Saturday, October 13, 2012

Kevin Mattson's "Just Plain Dick"

Kevin Mattson is Connor Study Professor of Contemporary History at Ohio University and serves as a faculty associate of the Contemporary History Institute. His work explores the broad intersections between ideas and politics in 20th century America. He is author of numerous books, including "What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?": Jimmy Carter, America's "Malaise," and the Speech that Should Have Changed the Country.

Here Mattson dreamcasts an adaptation of his latest book, Just Plain Dick: Richard Nixon's Checkers Speech and the "Rocking, Socking" Election of 1952:
My tastes run to the experimental in film, so I’m not really familiar with my choice among Hollywood stars. But this I know: The Checkers Speech is not only the subject of my own book, Just Plain Dick, it is a play that will be coming to New York City soon, according to the New York Times. Anthony LaPaglia plays Nixon on the stage. So I suppose he might have first dibs if the play were to become a movie. One thing’s for sure: The person to play Nixon, if he really has the old-time “method” form of acting down, will have to put himself into a place where he feels that his career might be coming to an end and then decides to fight for his life. It would be an intense role, and as with anything about Richard Nixon, troubling. It would take a psychological intensity that some actors might find exhausting. There’d probably be sleep-deprivation involved. But the lead player could also rest assured that there would be a happy ending – happy for the central character, that is – awaiting the movie’s final scenes.
Learn more about the book and author at Kevin Mattson's website and blog.

The Page 99 Test: Just Plain Dick.

--Marshal Zeringue