There’s no shortage of conspiracy theories involving Ronald Reagan and alien life. There’s his famous U.N. speech about how an alien threat would bring humanity together, and also the story about his personal screening of Steven Spielberg’s E.T., and his alleged mention of how close to reality the story was. Spielberg recently spoke to Quint at Ain’t It Cool, mainly on the topic of Jaws, but he also was asked about this latter rumour. Spielberg notes that he was actually there at the time, and, as an eye-witness, gave his thoughts on Reagan’s comment: in short, he’s pretty sure it was just a deadpan joke.
Quint: Now, I’ve heard a story that I wanted to run by you. I have no idea if it’s true, but an effects friend of mine told me about a special screening of E.T. for Ronald Reagan. Have you heard this story?
Steven Spielberg: I was there!
Quint: The story I heard is that when Reagan saw it he started talking about how close to reality it was and he was quickly ushered out of the room. Is that true?
Steven Spielberg: No, he wasn’t ushered out of the room. He was the President of the United States! Nobody could usher Ronald Reagan out of the room! It was in the White House screening room and Reagan got up to thank me for bringing the film to show the President, the First Lady and all of their guests, which included Sandra Day O’Connor in her first week of as a Justice of the Supreme Court, and it included some astronauts… I think Neil Armstrong was there, I’m not 100% certain, but it was an amazing, amazing evening.
He just stood up and he looked around the room, almost like he was doing a headcount, and he said, “I wanted to thank you for bringing E.T. to the White House. We really enjoyed your movie,” and then he looked around the room and said, “And there are a number of people in this room who know that everything on that screen is absolutely true.”
And he said it without smiling! But he said that and everybody laughed, by the way. The whole room laughed because he presented it like a joke, but he wasn’t smiling as he said it…
Quint: So, do you think he actually let something slip there?
Steven Spielberg: I don’t think he let something slip there, no. I think he delivered a joke without smiling, without a little bit of a twinkle behind the joke. I think the joke landed because everybody laughed, but because I’m a little bit of a Ufologist I was hoping that there was something more to the joke than met my eye. I’m sorry to say I think he was simply trying to tell a joke.
For the truly conspiracy-minded, you can also listen to an audio clip of the above exchange, just so you know exactly what Spielberg said…