11/05/02
"So You Want to Be President?"
    by John Cech

It's Election Day today, and even though the presidential election is still two years away, there's already a great deal of thought and talk about it, which at some point leads us back to that dream that every American child is asked to have, wanting to be president. These reflections are being helped along by a new animated film from the Weston Woods Studios, "So You Want to Be President?" It's based on the children's book of the same name by Judith St. George, with illustrations by David Small. The film is narrated by Stockard Channing, who plays the first lady in "The West Wing," the television program about a fictional presidency.

"So You want to Be President" is full of intriguing facts -- like the most popular name for a president (James) and the president who had the most pets in the White House (Teddy Roosevelt), the tallest president (Lincoln) and the smallest (that would James Madison), the presidents who could dance (Wilson) and the presidents who couldn't (Lincoln again), the presidents with the most brothers and sisters (Harrison, Polk, and Buchanan) and the ones with the fewest ( Jackson and Hoover were both orphans). The film doesn't avoid the scandals, like those that colored the Nixon and Clinton presidencies, but even these serious notes are balanced with a generous sense of humor that pervades the whole project, from the witty script to the amusing drawings. Many of the anecdotes in the film are worth passing down. They reveal the human, often funny side of the men who have held this high office. Like the one about Ulysses S. Grant.

And then there's William Howard Taft reaction to a potentially embarrasing moment -- it's a lesson in quick thinking and poise for the next chief executive in your family.

Copyright 2002 John Cech

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Monday, 28-Oct-2002 21:04:36 EST


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