Friday, April 27, 2007

Jack Valenti is featured in Presidents' Movies DVD

Jack Valenti, an aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson who went on to lead the Motion Picture Association of America and devise the voluntary film-rating system, died yesterday at 85, days before his recollections and anecdotes about the White House theatre and LBJ’s movie tastes will be featured on the DVD version of Frozen Pictures’ monumental documentary series, All The Presidents’ Movies, narrated by Martin Sheen.

“I had an advertising, political consulting agency in Houston. And I had known the vice president and the Senator for years before that, and my agency was handling the press during the visit of President Kennedy and Vice President Johnson to Texas, and I was in Houston and Fort Worth and Dallas. We were going on to Austin. And I was in the motorcade in Dallas when President Kennedy was murdered. And then I was ordered aboard Air Force One by the new President. And I was, I guess, the first of his newly-hired special assistants, and flew back with him on Air Force One, from Dallas to Andrews Field, up at Washington on November 22nd, 1963.

“I left the White House in mid 1966. And from then on out, we were supplying movies. I wanted to make sure that every president and his family could see any new movie that came out. And we would immediately ship it to (projectionist) Paul Fischer at the White House.

“I think it’s useful and valuable for a President to watch a film that the people that he has, by solemn oath, sworn to serve, are also watching. And there is that relevance, that rapport, that connection. I think it’s very helpful to be aware of the popular culture."

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