Ronald Reagan is back on the campaign trail, as a hologram
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — A characteristic twinkle in his eye, Ronald Reagan waves to a crowd from aboard a rail car in a hologram revealed Wednesday at the late president's namesake library in Southern California.
"We think we made a good beginning, but you ain't seen nothin' yet!" the digital resurrection of the nation's 40th president says in his steady voice as a flurry of balloons falls in front of him.
Reagan, who died in 2004 at age 93, was speaking about the nation's future during a 1984 campaign stop but easily could have been referencing the technology that brought him back to life in 2018. The audio used is edited from his real remarks.
"We wanted to make President Reagan as lifelike as possible," said John Heubusch, executive director of the Reagan Foundation. "It's a stunning experience."
In two other holograms, Reagan appears in a suit and tie inside the Oval Office and in horseback riding pants, carrying a lasso alongside his dog, Victory, at his beloved ranch. All three holograms will be on display to visitors of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, west of Los Angeles, starting Thursday.
They will be shown in a specially designed room that will be the first stop for guests. Seats are set up in front of a stage, and a curtain opens up to thunderous applause at Reagan's campaign stop more than three decades ago.
The computer-generated imagery for the holograms was created starting with a silicone cast of Reagan's head that was photographed from various angles with 300 cameras. His head was then digitally "placed" on the body of an actor portraying the president with full costumes and backdrops for the three scenarios.
Reagan's face comes to life via specific movements of the mouth, nose, eyes, cheeks and hairline, all manipulated by computers.
Former President Ronald Reagan appears in western attire, as he might appear at his Santa Barbara ranch, but as a hologram, on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 10.