WILLIAM RICHERT REMEMBERS HIS FIRST DOCUMENTARY FILMED IN WHITE HOUSE, TEXAS AND VIRGINIA- RECALLS OBSTRUCTION AND CONCEALMENT BY 60 MINUTES FOLLOWING DICTUMS OF ROGER AILES IN NIXON’S OVAL OFFICE – MR. RICHERT ATTEMPTS TO RECALL DETAILS OF CRUCIAL INTERVIEWS INVOLVING ROGER AILES PRIOR TO WATERGATE – NONE OF THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTERS WERE EVER TOLD FACTS ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE INTERVIEWS THEY GAVE – RICHERT LIVES TO TELL – DECADES LATER INFORMS LUCI AND LYNDA AND TRICIA AND JULIE THEY MAY HAVE LEGAL RIGHTS TO THOSE INTERVIEWS THEY GAVE FROM THE HEART ALMOST 50 YEARS AGO
(NOTE TO FACEBOOKERS — THIS IS A ROUGH DRAFT FOR A LATER STORY – UPON ROGER AILES DEMISE IT WORRIED ME MIGHTILY THAT ALMOST ALL THE WITNESSES TO MY INTERVIEWS WAS NOW DECEASED, WHILE I MYSELF HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH THE IRREVERSIBLE TERMINAL DISEASE OF BEING IN THE MID 70’S — AND THEN IT HIT ME:
“Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute,” I sort of said to myself, “Julie and Tricia and Luci and Lynda are still alive! And I bet they have lawyers who might get the interviews at 60 MINUTES since their contracts with me said clearly they had the right to view and suggest edits for the interview – rights that Don Hewitt and Richard Nixon and Roger Ailes denied them!! And what woman in the world could resist seeing themselves photographed under the direction of a man who later directed Elizabeth Taylor and Bianca Jagger and Belinda Bauer!” — thus I ruthlessly pushed myself to author this memo quickly, and I am posting this today whether it is complete or not, or even spellchecked! GUTSY OR WHAT?)
HENCE: Rough draft posting “Who killed the President’s daughters” or “The Return of the Presidents Daughters”
BRIEFEST HISTORY OUT OF TIME
In 1968, Several days after meeting with FDR’s daughter Anna Roosevelt in Georgetown for my documentary THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTERS, where Anna was staying with her nephew for the march against the war in Vietnam in front of the White House along Pennsylvania Avenue the following morning, I found myself inside the White House in the Green Room interviewing Tricia Nixon.
The room was selected to highlight Tricia’s hair; Julie Eisenhower was filmed in the Red Room, and both women looked gorgeous and the 90 minute interviews with them were revealing in a multitude of ways.
Luci was interviewed at her house in Austin and Lynda in Virginia.
Later on I heard Lynda Robb said she’d never given such an emotional interview; when Luci Johnson described her day at the National Cathedral School, when the “strange men” came to pick her up after the assassination, and when she talked about getting dressed at the Vice President’s residence awaiting her father’s return on Air Force One — I got all choked up and glanced back to see the cameraman was weeping.
But 60 Minute managed not only to bury the Nixon daughters, but they took the absolute-most innocuous and least informative sections of the of the incredible, moving Johnson’s interviews when they finally choose to broadcast the event — and to this day the ‘most honest’ show denies that the Julie and Tricia interviews ever took place at all.
(BEHIND THE CURTAINS AT CBS: When Les Moonves went over the moon about how CBS got an extra 80 million in ads from the reality show of Donald Trump’s 2017 campaign, I thought again how CBS has always been a secret subset of the Republican party; think about how CBS portrayed Hillary Clinton constantly with dark glasses, and spent months interviewing “home grown” critics of Obama, and put Dick Cheney’s defense of torture and waterboarding front and center, along with pleas to ‘upgrade’ our nuke systems to benefit corporations – and do review again the Stahl interview with Donald Trump – who said scarily that people didn’t need to be scared of him, setting the stage for power plays — all these things led to the ursupation of the White House by big military money, and following the cold trail of THE PRESIDENTS DAUGHTERS back into the office of Roger Ailes and Don Hewitt will reveal a collaboration of common sense crooks at a major news ‘org’ which operated like the penis of Roger Ailes, STS ‘SO TO SPEAK'”)
“When they got the medic, I figured it was best not to be alive…! Richard Boone, WINTER KILLS
AS I was compelled to do after the murder of River Phoenix, where for almost two decades I found it nearly impossible to read the false reports about him or his family, or even look at his picture when he’d starred in a movie of mine — in a similar way, over the years I turned away whenever images of any of these women came on screen; it was a very personal painful embarrassment; I had been, even for a little while, very close to each of these historic personalities; yet after the 60 Minutes bait-and-switch, I had never contacted them about the truth of what happened, so as not to involve them in what could have become a steamy seamy scandal — as I had promised each – had given my word – that Number One I would not embarrass them or humiliate them as a result of anything they said — I was interviewing them as a novelist as much as a documentary maker, since I’d never made a documentary – thus the trust was outside politics and especially media politics — so for years, most crucially during the time of the interviews, I felt a total sense of loss and hopelessness against White House opponents way more powerful than I — folks capable of assassinations – after all, the editor, Barbara Connell (is that right? after all these years I’m not sure of her name spelling) — was killed ‘mysteriously’ outside London in a “traffic accident” when I knew she was an expert driver and also had been dropped from helicopters as a reporter behind the lines in Vietnam; she was brave an fearless, and I had no doubt that her offer to show the outtakes from President’s Daughters to Av Westin at ABC had something to do with her demise.
(Can any of this be true? Is the photo of me and Tricia in the Green Room a product of the people who put a phony astronaut on the moon?)
— Then there was the break in at my 86th Street apartment in ’73 which vanished every stick of the transcripts and all of the outtakes. I discovered the break-in when I had just come back from Miami loaded with per diem cash from payments on WINTER KILLS, which I was writing for a Miami drug lord — detailed omitted here, but it was clear that somebody could easily have planted a brick of cocaine in my dresser – which I could never explain – and I’d be writing this from a for-profit prison cell outside Spokane. (A word to Jeff Sessions: … )
MORE NOTES TO BE EXPANDED IN SUMMER 2017
…After a lunch with my co-producer Anne Duggan at the then-unknown Watergate Apartment complex with Rose Mary, Nixon’s secretary, where a mild disagreement ensued between me and Rose Mary when Rose Mary said that Mexico was a communist country with a leader who needs to be overthrown (sic) — which I vehemently disagreed with — Anne decided I must be some kind of entreprenurual Karl Marx making a left-leaning documentary; which was laughable, except to a Republican — she stopped the cash flow from the backer, refusing to pay the cameraman in the White House the day we filmed Julie Eisenhower (whose husband reviewed the questions); the film was frozen, and then an ‘arbitration’ occurred between me and the backer of the documentary, a Nixon supporter named Sylvan Ostreicher (as I recall after almost 50 years of trying to forget the whole thing) whose lawyers were really a proxy for Richard Nixon.
So in 1970, or thereabouts, when I was in my very innocent (except for sex and money and religion etc.) early 20’s, I had my first legal fight and it was with the President of the United States, who had apparently been told I’d grabbed his mistress’ ‘bosoms’ while putting her to bed after she fell off the couch after she took two bennies after talking on the phone to Richard The President, where I heard her call him a “jerk” and Richard Nixon kept saying “Anne, you’re wrong! You’re WRONG Anne!” rather desperately, for a sitting President.
This was a real earful for a guy who’d been marching down Fifth Avenue against the war.
(Nixon had a red wine problem; it was mentioned in Julie’s interview if you listened carefully; Julie also talked about her father’s genuine heroism when she was a girl)
Needless to say as an independent producer living in a 3rd Avenue walk-up, I lost the arbitration with Anne’s ‘backers’ and, finally paying the cameraman for the footage, Anne Duggan brought the whole thing to “60 Minutes.” (Early on, I remember sitting next to my noisy steam radiator in the winter while Pat Nixon’s Press Secretary asked if the President could help sell the film – ‘he has contacts at one of the networks,’ Jerry Van der Huevel had said.
The documentary was bought by 60 MINUTES and scheduled for TV Guide covers 3 months in a row; Don Hewitt wouldn’t show me what he’d cut, and I knew I was ‘replaced’ by Morey Safer as the interviewer with cuts of him asking the questions instead of me; in fact I was totally off the picture but Hewitt had agreed to ‘consult’ with me and we ended up having huge arguments in the offices on 57th street and on the street itself and in Barbara Connell’s editing room – with Hewitt wearing his white NETWORK style trenchcoat — now at this moment I also remember asking why his show wasn’t doing moe about the race issues and Don shouted “News about the blacks are counter-productive” etc. so there may be some living person who remembers these sort of famous arguments – or damn, everybody’s dead —
But then after the White House screened the movie and I was told by the iconic Executive Producer Don Hewitt that the footage was not returned. Roger Ailes had it.
60 MINUTES did show excerpts from the amazing interviews with Lynda Robb and Luci Nugent, the very articulate daughters of LBJ, but these excerpts were totally selected from the few boring parts of the interviews with these highly articulate and sometimes emotional women; CBS obviously caved into Richard Nixon and Roger Ailes demand that nobody look better than the Republicans — and to assure this — my upcoming interviews with Alice Longworth Roosevelt and Anna Roosevelt and Margaret Truman were cancelled.
However, if Tricia and Julie had seen how they looked and how well they spoke about their father — if there was ever a pure and innocent view of Richard Nixon these true and loyal young women displayed it — certainly now, with Presidential libraries etc. these daughters ought to be able to get a look at the footage since it is their legal right — does the statute of limitations apply to American history?
Recently all these has come back to roost with me as we’ve moved to Oregon and the pictures popped up again, along with a rush of recollections I have fought to suppress, so that I could live and make movies not file depositions against Republican media barons. (Like I’ve had to do with Aaron Sorkin et. al. over my screenplays THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT ELOPES and THE EXECUTIVE WING — two bastard progeny from all this, as will be explained when I am able amid the where-with-all-and-with-whom of those years.)
In all these many decades the President’s daughters – Julie, Tricia, Lynda and Luci – have been uninformed about what happened to their marvelous interviews — while Margaret Truman gave my regrets to them and Anna and Alice, who never got a chance to be on film about their fathers, due to Miscreant Ailes, now dead as a doornail.
And I gotta say, now that I’m saying anything at all: each of these women acquitted themselves more than brilliantly when discussing their dads – and in spite of the looming Watergate scandal (no doubt Nixon was really upset by discovering his nemesis Katherine Graham who owned the Washington Post was also an un-named producer of this enterprise) — Tricia and Julie were powerful advocates for father, gave details unlike any others and which might even have helped his cause; it was clear that these two people were closer to him than any other friend or advisor, a detail that history has been denied because of the actions of the fraudulent Ailes and their paranoid father who they adored — along with the acquiescent from the Roger Ailes “bought” CBS’ 60 MINUTES with Don Hewitt (never shown, but they had replaced my mug with the face of Morey Safer as interviewer, since CBS didn’t want anybody to know that a kid outsider had got the rights to this.) — also lost to American history were the voices of Margaret Truman and Anna Roosevelt and Alice Longworth — about their loving and even sublime relations with America’s own giant fathers — ladies who only hinted to me about the volumes of information they were ready to unleash and enjoy.
And if you saw Lyndon Baines Johnson from the vantage of his children, you saw a whole other man.
The Johnson daughters were wholly touching and beautiful in their vivid memories of childhood, the assassination of JFK, and their insightful defense of LBJ — and it’s my hope today that somehow they — and whoever else is still alive — might remember these interviews and forgive that young man who promised they’d be heard and seen — while recognizing they by keeping my distance and not selling the film to tabloids, they were kept away from awful mean Roger Ailes style scandals that Roger Ailes would have unleashed upon them all. Ailes and Nixon hated the Roosevelts, it turned out, and didn’t like the Johnson’s better either.
It was pretty hard to fight a President back then, from my NYC 6th-floor walk up; maybe it’s harder today. But at least I have the likes of the Pope’s Facebook to post a jolt of memory about events I have refused to allow myself to remember for almost 50 years…and counting!!
If it were not for the discovery of two photographs after my mother’s death, I would have no evidence this ever took place at all.
Hmm. Seems to me that a Forensic Report of the Nixon/Johnson William Richert interviews might unearth a lot more than dirt. The interviews were pure golden United States history, tarnished and crapped on by Rupert’s foxes.
Roger Ailes is dead; long live the President’s Daughters!