Presidents in Florida, a documentary by WUCF TV based on a book of the same name by UCF history faculty member James C. Clark, will premiere Thursday, Dec. 10.
Florida has had a far-reaching effect on the presidency dating all the way back to George Washington, before the region was even a state. The film, written and produced by WUCF veteran television journalist Buddy Pittman ’74 and senior lecturer Clark, looks at the long-standing connection between the state and the White House.
The 50-minute documentary examines the environmental efforts spearheaded by several president, the space program, and landmark political moments that occurred here, including Richard Nixon’s Watergate “I am not a crook” speech and George W. Bush’s Sept. 11, 2001, press conference following the World Trade Center attack. The film also uncovers some of the little-known Florida stories that have involved presidents.
Clark wrote the book in 2016 as the presidential campaign got underway.
“I had worked with Buddy Pittman on the [WUCF] Road Trip series for several years and when I suggested a documentary, Buddy embraced it,” Clark says. “We realized we had tremendous resources on campus.”
Appearing in the documentary with Clark, who is the author of nine books, are UCF faculty members Amy Foster, Barbara Gannon, David Head, David Morton ’14MA ’19PhD, and Lori Walters.
The film is narrated by long-time CBS News radio reporter Peter King, who is known for his coverage of NASA and the space industry.
“WUCF has dedicated itself to telling community stories as Central Florida’s Storytellers. It’s our commitment to the community to educate, engage and inspire through our content,” says Phil Hoffman, WUCF executive director. “Presidents in Florida comes at an interesting time in history, with Florida taking a major role.”