Saturday, May 17, 2014

Rare footage of FDR walking at 1937 All-Star Game made public (VIDEO)

An extremely rare video showing a walking President Franklin Delano Roosevelt — who was paralyzed from the waist down by polio at age 39 — has been donated to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

The video, with only the second such footage known to be in existence, shows the polio-stricken President, his legs supported by braces, moving gingerly while holding on to an aide's arm and grasping a handrail, making his way up a ramp in a crowded stadium.

The grainy, black-and-white clip was taken at Washington, D.C.'s, Griffith Stadium at the 1937 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, according to a museum statement.

Major League Baseball pitcher James "Jimmie" DeShong of the Washington Senators shot the remarkable footage on his 8 mm home movie camera.

DeShong's daughter, Judith Savastio, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, donated the film to the Pennsylvania State Archives to "conserve, preserve, interpret and make it accessible to the public," the statement said.

During his four terms as president, Roosevelt often used a wheelchair in private, but not for public appearances. 

But away from the cameras FDR — who many consider out greatest president — was unable to walk more than a few yards without help. Even then each step seemed an arduous trek, both physically and mentally, forcing him to spend most of his time confined to a wheelchair.

Bob Clark, deputy director of the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York, called the film significant because it offers a rare glimpse into how the President managed his disability.

"What you see with this film is, even going to a baseball game was difficult for him," he said. "The people at the stadium saw a man with paralyzed legs, getting out of his car, locking his braces so his knees were rigid, and doing a difficult walking maneuver to get to his seat. ... What the film shows is that FDR was not hiding his disability."

FDR's presidency spanned most of the Great Depression and World War II.

No comments:

Post a Comment