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Reagan hologram is real, was planned for RNC debut

Eric Pfeiffer
The Ticket

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A Ronald Reagan hologram is scheduled to debut soon. (Original image Rusty Kennedy/AP)

Despite some conflicting reports, Yahoo News has learned that a holographic projection of former President Ronald Reagan is in the works and was originally intended to debut outside the halls of the Republican National Convention this week. But its official unveiling has been put on hold until later this year or early 2013.

"It wasn't officially going to be part of the convention," Tony Reynolds, founder of crowdsourcing website A KickIn Crowd, told Yahoo News in a phone interview Thursday. "It was going to be outside of the convention at the Lakeland Center."

Reynolds obtained rights to a Reagan speech discussing small businesses and plans to use the hologram to promote the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act. He has been working with AV Concepts, one of the companies behind the creation of the Tupac Shakur hologram, which was unveiled at this year's Coachella Music Festival.

However, Reynolds says he discussed the idea with a number of Republican activists who asked him to delay the project out of concern it would overshadow Mitt Romney's acceptance speech.

"At the time he hadn't chosen Paul Ryan, so I think they were a little worried about his energy," Reynolds said. "Even in a hologram form I think Reagan's going to beat a lot of people in terms of communicating."

Reynolds said another reason he delayed the unveiling was that he didn't want the hologram to be used for partisan purposes.

"We were careful because the JOBS Act was a bipartisan bill and we didn't want to seem like we were favoring Republicans," he said.

Why the conflicting reports as to the Reagan hologram's authenticity? Reynolds had contacted several media organizations about his fundraising efforts and told Yahoo News that the rumor may have originated from those efforts. In fact, Reynolds reached out to Yahoo News initially in June 2012 to first discuss his plans for the project.

"Digital Domain was involved in creating the Tupac hologram as well, but I think the media organizations just reached out to the wrong company," he said, attempting to explain why certain reports claimed the hologram was a hoax.

Reynolds, who lives in Ohio and is African-American, says he hopes the Reagan hologram project will catch the attention of Gov. John Kasich, who recently advocated offering more work to minority-owned businesses.

"He should talk to me about crowd funding because it can help minority businesses get a head start without putting any burden on the state," Reynolds said.

In the meantime, he is busy promoting some of his other digital projects through his website, including a "fanbook" project designed to help welcome new Ohio State University football coach Urban Meyer.

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