Lady Bird Johnson Home Movie #26: Friends visit the LBJ Ranch, Fall 1955

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In the late 1930s, Lyndon Baines Johnson gave his wife Lady Bird  a movie camera. She later narrated over nine hours of footage, which was enhanced with a musical score. The fascinating films she shot of the 36th president are available on the LBJ Presidential Library’s YouTube page.

In the fall of 1955, Senate Majority Leader Johnson  was convalescing from a major heart attack. He would not leave his Texas ranch and return to Capitol Hill until December. Lady Bird captured her husband’s gregariousness, power, charisma, ambition, comfort at wearing swimming trunks when everyone else was in a suit, his adoration of their dog Little Beagle Johnson, and the overwhelming force of his personality.

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“Hubert Humphrey, and Muriel, and their son Skipper came by to visit us on their way back from vacation time in, Arizona, I believe.”

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“See how slim Lyndon is!”


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“Here are Linda, and Lucy, checking out the new pool.”

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“See how bronzed and slim Lyndon is!”

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“There’s Beagle, who was never far from Lyndon in those days.”

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“And here is Stu Symington, back to see us. Five years ago he came.”

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“The hammocks, the outdoor chairs, were a big part of life. We seldom stayed indoors, if the sun was shinning, which it nearly always is.”

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“And there’s Jim McConaughey of Life, he was killed in a plane crash not long afterwards.”

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“And there’s Senator Kerr, complete with galluses.”

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“John Connally and Clark Clifford get the once over from Beagle.”

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“Lyndon is showing Frank and Ruth Stanton the ranch.”

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“The weather at the ranch is very sunny, and very benevolent.”

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“Albert Jackson, and Jane, down from Dallas to visit us.”

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“Lyndon always swam with his dark glasses on if the sun was bright.”

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“And there is Estes Kefauver.”

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“Estes came down, and he and Lyndon went for a hunt, and he killed a good buck. I remember they left before the sun came up. I got up and gave them coffee and then went straight back to bed.”

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“And there’s Lyndon’s sister Josefa.”

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“George Reedy in the background.” (the modest narrator Lady Bird is to the left)

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“The wind was always blowing at the ranch. There’s the morning’s kill, in the old car that we now call The Tank, because it’s so heavy to drive.”

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“There’s Estes. With the symbol of the Democratic Party.”


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“And here is a press conference. Estes, Lyndon, Grace Tully.”

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“Juanita handing them a memo.”

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“Beagle was always in on everything. He saw a camera, he came running, we all accused him of it.”

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