View Full Version : Arnold in the news...

Curt James
September 21st 06, 02:32 AM
Arnold still loves the camera
By Joe Mathews

Mathews, a Times staff writer, is author of "The People's Machine:
Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy."
September 17, 2006

LAST WEEK'S disclosure by The Times of an audio recording of Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger musing in his Sacramento office about Republicans
and ethnic blood-mixing produced condemnations, chuckles, a mea culpa,
a California Highway Patrol investigation and questions about how
staffers for Democratic challenger Phil Angelides managed to obtain it.
But the real surprise about the recording was its format: It was only
in audio.

When it comes to recording his meetings, his thoughts and his life,
Schwarzenegger has long been a video man. While researching a book
about his political career, I came across more than 100 videotapes of
Schwarzenegger engaging in various political, public service and
charitable endeavors. There were tapes of public speeches and private
meetings from his time promoting physical fitness on behalf of
President George H.W. Bush. Schwarzenegger's charitable work with
after-school programs in Boyle Heights and elsewhere was recorded, as
were some of his preparations for public office.

Angelides compared Schwarzenegger's taping to the infamous recordings
of President Nixon. In truth, Lyndon B. Johnson and Dwight D.
Eisenhower also taped private conversations. Such men - and
Schwarzenegger certainly considers himself a historically important
figure - tape with history in mind.

For Schwarzenegger, videotape has always been an essential professional
tool, as important as a compass to a ship's navigator.

As a budding movie star, he secured videotape of his talk-show
appearances and, with his publicist Charlotte Parker, dissected and
analyzed them like a football coach, looking for flaws in his

For years, he has cemented friendships by making funny tapes of
himself. One classic, recorded so his friend Warren Buffett could show
it at a Berkshire Hathaway meeting, is a takeoff on "An Officer and a
Gentleman," with Schwarzenegger as Louis Gossett Jr. and Buffett in the
Richard Gere role.

George Butler's film of Schwarzenegger's workouts and life during the
mid-1970s, first shown to the public in the 1977 movie "Pumping Iron,"
helped make him famous. After that, Schwarzenegger preferred to be
filmed while promoting his book and the benefits of fitness across the
country. In a tape on file in the library at the University of
Wisconsin-Superior, where Schwarzenegger lectured on fitness and earned
his bachelor's degree, the future governor looks repeatedly into the

"Gee, I look ugly on this screen," he says mid-lecture, spotting the
camera's viewer. "The lighting must be off."

When Schwarzenegger began to contemplate public service, videotape
became a constant. Schwarzenegger and Danny Hernandez, co-founder of
the actor's charity, the Inner City Games, made sure that his
appearances and even some meetings were taped for the record. Most of
Schwarzenegger's visits to all 50 states as the nation's physical
fitness czar from 1990 to 1992 were captured on tape.

John Cates, a retired professor from UC San Diego and Schwarzenegger's
aide during his physical fitness work, said that Schwarzenegger was
adamant about having a video record of governors and other state
officials saying they wanted to add more PE classes. Schwarzenegger
wanted the tapes so he could remind politicians who didn't live up to
their commitments.

In 1999, after the launch of his website, Schwarzenegger.com, the star
went a step further. He had staffers from a Hollywood production house
specializing in movie trailers follow him to charitable events,
premieres and film sets to shoot behind-the-scenes footage. The "Arnold
cam" became a regular feature on his website.

And in early 2001, when Schwarzenegger first contemplated a run for
office, he began his planning by making a video recording of his
unvarnished views on issues. The tape of this "authenticity interview,"
as it was called, was shown to focus groups.

In office, Schwarzenegger has been careful to keep a record. Audio
recordings such as the one disclosed by The Times - made by
speechwriters to satisfy his demand that they capture his unique syntax
- are the least of it. As many as three still photographers appear at
gubernatorial events, and he has an official videographer and a
personal one: Dieter Rauter, a friend and onetime stunt double for

What happens to Rauter's footage remains a mystery, even to aides. But
it is likely the tapes end up in Schwarzenegger's archive, the contents
of which can only be guessed. The governor long ago purchased the
rights to all the "Pumping Iron" footage and outtakes, some of which
appeared in a 25th anniversary DVD of the film.

Combined with the visual record of his gubernatorial work,
Schwarzenegger may one day leave behind the most extensive video record
ever produced by an American political figure - if the public ever
gets to see it.