Leslie Lynch King Junior's Strength and Consistency
This episode, premiering on June 09, 2000, highlights the life and political career of Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr., from his 1913 birth as Leslie Lynch King, Jr., through his formative years unto his political career, as U.S. Representative from MI-5, to become the 40th Vice-President, and, subsequently, the 38th President of the United States of America.
While still an infant, Leslie Jr. and his mother, Dorothy Gardner King, become tormented by his abusive father, Leslie Sr., who pulls a knife upon the mother and child, before Dorothy, heeding the advice of a nurse and a lawyer, decides to divorce Leslie Sr. and to relocate to Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Dorothy soon meets and, in 1916, marries Gerald Rudolff Ford, who adopts Leslie Jr., changes his name to Gerald R. Ford, Jr., and welcomes three additional sons with Dorothy.
Gerald Jr. attends the University of Michigan on a football scholarship, after a 1931 trip to Washington, D.C., with an invitation to visit the U.S. House of Representatives, which impresses upon the youth to lead toward Gerald's decision to enter the political arena.
After serving in the U.S. Navy, Gerald is offered a position to coach football at Yale University, at which he studies Law. During this period, he becomes engaged to the lovely Phyllis Brown, but the couple decides it best for each of them to call off their plans when she decides to return to New York City instead of returning to Michigan with Gerald, where he meets the lovely Betty Bloomer.
Gerald wins the Republican Primary for the MI-5 House of Representatives seat on September 14, 1948. Betty and Gerald marry on October 15, 1948. And in November, Gerald wins the MI-5 election, for his first of thirteen terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, during which tenure, he becomes the only Republican Congressman to be appointed to the Warren Commission.
Betty and Gerald welcome four children during the next decade: Michael, Jack, Steven and Susan, as Gerald divides his time between Washington, D.C., Grand Rapids, Michigan, and on U.S. tours of duty.
But during the 1972 election cycle, when the Democrat National Committee headquarters, at Watergate Hotel, in Washington, D.C., is burglarized, fingers of suspicion point directly toward various officials of the Nixon administration, leading to Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew's resignation, causing the need to appoint an official with intelligence and integrity to fill the vacancy, and so Gerald Ford fits the bill.
During the investigation, Gerald asks Nixon Adviser General Alexander Haig and Nixon himself whether either had knowledge of the break-in, and both deny any involvement as they stare Gerald in the eye.
But on August 09, 1974, Richard Nixon resigns the Presidency to avoid impeachment proceedings, and Gerald Ford is sworn in as 38th President, the only one to date never being elected to the office of President nor Vice-President.
Public approval ratings of President Gerald R. Ford run very highly as he restores their faith to the office (hence this episode sub-title), but when he grants Nixon a presidential pardon one month later, citizens react with mixed feelings, and critics begin their attacks. Gerald explains his reasoning for this and his methods of handling more turmoil to follow.
While many Democrats and Republicans alike never lose an ounce of respect for Gerald Ford and his dignity and courage, his administration becomes affected by Recession and inflation, additional outbreaks of conflict in southeast Asia, opposing viewpoints of his attending the Helsinki Conferrence, plus two assassination attempts upon his life.
All of this begins to take its toll on Betty, who publicly announces her battle with malignancy, to spearhead public attention to the need for mammogram testing, as well as her much-publicized battle with alcohol and prescription pain assuagers, for which her family confronts her, and she founds the Betty Ford Center, to save thousands of additional lives.
Interview Guests for this episode consist of Gerald R. Ford (Self), Betty Ford (Wife), Susan Ford (Daughter), Jack Ford (Son), Steven Ford (Son), Richard Ford (Brother), Melvin Laird (Ford's White House Adviser), Brent Scowcroft (Ford's National Security Adviser), David Kennerly (Ford's White House Photographer), Senator Bob Packwood (D-Oregon), James Cannon (Biographer: "Time and Chance Gerald Ford's Appointment With History"), and Richard Reeves (Journalist/biographer: "A Ford, Not a Lincoln"), with Harry Smith (Host), and ???? (Narrator).
Still Photographs include Gerald Ford, Dorothy Ayer Gardner King Ford (Mother), Leslie King, Sr. (Father), Gerald Ford, Sr. (Adoptive father), Thomas, Richard and James Ford (Brothers), Phyllis Brown (former Fiancée), Betty Bloomer (Fiancée/wife), Michael Ford (Son), and General Alexander Haig (Nixon adviser).
Archive film footage includes U.S. President Gerald Ford, U.S. First Lady Betty Ford, Susan, Mike, Jack and Steven Ford, U.S. President John F. Kennedy, U.S. First Lady Jackie Kennedy, U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, U.S. President Richard M. Nixon, U.S. First Lady Pat Nixon, U.S. Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew, U.S. President James E. Carter, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Former Attorney General John Mitchell, Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev, Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Chevy Chase, Mr. Frankel, and Liberty Ford.
Television News Clips include scenes from highlights of the administration of U.S. President Gerald Ford, in addition to U.S. First Lady Betty Ford's founding the Betty Ford Center (alcohol treatment center and drug rehabilitation clinic).
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