Harry Shearer, best known for his work in films like "This Is Spinal Tap," "A Mighty Wind," and a little TV show you may have heard of called "The Simpsons," has re-created the incredibly bizarre final moments before President Richard Nixon delivered his resignation speech in the Oval Office 40 years ago today.
The re-creation was made to honor the event's anniversary and plays as both comedy and tragedy. The six-minute excerpt from the TV series "Nixon's the One" features Shearer as the infamous president preparing to deliver what must have been the most difficult speech of his life.
What makes the video so chilling is the fact that Nixon was apparently fixated on the logistics of the TV event, and not on the content of what he was about to say.
He asks several questions about the cameras that are filming him, poses for ill-timed photographs, and makes bad jokes in an awkward attempt to lighten the understandably dour mood. Warning: You will cringe.
Shearer and his team were able to uncover the remarks Nixon made to the TV crew by using "advanced audio restoration techniques," according to a news release. At one point Nixon makes an odd remark about the color of an assistant's hair. Later, he worries that other photographers are going to be upset because one cameraman is getting all the best shots.
It's undeniably strange and oddly comedic. Because this is Harry Shearer, one of the great comic actors, he finds way to bring in a bit of mischief to the scene. Note the glimmer in his eye when he successfully places the papers in the right place (away from the microphone, Mr. President) during his address. He's so proud!
Shearer is a well-known Democrat, but in an interview with the Guardian, he remarked that he thinks Nixon's domestic policy was actually more liberal than President Obama's. "He (Nixon) started the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, he actually delivered a speech while in office calling for a guaranteed annual income for all Americans. Can you imagine?"
Watch the full clip here:
Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (@mikekrumboltz).
- Arts & Entertainment
- Harry Shearer
- President Richard Nixon