The Presidency in Film and Television
- Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies
- Center for the Study of Film and History
- Volume 30, Number 2, 2000
- pp. 1-4
- Additional Information
Special Editor's Introduction | Editor's Corner We of Film & History have been busy since our lastjournal issue and here are some of the recent highlights: First-ever Film & History conference: The Presidency in Film and Television Although our journal has been in existence since 1970, we have never conducted our own conferences, preferring over the last 30 years to sit comfortably under the aegis of the American Historical Association where— since the John E. O'Connor and Martin Jackson days—the journal has conducted workshops, screenings, and panels as an affiliated society of theAHA. In the last four years, thejournal has mounted panels at the national meetings of the Popular Culture Association and the American culture Association—most recently with the leadership ofRobert J. Fyne ofthe Kean University of New Jersey, our bon vivant and book review editor. What we have never done is enjoy our own conference. Susan Rollins, along with the new Film and History League, has coordinated a meeting for us in the shadow ofthe Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, some 45 minutes from the Los Angeles Airport (LAX). This is an election year and the conference will take place just after the Presidential elections. Entitled THE PRESIDENCY IN FILM AND TV: HOLLYWOOD VIEWS THE WHITE HOUSE, this meeting will be the very first opportunity for subscribers to Film & History to meeting, greet, and create a community of scholars and enthusiasts. As citizens, we will have just voted in a major election and the conference will be a wonderful opportunity for us to reflect on the significance ofthe event as it has reverberated in our chosen areas of study— film and history. We have reserved meeting and hotel rooms at the Westlake Hyatt since the Reagan Presidential Library is out on a high point of land removed from hotels, restaurants, etc and will be better visited during the meeting than used as a site for all-day activities . Naturally, we will provided access to the Reagan Library where participants have been promised VIP treatment. (The VIP tour will take participants behind the displays to archives and storage areas where this The Cast of NBC's West Wing presidential library preserves history for us to study.) Currently approved papers run the gamut from cinematic treatments ofWashington and Jefferson to an analysis of the Bill Clinton video for the May, 2000 dinner of the White House Correspondents Association. Did you know that William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt used film to promote their presidential images ? We certainly didn't until proposals on these topics were submitted. And what about Presidential wives and mistresses (first and second Ladies) as treated in film and television?. Very recently, there has been a spat of films about fictional Presidents—most noticeably The American President, Air Force One, My FellowAmericans, Wag the Dog, and Primary Colors. In one case, the film generated a television series, West Wing, which has deserved much of the attention it has received as a shining exception to the drivel in TV's prime time. We are working very hard to bring in a director ofone ofthe majorPresidential films plus cast and writers for West Wing. (We are still in negotiations on the details. West Wing has been nominated for nearly twenty Emmys and the cast/crew/writers have been inundated with public requests like ours.) Finally, over the last three years PBS has broadcast anumberofexcellent documentaries on the Presidency. At least one major director of such films will be in attendance. Most of the meeting will consist of panels in traditional academic panels—three or four speakers in a 90-minute format. On the other hand, there will be screenings of films from the various Presidential libraries, there will be a "gift shop" established with Presidential items, and book displays by publishers who have a special interest in the Presidency. (One such publisher has promised to consider a collection of our essays for publication from the conference as a whole; another publisher has welcomed a proposal for a book Vol. 30.2 (2000) I 1 Rollins I The Editor's Reflections and Reports of essays on West Wing.) We are delighted to announce that our Founders, John E. O'Connor...