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Thursday, July 19, 2012

41, AN INTIMATE LOOK AT THE LIFE AND CAREER OF GEORGE H.W. BUSH HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY WHOM YOU KNOW EXCLUSIVELY BY HBO -A Film By Jeffrey Roth; Executive Produced By Jerry Weintraub Our Coverage Sponsored by Sistina Restaurant

41: George H. W. Bush

Photo Credit: Photo taken by Jeffrey Roth/Courtesy of HBO

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41: George H. W. Bush

Photo Credit: Photographer, Stefan Glidden/ Courtesy of HBO

HBO Documentary Films has completely hit one out of the park with 41, and we don't only say that since 41 was indeed captain of the baseball team at Yale.  With an opening scene set on the family home in quaint, lovely Kennebunkport, Maine, 41 immediately draws you in to the softer side of Bush, and we cannot think of a better way to kick off our coverage of HBO!  As you may or may not know, Peachy Deegan's first professional job (not counting babysitting or teaching pre-school gymnastics) was working on Capitol Hill as an intern, and 41 was President when she started and it was a sad day to see him go.  It was a happy day when 41 arrived for review, and in the first few minutes alone you know you are in for a treat on the inside story, which is what we are always, always after: the inside story behind the people that are excellent at what they do.  

Behind the Scenes

41: (L-R) Barbara Bush, George H. W. Bush, Kris Conde, Stephen Glidden, Jeffrey Roth

Photo Credit: Photo taken by Brian Blake/ Courtesy of HBO

So, how did we hear of 41?  We heard Jerry Weintraub interviewed by Don Imus on the I-man's morning radio show.  Thank you for the tip!

For anyone that's been to New England, you'll feel immediately at home with the crashing waves on the rugged coast of Maine, and the documentary begins where it all started: black and white family movie footage of young George toddling on the grass.  41 narrates the entire story from beginning to end and that makes it even more memorable.  We understand that Jerry Weintraub is a personal friend of 41 so when you have that kind of relationship, the story gets even better.

Beautiful sailboats, fresh lobster and the briskness of New England greet you along with George in Kennebunkport, and it is incredible that he's gone there every year except 1944 and he's now 85.  His grandfather bought the land circa 1894 and the house in 1902 and if he were the Earl of Grantham this would be the Bush version of Downton Abbey in our opinion. (check out the 16 Emmy nominations for Downton!!!)

So where do we find 41 at age 85?  He's got a cute little pup and is of course retired with Barbara and he takes you on a tour of the compound.  Personal touches such as pictures of the children punctuate the place and you'll learn why family is so important to 41.  His father was clearly a distinct inspiration to him and taught 41 by example how important it is to give back.

You'll love this film if you love the water and boats and fishing.  You'll love this film if you like baseball.  You'll love this film if you were in the Navy or if you love aviation.  You'll love this film if you too have had life-long friendships and we particularly love the school pictures.  You'll love this film if you are at all patriotic.

41: George H. W. Bush

Photo Credit: Photographer, Stefan Glidden/ Courtesy of HBO

What do we have to say to 41 if he is reading?
We have always admired you and now have a greater appreciation for and understanding of the life you're living.  We applaud your daughter Dorothy on her educational choices and we know someone that followed a similar path.  Your grandchildren are lovely and every Bush we've ever met has impressed us, starting with your sister Nancy.  
Happy belated birthday, Mr. President June 12th. 
 We can't wait to see you skydive on your 90th. 

41: (L-R) George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush

Photo Credit: Photographer, Stefan Glidden/ Courtesy of HBO

The love story behind George and Barbara is touching and the old pictures of them you'll fall in love with.  Times were not always easy however, as when Pearl Harbor was bombed everyone's lives changed (that day Peachy's grandfather joined the Marines and subsequently earned a Purple Heart in the Pacific).  Find out where they became engaged and the story behind her ring! You should see the fish she caught in Alabama but you know watching this that 41 was the real catch.

41: George H. W. Bush

Photo Credit: Photo taken by Jeffrey Roth/Courtesy of HBO

What else do we love?

We love the sign on the golf cart "Property of #41 Hands Off!"
We love how he said his mother told him not to brag about himself when he was President.
41 learns his lessons and when he does something wrong, he apologizes: pay attention to the lobstermen.
We love how he abhors anyone that slouches during the Star-Spangled Banner.
We love the Mrs. Seymour stories and we think we knew people like that in college.
We love the Babe Ruth story at Yale.
From his earlier days in Texas to his later days in the UN and you know where he ended up, clearly the political career of 41 is highly celebrated and this tale is phenomenal.   Guess what job for 41 was like screwing a gorilla?!  The story is not all sunshine and roses.  41 had a daughter that passed away as a child and had great challenges during the Nixon era.  He tells the truth about what such experiences were like.

41: George H. W. Bush

Photo Credit: Photo taken by Stephen Beck/ HBO

Did you know he was head of the Bird-Banding Club?  (if you don't know what such club is, don't worry, he'll tell you...)  Do you want to see his report card?  It's there!  Do you want to know about his boyhood crushes?  That's there too.  And he also tells you what kind of bathing suits are to-die-for. Did you know about his Mayday message and the submarine rescue?  The war footage is absolutely incredible.  Did you know he delayed going to Yale to serve our country?  Do you know Proctor and Gamble was quite silly not to give him a job out of school? (He reminded them of it when he became President.)
Who does he wish he met?  Lou Gehrig.
We could go on and on and on but we want you to watch the film.  The VP and President roles were obviously of major interest-you've got to see this we won't give away all the highlights.
All in all, this is a highly enjoyable work that if you are American and you have a heart, you'll also have tears of pride and love streaming down your cheeks feeling so glad you've watched this.

41: George H. W. Bush

Photo Credit: Photo taken by Jeffrey Roth/Courtesy of HBO
In short, this film will bring tears to your eyes and warmth to your heart and make you prouder than ever to be an American and thankful for his great work for our country that we all love.  This is a fantastic work by all involved-and we applaud you; you have shown us that old guys can still do fun, interesting and exciting things.  With style, intelligence and class, 41 is a President that the United States of America will love and respect forever and his story is truly remarkable.
Whom You Know Highly Recommends 41 by HBO!!!





A Film By Jeffrey Roth; 

Executive Produced By Jerry Weintraub 

The first documentary to tell George Herbert Walker Bush’s story in his own words, the exclusive HBO presentation 41 is a rare, intimate glimpse at the life and times of the 41st president of the United States. Featuring unprecedented access to Bush as he reflects on the highs and lows of his life from his beloved summer home in Kennebunkport, Me. and presidential library in Texas, 41 debuts THURSDAY, JUNE 14 (9:00-10:45 p.m. ET/PT), commemorating the president’s 88th birthday on June 12. 

Other HBO playdates: June 14 (3:50 a.m.), 17 (noon), 18 (9:00 a.m.), 20 (12:45 p.m. 12:30 a.m.), 23 (2:00 p.m.) and 29 (6:15 p.m.) 

HBO2 playdates: June 20 (9:15 p.m.), 25 (2:15 p.m., 11:15 p.m.) and 30 (noon) 

One of the most experienced politicians ever to achieve the presidency, George H.W. Bush shares anecdotes from his childhood, family, service in World War II and political career, including his roles as U.S. envoy to China, director of the CIA and vice president of the United States in the Reagan administration, as well as his term as president. 

Written and directed by Jeffrey Roth, 41 was filmed over a 17-month period, from Sept. 2009 to Feb. 2011. The film is executive produced by Jerry Weintraub, a long-time personal friend of the Bushes, and himself the focus of “His Way,” an acclaimed HBO documentary. 

“I am so proud to be a friend of George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush,” comments Weintraub. “And so proud that our friendship includes this wonderful film about two wonderful people.” 

41 captures the personal side of a very public figure who cherishes his family life, in particular wife Barbara, his spouse for 67 years, a record among presidential marriages. President from 1989 to 1993 and father of the 43rd president, George W. Bush, the elder Bush continues to make public appearances today and spends much of his time on his boat or with children and grandchildren. An avid fisherman, Bush last parachuted on his 85th birthday and swears he will do it again on his 90th, which he says proves that “old guys can still do fun things.” 

Born June 12, 1924, George H.W. Bush spent much of his childhood at his family’s summer home, built by his grandfather in 1902, at Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport, Me. His close-knit family was fortunate to avoid the hard times of the Great Depression, with George attending boarding schools, where he excelled in sports, serving as captain of the soccer and baseball teams and playing basketball. At 17, he met 16-year-old Barbara Pierce at a Christmas dance. “We fell in love. Old fashioned, falling in love,” he recalls. 

After Pearl Harbor was bombed, the 18-year-old Bush became a naval aviator. He describes the events of Sept. 2, 1944, when his plane was shot down by anti-aircraft fire; he ejected and parachuted into the sea, and was rescued by a sub. Bush went home and married Barbara, and when the war ended a short time later, like many G.I.s, he entered college – at Yale – where they had a son, George Walker. 

Following the advice of a family friend, he went to work in the oil fields of West Texas. Their family continued to grow with the birth of daughter Robin, who died of leukemia at age three. Robin’s death remains an emotional subject for Bush. Though they had three more sons and another daughter, he admits he couldn’t talk about losing her for years. 

In Texas, despite the fact that the state at the time was overwhelmingly Democratic, Bush decided to run for Senate. He lost, but rebounded by running for the House of Representatives and won, becoming a rising star in Washington. President Nixon subsequently appointed Bush ambassador to the U.N. and later, chairman of the Republican National Committee. 

Then came Watergate. “I wanted to believe Nixon as long as I possibly could,” he notes, but with evidence mounting that the White House lied, he wrote a memo suggesting the president resign. In hindsight, Bush has mixed emotions about Nixon, reflecting, “On the one hand you can never get over the lie. On the other, in many ways, he was a very good president.” 

After serving as U.S. envoy to China and director of the CIA, Bush ran for president unsuccessfully, but became Ronald Reagan’s vice president. Ascending to the presidency in 1989, his years in office were marked by numerous historic events, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War and the protests in Tiananmen Square. 

When Iraq invaded Kuwait, Bush says he knew America would have to act. He considered Iraq’s invasion an “overt, crystal-clear wrong,” and despite opposition, felt the war was just. Bush was heartened when Saddam Hussein was driven out of Kuwait. 

After losing his bid for reelection to Bill Clinton, George returned with Barbara to a “normal” life in Houston and Kennebunkport. He calls his beloved summer home the “anchor” to his “windward.” It’s where the memories are, where his family comes to visit and where he’s been coming his whole life. “And where,” he says, “I will remain until my last days.” 

The president, who to this day has not written a memoir telling his life story, agreed to participate in the documentary after meeting Roth and seeing his first film, “The Wonder of It All,” a documentary about the Apollo moon walkers. 41 is Roth’s second documentary film. 

41 is produced and directed by Jeffrey Roth; executive produced by Jerry Weintraub and Stephen Beck; written by Stephen Beck and Jeffrey Roth; edited by Janice Hampton. 

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