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A smiling Ronald Reagan waves to a crowd from aboard a rail car during a 1984 campaign stop in a new 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 high-tech digital resurrection of the nation’s 40th president exclaims in his steady voice, with a twinkle in his eye.
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Reagan also shows up in a suit and tie inside the Oval Office and clutching a lasso at his beloved ranch in two other holograms soon to open to visitors at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library west of Los Angeles.
The audio is edited from remarks Reagan made during his lifetime. The computer-generated imagery comes from photos and video of the former president combined with digitized hand-drawn illustrations that allow for realistic facial expressions and body movements.
“We wanted to make President Reagan as lifelike as possible,” said John Heubusch, executive director of the Reagan Foundation.
The library worked with the same special-effects technicians who helped bring singers like Michael Jackson, Billie Holiday and Roy Orbison back to life on stage.
The Hollywood firm Hologram USA helped create the holograms and the stage on which they’re projected.
As a radio host, television star and movie actor, Reagan understood and appreciated new technologies, company senior vice president David Nussbaum said.
“He always thought many steps ahead,” Nussbaum said. “If he was looking down right now on this project, I think he would give us his seal of approval. I think he would totally get this and support it.”