Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Real Story: “The Butler” and the Real Man Who Served Eight Presidents

posted by Nell Minow

“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” has Forest Whitaker as a man who worked for eight Presidents in the White House from the time of Jim Crow segregation to the Civil Rights era.  It was inspired by the real-life story of Eugene Allen, who came to the White House to work for Harry Truman and stayed on through Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan. Just before Barack Obama was about to become America’s first black President, Washington Post reporter Wil Haygood thought it would be interesting to talk to a black employee in the White House “from the era of segregation.” He found Allen, and wrote “A Butler Well Served,”

When he started at the White House in 1952, he couldn’t even use the public restrooms when he ventured back to his native Virginia. “We had never had anything,” Allen, 89, recalls of black America at the time. “I was always hoping things would get better.”

Allen wore a tuxedo on the job and often worked six days a week.  He was proud that he never missed a day.  When he retired, President and Mrs. Reagan invited him to a State dinner.  As a guest.  He was able to vote for Barack Obama in 2008.  He died in 2010.

The new all-star film fictionalizes the details but has Forest Whitaker as a butler based on Allen and Oprah Winfrey as his wife, with history happening all around them, affecting time, sometimes in contrast to what their family experiences.

For more details, read Haygood’s new book about Eugene Allen, The Butler: A Witness to History.



Previous Posts

Does PG-13 Mean Anything Anymore?
The Washington Post has an article about a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, "Parental Desensitization to Violence and Sex in Movies," with some disturbing conclusions about parents' ability to make good decisions about the impact some media may have on their children. This is not

posted 8:00:58am Oct. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Is E-Reading to Kids the Same as Analog Reading?
The New York Times asks, Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time? In a 2013 study, researchers found that children ages 3 to 5 whose parents read to them from an electronic book had lower reading comprehension than children whose parents used traditional books. Part of th

posted 8:00:40am Oct. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Todd and Jedd Wider about the Bullying Documentary "Mentor"
Producers Todd and Jedd Wider generously took time to answer my questions about their documentary, "Mentor," the story of two teenagers who committed suicide following relentless bullying. The film, which received Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Woodstock Film Festival th

posted 3:56:57pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Clip: Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ApzHJhZz2JQ" frameborder="0"] The latest in Disney's animated Tinkerbell series adds Ginnifer Goodwin to the cast. Coming in March of 2015, it explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity

posted 1:23:59pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: "Avatar" Villain Stephen Lang on Playing a Good Guy Coach in "23 Blast"
Stephen Lang is best known for playing the villain in "Avatar." But in "23 Blast," based on the real-life story of Travis Freeman, a high school football player who lost his vision but stayed on the team, Lang plays a good guy, the coach who encouraged and supported him. I talked to Lang about actin

posted 5:56:30am Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.