I was late to the Nancy Reagan Admiration Society. She had arrived on the political scene, after all, on the arm of Ronald Reagan, a man I neither liked nor admired.
I thought he was a phony — a B-movie star who seemed either unwilling or unable to differentiate between movies and real life. He was fond of telling stories like that one about the wounded airman and his fatherly senior officer who, as their disabled bomber rocketed toward the earth, comforted the boy by saying, “Don’t worry, son. We’ll ride this down together.”
I wondered how “Dutch” could have known the final words of the officer, who presumably died in the subsequent crash. Years later I found the answer. The scene was in a World War II movie.
He was always doing things like that, copping a scene here or a line there from an old movie and making it his own.
And Nancy Reagan was part and parcel of that act — a clotheshorse whose main job was to sit slightly behind her husband at speeches, gazing at him admiringly while nodding at appropriate moments.