On President’s Day it’s common to honor this nation’s leaders by staying home from school or maybe partaking in some Lincoln-inspired one-day sales.
I’m sure being president is a hard job, so he needs to unwind in the evening too. Lucky for him, the job comes with a home theater, and has for many decades. Several sources note that while the first movie was shown in the White House in 1915, the theater wasn’t actually built until 1942. President Dwight Eisenhower is said to have watched over 200 movies in the room. President Ronald Reagan’s favorite movie for the room was The Sound of Music. According to Tevi Troy, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, President Bill Clinton was a fan of Fight Club and American Beauty.
Here’s a pictorial tour of the official White House Family Theater. You’ll notice that the décor has changed significantly over the years as technology improved and presidential tastes changed. We’re sure the theater has been guests to dignitaries of all kinds. Even Hollywood celebrities such as Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have enjoyed the room. The theater is used for much more than just watching Walking Dead on Sunday evenings. Some official functions take place there; guests are entertained and major speeches are rehearsed. Maybe the family also get together to play Call of Duty.
Unfortunately we don’t know what equipment is actually installed in the theater—that’s confidential information. What’s on the president’s DVR? Does the White House have a Kaleidescape? Are they an Xbox360 or PS3 family? Extra butter on their popcorn? We do know that the While House Family Theater includes a 3D projector and that it includes seats for 42 people. Everything else is a state secret.
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.
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