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Monday, December 12, 2011

Classic Shacks: Jackie's White House Tour

The shining moment that was Camelot:  the Kennedys at a state dinner in the
White House for French cultural minister André Malraux in 1962

In the United States, it doesn't get any better than the Executive Mansion. Your Head Trucker got to see the outside on his one trip to D.C., but alas, not the interior.  I well recall Mrs. Kennedy's tour of the White House that was broadcast on Valentine's Day back in 1962; young'uns today who are used to grungy reality-show celebrities and instant fame - or infamy, as the case may be - can have no real idea of how glamorous and thrilling this program was back then.

The Blue Room as redone by Jacqueline Kennedy and designer Stéphane Boudin

Of course, Mrs. Kennedy, with her sophisticated knowledge of art and antiques, was responsible for her widely praised restoration - not "redecoration," as she was quick to point out - of the house, and for establishing the office of Curator of the White House, as well as for publishing the first White House guidebook, sales of which helped finance the restoration effort.

A photograph of A Tour of the White House with Mrs. Kennedy and CBS
newsman Charles Collingwood; alas, color television was still a rarity
in most American homes in 1962, and like most other programs at the
time, the special was filmed only in black and white.

In those pre-women's lib days, Jackie's success in undertaking this enormous project led her amazed husband to concede wryly at a press conference one day that his wife had demonstrated executive skills he didn't know she had.  Doesn't that sound just like a man?

Anyway, here's part one of the film. Enjoy.

BTW, if you want to explore the mansion's many rooms in detail, the unofficial White House Museum website has an excellent collection of pictures, floor plans, and architectural information.


Beartoast said...

I remember watching that special, entranced. I am gay, or something?

Russ Manley said...

Yup, that should have been your first clue, and mine too. Grin.

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