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Popcorn with the president

Former employee recalls Reagans’ love of movies, mail

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Mark Weinberg, formerly a USPS communications executive, has written a memoir of his experiences working for Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

A former Postal Service manager has written a book about Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s love of movies.

In “Movie Nights with the Reagans,” author Mark Weinberg recalls how the president and first lady would unwind by watching films on weekend evenings at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. The couple liked classic movies, but they also watched then-new releases like “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “On Golden Pond.”

Weinberg, who served eight years as one of Reagan’s press officers, was among a small group of senior staffers invited to join the couple. His book was released Feb. 27, in time for the Oscars ceremony this weekend.

“The book discusses the Reagans’ thoughts about the movies and how they related to what was going on in the country and with the Reagans at that time,” he said.

Weinberg, who also worked for the Reagans for two years after they left the White House, later joined USPS as a special events marketing manager. He now runs his own communications consulting firm.

His book reminds readers that the Reagans were once accomplished actors.

Before they were married, Reagan and Nancy Davis co-starred in “Hellcats of the Navy,” an action flick. “It was Nancy’s favorite film,” Weinberg said.

Reagan also appeared in dozens of motion pictures, including the dramas “King’s Row” and “Knute Rockne All American,” in which he played real-life college football star George “The Gippper” Gipp.

“It was one of the most iconic movies of his career. To this day, people still refer to Reagan as the Gipper,” Weinberg said.

Reagan even attended the Postal Service’s 1988 dedication ceremony for the Knute Rockne stamp. The president himself was honored with stamps twice after his death: once in 2004, the year he died, and again in 2011.

Reagan, whose favorite movie was reportedly the western “High Noon,” was known for injecting cinematic references into his comments now and then.

He once threatened to veto a proposed tax increase by telling Congress, “Go ahead, make my day” — a famous line from the 1983 Clint Eastwood movie “Sudden Impact.”

“Movie Nights with the Reagans” also reveals the president’s appreciation for letter writing.

“Reagan loved writing letters and he loved receiving letters. If you wrote him a letter and he got it, he’d write you back,” Weinberg said. “He’d address the envelope himself and put a stamp on it.”

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