The recent release of Ronald Reagan’s White House Diaries have produced the usual snickers from the usual suspects, the self-anointed cognoscenti who pollute the airwaves with their endless contempt for everything that made America great. Apparently, the fact that Ronnie’s most private musings have the intellectual consistency of Gerber’s strained prunes is somehow considered a mark against him!
The fact is, Ronald Reagan was a man of passion, a man of deep passion. Any man who could call Nancy Reagan “mommy poopie pants” to her face and make her like it was a man of legend and a man of passion. And if you want proof, all you have to do is read the letters Ronnie wrote to Nancy describing Ronnie’s Shoot from Hell, Cattle Queen of Montana.
Cattle Queen of Montana was produced by Benedict Bogeaus, who was definitely not Ronald Reagan’s favorite person. Ben totally ignored all of Ronnie’s script suggestions, the one thing that could have saved the picture. But with Ben around, everything was bound to be “buggered up,” as Ronnie so eloquently put it.
Ronnie got no help at all, to put it mildly, from co-star Barbara Stanwyck (“Lady S.”), who “continues to go on her merry way in the exclusive company of two hairdressers and a maid.” Excuse me, but didn’t Ronnie deserve a hairdresser or two himself? And a maid!
Worst of all, Ben neglected to bring real horses from Hollywood to Montana for the shoot. Instead, the company had to rent mounts from the “natives.” As Ronnie observed, “Everything has a price and we constitute fair game with a long open season.” Now, Ronald Reagan believed in capitalism and the free market, but not when it worked against him! Not when he has to pay top dollar for “scrawny goats” to a bunch of yahoos who wouldn’t recognize a Pichon Longueville ’47 if it bit them on the ass.
The capper came when a pair of knuckle-walking locals, hired as extras, showed up with their minimum-wage keesters astride “registered thoroughbreds.” Registered thoroughbreds, goddamn it! Registered thoroughbreds! While Ronnie was stuck on a “lame Palomino” the size of a yearling! How is a man who is, excuse me, a star, supposed to deliver a performance under those circumstances?
After six weeks in Hicksville, Montana with Lady Barbara Stanwyck, winning the Cold War was a piece of cake.
For more on Lady Barbara, go here, to a site maintained by a guy who, I’m guessing, is also a fan of Barbra Streisand.
The Pichon Longueville ’47 was a favorite wine of the Reagans. They shared a bottle at 21 in that “pigeon crap encrusted town,” New York, New York.