Ind. prof: Film shows FDR in concealed wheelchair - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Ind. prof: Film shows FDR in concealed wheelchair

© President Franklin Delano Roosevelt © President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A professor at an Indiana college says he has found film footage showing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt being pushed in his wheelchair, depicting a secret that was hidden from the public until after his death.

Ray Begovich, a journalism professor at Franklin College south of Indianapolis, said Tuesday he found the eight-second clip (http://bit.ly/12YW5Bp ) while conducting unrelated research in the National Archives in College Park, Md. The National Archives and the FDR Presidential Museum and Library couldn't say for certain if other such footage exists but both said it is at least rare.

Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921 at age 39 and was unable to walk without leg braces or assistance. During his four terms as president, Roosevelt often used a wheelchair in private, but not for public appearances. News photographers cooperated in concealing Roosevelt's disability, and those who did not found their camera views blocked by Secret Service agents, according to the FDR Presidential Museum and Library's website.

"This raw film clip may be the first motion picture images of the president in his wheelchair, and it was never meant to be shown to the world," Begovich said.

Bob Clark, supervisory archivist at the Roosevelt library in New York, said he wasn't aware of any other similar film.

A spokeswoman for the National Archives concurred.

"With respect to whether or not this is the earliest or only existing footage of FDR in a wheelchair, we cannot state that this is definitively the case, although such footage is certainly rare," Laura Diachenko said in an email.

The film shows Roosevelt visiting the U.S.S. Baltimore at Pearl Harbor in July 1944. Eight seconds of the clip show Roosevelt exiting a doorway on the ship and being escorted down what is apparently a ramp. The wheelchair is not clearly visible because the view of the president is screened by a line of sailors, but Roosevelt's distinctive white hat can be seen gliding past the men at a lower level. Roosevelt, at 6-foot-2, was likely taller than most of the soldiers.

Although Roosevelt's disability was virtually a state secret during his presidency, which spanned the Great Depression and most of World War II, it has become an inspiration to advocates who successfully pushed for a statue of him in his wheelchair to be added to the Roosevelt Memorial in Washington.

"To me, the importance of this clip as historic media imagery is that it reminds all of us that this president fought the Great Depression and World War II from a wheelchair. I think it's a tragedy that we haven't had many candidates for national office who use a wheelchair or guide dog or sign language," Begovich said in a statement.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • CDC director raises Ebola alarm

    CDC director raises Ebola alarm

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:53 AM EDT2014-09-02 13:53:11 GMT
    (CNN) -- The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is much worse than official figures show, and other countries are unintentionally making it harder to control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden told CNN on Tuesday.More >>
    (CNN) -- The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is much worse than official figures show, and other countries are unintentionally making it harder to control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden told CNN on Tuesday.More >>
  • Tropical Blog 9/2

    T.S. Dolly Moving Across The Gulf Of Mexico

    T.S. Dolly Moving Across The Gulf Of Mexico

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 11:52 AM EDT2014-09-02 15:52:04 GMT
    Tuesday, September 210:45amThere is One Tropical Cyclone in the Atlantic Basin.Dolly (Tropical Storm)The Center of Dolly located 85 miles ESE of LA Pesca, Mexico and is centered at 23.4N 96.5W with Maximum sustained winds of 50mph and a Minimum Central Pressure of 1005mb (29.68"). This system is moving WNW (300) at 16mph.Watches/Warnings:There are no current watches or warnings in the United States, associated with this system.There is a Tropical Storm Warning in effect for the coastline fro...More >>
    Tuesday, September 210:45amThere is One Tropical Cyclone in the Atlantic Basin.Dolly (Tropical Storm)The Center of Dolly located 85 miles ESE of LA Pesca, Mexico and is centered at 23.4N 96.5W with Maximum sustained winds of 50mph and a Minimum Central Pressure of 1005mb (29.68"). This system is moving WNW (300) at 16mph.Watches/Warnings:There are no current watches or warnings in the United States, associated with this system.There is a Tropical Storm Warning in effect for the coastline fro...More >>
  • APD recommends wheel locks to prevent thefts

    APD recommends wheel locks to prevent thefts

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:40 PM EDT2014-09-02 20:40:46 GMT
    ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) -- Alexandria police need your help catching people responsible for stealing wheels and rims off of cars across the city.More >>
    ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) -- Alexandria police need your help catching people responsible for stealing wheels and rims off of cars across the city.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KALB. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.