Discovering “Back to the Future” three weeks after its release during a private screening, Ronald Reagan, a tenant of the White House at the time, was apparently very tense during a specific sequence of the film. ..
We will not do you the affront to re-explain to you again how Back to the Future is an absolutely cult and above all transgenerational work. And you have certainly known quite a few anecdotes about and around the film since then. But the tasty one that follows might surprise you.
The organization of film screenings / presentations at the tenant of the White House is a very old tradition; of course most often in the presence of the film crew. Some of these screenings have left some memorable memories, not always for the same reasons. That of Tony Richardson’s film for example, Tom Jones, worn by Albert Finney and released in 1963. It is the very last film that John Fitzegerald Kennedy saw at a screening at the White House, before being assassinated shortly after, in November 1963. Or that of Independence Day, screened to the family of Bill Clinton, while the film crew was rather nervous: disintegrate the White House in a film, which is moreover a national holiday. and even though it’s a sci-fi movie, it was a taboo.
Back to the futureHe was not screened at the White House, but at Camp David, the official resort of the President of the United States located in Maryland, a little less than a hundred kilometers from Washington. The anecdote was told in 2018 by Mark Weinberg, the former adviser and spokesperson for Ronald Reagan; former actor successfully converted into politics, and elected President of the United States in 1981.
Reagan discovered the film at his vacation resort three weeks after its theatrical release. If he turned out to be a very good audience when he discovered the (mis) adventures of our favorite Marty McFly, it twitched for the first time when Marty passed in front of a movie poster, Cattle Queen of Montana; The Queen of the Prairie in French. A 1954 movie starring Ronald Reagan.
Below is a small screenshot of the brief sequence …
A little later in the film, Marty escapes from the trap dinner at his mother-to-be, in an attempt to find Doc Brown. Ringing at his door and trying to convince him that he comes from the future, Doc then lets go: “So tell me, visitor from the future, who is the president of the United States in 1985?” “Ronald Reagan!” Marty answers him. “Ronald Reagan, the actor ??? Ha! And who’s the vice president? Jerry Lewis? Guess Jane Wyman is the country’s first lady?” Ironically throws the Doc at him.
According to Weinberg, this streak would have offended Reagan. Jane Wyman was indeed the first wife of the future president, from whom he had divorced in 1949. In 1955, Reagan was remarried with Nancy Reagan, but the Doc did not care, and the writers of the film with.
“Wyman’s name was unspoken within the team surrounding the president” commented Weinberg; “That night was barely the second time in eight years of service that I had heard Wyman’s name spoken. During his tenure, Reagan never publicly mentioned his name on the team.”. The -finally brief-sequence still cast a deadly silence in the audience. “It was as if Reagan had struggled to forget this entire period of his life, and resented being brought back in spite of himself to this period.”
Reagan was not, however, resentful. The proof: he even paid homage to our favorite Doc Emmett Brown, in a speech given on February 4, 1986 on the State of the Union; an annual event in the United States in which the president presents his program for the current year to the legislative branch of the federal government.
He ended his speech by urging Americans to remember that the sky was the limit. “It has never been such an exciting time to be alive. A time of wonder and heroic accomplishment. As they put it in the Back to the Future movie: ‘Where we go, we don’t we don’t need roads “. Nice tribute to the very last line of the film!
The video sequence, below: