Monday, February 7, 2011

Ronald and Nancy Reagan arriving at the CPH, 1966

Rolling back the clock nearly two decades from my last post, here is a shot of Ronald and Nancy Regan getting out their limousine as guests of honor at the opening of the Century Plaza in 1966. Harry Mulligan, the Hotel's firsts General Manager was on hand to introduce the world to a broad list of innovations at the CPH, including its state of the art security procedures quickly made the Century Plaza a destination resort for innumerable galas and high profile functions.  Additionally, it was the first hotel with clock radios in ever room. Century City was rapidly establishing itself, built on what only a few years early was the back lots of Fox Studios.

This rare photograph shows Ronald and Nancy Reagan as they arrive at the Century Plaza Hotel to attend the Century Ball, a gala event celebrating the opening of the Hotel • June 1966

Hand-tinted © Bennett Hall • From the Collection of The Century Plaza Hotel

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ronald Reagan on balcony of Century Plaza Tower, 1987

President Reagan was not only the first guest to enter the newly completed Century Plaza Tower in 1984, but he stayed in this magnificent 360-degree view suite encompassing the entire 32nd floor of the Tower with such frequency that it was dubbed the "Western White House" by the media.   In 1999, the Suite was remodeled and christened the "Ronald Reagan Suite", an opening attended by Nancy Reagan and  extensive media coverage.  We had the honor of developing the strategy for this project for the hotel, St. Regis at the time,  and producing the exhibits chronicling the President life and relate publications.

President Reagan poses for Life photographer Harry Benson on the balcony of the future  Ronald Reagan Suite • August 28, 1987

digitally mastered from collection of the Ronald Reagan Library
Photograph by Pete Souza

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ronald Reagan confers with the Pope, 1982

Our most popular image  - there is something astonishing about this view.  I once met a man at my gallery who said he was with the security detail and was in the room at the time that this meeting occurred - remember it as with a chill of destiny brewing as he recalled President Reagan telling the Pope that it was their destiny to stop the "Evil Empire" of the Soviet Union.

You can obtain a copy of this and many others high quality digitally mastered photographs of Ronald Reagan, other presidents and world leaders, framed or unframed through the link below

Presidential Web Gallery - on World Wide Archive

This became a mutual crusade aligned these two leaders with this objective, establishing through "holy alliance". Pope John Paul hated communism intractably, leading to their first meeting June 7, 1982, in the Vatican Library. 

The operation while clandistine was chonicles by Time in its February 24 issue, 1992.   According to this article the key strategic elements were: 

"One of his earliest goals as President, Reagan says, was to recognize the Vatican as a state 'and make them an ally'"

"Both the Pope and the President were convinced that Poland could be broken out of the Soviet orbit if the Vatican and the U.S. committed their resources to destabilizing the Polish government and keeping the outlawed Solidarity movement alive after the declaration of martial law in 1981."

"A free non-communist Poland, they were convinced, would be a dagger to the heart of the Soviet empire; and if Poland became democratic, other East European states would follow."

" The objective was akin to creating a Christian Democratic majority in Poland with the church and the overwhelmingly Catholic membership of Solidarity as the dominant political force in a post-communist Poland."

"Both sides agreed that the Soviets must become the focus of an international campaign of [Economic] isolation and the withholding of Western and Japanese technology from Moscow."

"The key Administration players were all devout Roman Catholics—CIA Chief William Casey, Allen, Haig, [Vernon] Walters, William Wilson, Reagan's first ambassador to the Vatican. They regarded the US-Vatican relationship as a holy alliance: the Moral force of the Pope and the teaching of their church combined with their fierce anti-communism"

Archbishop Pio Lashi said: "It was a very complex situation But I told Vernon, 'Listen to the Holy Father [Pope]. We have 2,000 years' experience at this.'"

"Step by reluctant step, the Soviets and the Communist government of Poland bowed to the moral, economic and political pressure imposed by the Pope and the President."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ronald Reagan Suite - Slideshow

Get the flash player here:

Based on Business Image Group’s recommendations, the Century Plaza Hotel, redesigned its Tower penthouse suite to commemorate its long-standing relationship with former President Ronald. The project featured vintage photographs showcasing the "Reagan Legacy" reproduced in museum quality exhibits. Support services included consultations on interior styling, speciality artwork, brochures, and digital media management to facility public relations activities.

More information on Ronald Reagan Suite

To purchase prints from this collection - Web Galleries

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ronald Reagan as George Gipp ("The Gipper")

Ronald Reagan as George Gipp ("The Gipper") from the Warner Bros. film, "Knute Rockne, All American" 1940. Reagan played this role ( George "The Gipper" Gipp) in the film Knute Rockne, All American; this led to his lifelong nickname "the Gipper".

Reagan first starring role was in 1937, in Love Is on the Air

recent news on George Gipp:

Courtesy of Ronald Reagan Library
Hand-tinted by Bennett Hall © 1999
Web Galleries - Presidential Images

Monday, March 2, 2009

Truman's perspective

'My choices early in life were either to be a piano player in a whorehouse
or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference.'

When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating,
'You don't want me. You want the office of the President, and that doesn't
belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it's not for sale.'

Truman greeting returning military for honor ceremonety at the White House after end of WWII, photograph from the National Archives