June 14, 2011 – The movie E.T., directed by Stephen Spielberg, was screened in the White House in 1982 for a group that included President Reagan, the first lady, Sandra Day O’Conner and possibly Neil Armstrong among other astronauts. Until recently, very little has been said about Reagan’s words to Mr. Spielberg after the screening, it wasn’t even confirmed that President Reagan had said anything. In a recent interview, however, Mr. Spielberg recounted what was said.
Mr. Spielberg recalls that after the movie, in front of everyone who had watched, President Reagan thanked him for the opportunity to watch the movie and then said that there were “a number of people in the room who knew that everything on that screen was true”. According to the Director, President Reagan spoke that last part without a smile or glimmer of a hint that his words were said in jest, despite the fact that everyone in the room laughed at his remark. Mr. Spielberg says that despite the deadpan delivery he believes that the President was genuinely joking.
Mr. Spielberg also goes on to say that he had hoped that President Reagan had let something slip, as the director is an avid UFOlogist. Despite his own hopes he claims to have no doubt that the President was joking, and that the joke was done well as everyone laughed. However, one might question the conclusion that it was a joke as President Reagan was also very interested in extraterrestrial life forms and UFOs.
As the Governor of California he had reported sightings of UFOs on two separate occasions. As President, he brought up the topic of extraterrestrials visiting Earth in several of his speeches, including the 42nd General Assembly of the United Nations on 21 September, 1987. In his address of the United Nations in 1987 he talked about the threat of an alien invasion and how it would likely unify the whole of Earth against an outside force. So it is well documented that President Reagan is an avid believer in UFOs.
As a UFOlogist himself, Mr. Spielberg would have known this, so one wonders how he can be so very certain that President Reagan’s statement at the end of the screening was a joke. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that Mr. Spielberg has connections in the White House and doesn’t want to rub them the wrong way. Perhaps there is something Mr. Spielberg isn’t saying, or perhaps it is only his intuition guiding his certainty.