, i did. i went to all of them. >> did you enjoy those? >> yes, they were fun. yes. >> when you had a head of state visiting, did you do your own
briefing to get up to speed on who they were? >> well, somebody would give me a briefing. but after the arrival ceremony, you bring -- the man would go with ronnie to the oval office and the woman would go with me upstairs and have some coffee. we'd sit and talk. it was interesting and it was wonderful fun. >> why did we hear so much about your relationship with mrs. gorbachev? i'm sure you remember those stories. >> yes, i do. yes, i do. i guess because when -- well, it was a big -- this was the first time that there had been a meeting between us and soviet
union. but then when they got -- when we got over there and meetings started, the press didn't have anything -- they couldn't get into the meetings, couldn't talk to my husband or gorbachev. so they concentrated and reza and me, more than i thought was necessary, really. it wasn't really vital as to what i had on or what she had on. you know, there were very important decisions being made there. >> when you look back at these days when you were in that white house for eight years, what are the positive moments you remember? what kind of days were the most fun days for you? >> well, when you're in the white house, there's so many highs and lows. it's -- you really can't pick.
the lowest day was when ronnie was shot. that's an easy one. but it's hard to pick a day, because there were so many highs, and there were so many lows. >> did you get tired? >> sure. i mean, i was also out doing just say no program. sure you get tired. as a matter of fact, i was reading my diaries, and i thought, how did i ever do all this. i don't know how i did all that. >> when did you -- did you write a diary every day? >> uh-huh. >> what time of day would you do it? >> at nighttime. sometimes -- and ronnie did, too. sometimes we'd be so tired that we'd put it off till the next morning and rely on our memory. but we did it every day. >> and what -- is that
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