Opening scene shows U.S. President Ronald Reagan holding a little girl, and then standing with officials and Secret Service agents, as he prepares to enter a car. Closeup of him smiling. Closeup of President Reagan signing his autograph for spectators in a crowd. Next, Reagan and his wife Nancy are seen on November 4, 1980 waving to supporters at the Century Plaza Hotel, celebrating his election victory as the 40th U.S. President. The President elect says a few words of thanks to them. Views of the crowd cheering. Adopted son, Michael Reagan holds his son Cameron as he and his wife, Colleen Reagan, join Ronald and Nancy Reagan on the stage, followed by daughter Patricia Reagan and son Ron Reagan. The crowd cheers the President elect and his family. At this point the film begins showing images about Ronald Regan's life, starting with baby pictures; his parents; Tampico, Illinois, where he was born; Dixon, where he is seen in a school picture and with boyhood friends. A photograph of "Dutch" Reagan President of his High School Class. Reagan in photo with other members of the Eureka College football team, in Eureka, Illinois. The seal of the college. Pictures of Reagan with college classmates and teammates. Reagan posing in bathing suit when he was swimming team coach. Young Reagan, after graduation, as a sports announcer, sitting at a microphone labeled: "WHO" in Davenport, Iowa. The broadcasting tower of that radio station. A Track and field event taking place. Reagan posing with a pipe in his mouth, at the WHO radio station in Des Moines, Iowa. A baseball game in progress before a full stadium of spectators. In 1937, a Chicago baseball team is seen boarding a ship to a Spring training camp in California. (Narrator states Reagan accompanied them.) Aerial view of buildings at the First National Studios (home of Warner Brothers) in Hollywood. Ronald and Nancy Reagan, circa 1952, being applauded at a gathering when he was President of the Screen Actors Guild. Views of Reagan in U.S. Army uniform. A U.S. Army C-47 aircraft taking off from a field under attack, with fires burning and smoke rising (possibly during Japanese December 7, 1941 attack on installations in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii). U.S. Airmen standing on a ramp next to a Douglas C-47B-1-DL transport aircraft (tail number: 43-16145). What appears to be a ViP version of a B-50 aircraft parked on a ramp with an honor guard at the stairway. Ronald Reagan, in uniform, signing up for active duty. Later, Captain Reagan, U.S. Army Air Forces, is seen with other uniformed men at a gathering in Warner Brothers studios. The entrance of Paramount Pictures studios in Hollywood. A large group of studio employees walking between buildings. Reagan speaking, as President, of the Screen Actors Guild, at an outdoor gathering. Actor Robert Young and film industry executives stand nearby. Reagan, as Chairman of the Motion Picture Industry Council, addresses a dinner gathering of that organization. He is also seen testifying before he House Committee on Un-American activities Committee (HUAC) on October 23, 1947.
'Retrospect' about the events that led to the present pattern of life in the United States. Host Douglas Edwards, an American television anchor speaks about the past events in America. Crowd of unemployed men gathering in bread lines after the 1929 crash and subsequent Great Depression. A man near a box of apples. The U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addresses a gathering. The kidnapping of Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., the son of the aviator Charles Lindbergh in 1932. Bruno Richard Hauptmann, a German carpenter who abducted the child during the trial. The congressmen at the formation of the Lindbergh Law. Newspapers describe the apprehension or death of notorious gangster criminals, such as Dutch Schultz and Baby Face Nelson. Huey Pierce Long, Jr. a American politician addresses people. Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia appeals to the League of Nations, after his country is attacked by Italy under Mussolini. Adolf Hitler stands. Troops of the German army parade. Scenes from the Spanish Civil War in 1936-1937 as Spanish national forces battle against fascist rebel forces. Spanish Troops fire 75mm field artillery pieces. Bombs being dropped on the buildings. Spanish soldiers marching during the civil war. The Hindenburg disaster takes place on May 6th 1937: The German airship LZ 129 Hindenburg catches fire over the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester, New Jersey. Amelia Earhart the first woman aviator to fly solo holds flowers and is surrounded by people. She went missing in 1937. Cowboy philosopher Will Rogers, alone and with U.S. Vice President John Nance Garner and with aviator Wiley Post (who had patch over one eye). King Edward VIII of Great Britain, abdicating the throne for "the woman I love." People at the German-American Bund Nazi sympathizing gathering including the subduing of objectors on stage, in Madison Square Garden, New York. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, returning from meeting with Adolf Hitler in Munich in 1938. View of Adolf Hitler. German tanks on parade in World War II. an array of artillery guns on display. Railway guns being fired in WW2.
People undertaking measures to beat the heat in the United States during the 1937 heat wave. People gather in a large number near the swimming pools. Children dive in the water and swim. Fountains erected in city streets where children gather to play. People pass through the street as water being sprinkled with the help of fountains. A female secretary wearing a bathing suit sits at a desk and takes dictation from a man. Inventor Horatio Casterbilt (or Casterbuilt) shows and wears a hat with a fan motor attached to it to keep his head cool. From a August 1962 newsreel depicting events 25 years earlier.
Damage caused by 1937 flood in the Ohio Valley area of the United States. A heavy loss of property due to a flood. Supplies being unloaded from trucks for the people. People being rescued from the areas affected by flood. Men aboard boats moving through buildings on the edge of the Ohio River that are submerged in water. Men moving a wooden casket. Destroyed houses and buildings in the areas. Flooded streets. A weather vane blowing briskly in wind. Narrator details how the weather bureau forecasts the weather and offers the information to help prevent losses from such disasters. Automatic typing machine records weather instrument readings. View of newspapers being printed at a printing press. A radio tower. People gather near injured flood victims. People lined up on the street to get supplies. Scenes of floodwaters below Memphis where flooding was effectively contained. Water rushing under the then new Bonnet Carre spillway of Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans. Man opens a book published in Lisbon in 1605, now in the Library of Congress, written by Gabriel Lobo Lasso de la Vega, reporting on the exploration team of De Soto on leaf 300 of the book. De Soto's group, in 1543, reported on the flood they saw below current day Memphis, extending over 20 leagues of land, covering the tops of trees, but not overrunning the homes of the Native Americans who build shelter atop high poles. A view of submerged homes in the 1937 flood are shown as the narrator laments that more modern people did worse than the Native Americans.
In 1937 an "air flivver" airplane from inventor Hayden Campbell, costing $1500, ready for take off as pilot sits in the cockpit in United States. Plane takes off.
Large crowd gathers to celebrate the New Year (1937) in Times Square, New York City, United States. Numerous neon signs are seen. Examples include a "Planters Peanuts" sign that shows peanuts pouring from a package, and signs advertising product names such as: "Camels"and"Coca-Cola." A blinking "Vaudeville" sign is seen. The Criterion movie theater advertises a James Cagney film. Loews theater marquee announces Joan Crawford and Clark Gable appearing in the film "Love on the Run."