Reagan's 'Theater' uncovered in GE archives
Restored episodes to find home in Presidential LibraryAll 208 episodes of television's "General Electric Theater," hosted by then-actor Ronald Reagan, are being delivered to former first lady Nancy Reagan on Wednesday as part of the two-year celebration of the late president's 100th birthday.
The 1954-1962 "General Electric Theater" tapes, most believed to be damaged or lost, were recently uncovered in the General Electric/NBC Universal archives. They were restored to broadcast quality for use in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Reagan traveled the nation as GE's goodwill ambassador to its plants during the 1950s.
"The opportunity to represent GE back in the 1950s, and the encouragement he received from the employees he met along the way, really launched Ronnie's career in public service," Mrs. Reagan said in a statement released Wednesday. "I know he would be honored by this tribute."
GE CEO Jeff Immelt plans to deliver the tapes to Mrs. Reagan at the library Wednesday evening. General Electric is sponsoring the Ronald Reagan Centennial festivities with $15 million.
The GE gift includes $10 million in cash, advertising and promotion to support the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration, including money for a museum refurbishing that will be unveiled on the eve of the president's birthday. Reagan was born Feb. 6, 1911.
It will include a new General Electric Theater that will focus on Reagan's career in radio, television and film.
The remaining $5 million goes to the Reagan Presidential Foundation to launch and support the GE-Reagan Scholars Program. It will provide 200 four-year college scholarships over the next decade to deserving students who embody the vision and values personified by Reagan.
"President Reagan helped our company expand its reach during a golden age of American technological progress," Immelt said in a statement. "He embodied the optimistic and innovative spirit of our company, and later successfully carried those qualities with him to the White House."