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Editorial: Moving Theodore

A few weeks ago, OB resident Mike Rich contacted me with the news that he had a DVD of Moving Theodore, a mini-documentary tracing the history and rededication of the TR’s Rough Rider statue, to give me. It took me a while to view it: problems with time, but more exactly I needed our IT guy to set it up to play on my computer at work. I tried at home but couldn’t manage it. Now I have a clue for the next time.

I just can’t thank Mike enough. Having lived through the moving of Theodore in real time – some of it, not all of the information – it was lovely to watch it all again. Producer/Director Jeff Parente and Assistant Director/Editor Ron Smith are to be congratulated on their work. The piece is dedicated to the memory of Fritz Coudert, John Gable and Andy Tini – three men who have died, but were instrumental in Moving Theodore.

We truly enjoyed it and were delighted to have seen it. We wondered it if was going to be a fundraiser for the Theodore Roosevelt Statue Committee. Mike Rich, said, “no,” that it wasn’t intended for that use, although he said it might be used at some time when the statue needs cleaning and they need to raise funds.

He said to call Jeff Parente, whose idea the videodocumentary was. He said originally it was just going to be stills of the work. Jeff turned it into a series of interviews nicely cut with the speeches from the showmobile on Oct. 29, 2010 when the TR Triangle Park was dedicated and the statue was re-dedicated in its permanent home. We made a call, but haven’t connected with Jeff as yet.

Oyster Bay Town Historian John Hammond; Mike Rich, who was instrumental in much of the honoring of TR; Terry Brown, Theodore Roosevelt Association executive director; Mike Reilly, architect who designed the TR Triangle Park; and Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto all do a lot of the speaking. Elizabeth Roosevelt, Jack Bernstein, and Elliot “Butch” Garrison have small cameo appearances. You can see Lori and Roger Bahnik on the showmobile; as well as Oyster Bay Historical Society Executive Director Philip Blocklyn in a quick close-up. There are a great many local people in the video of people watching at the dedication ceremony.

All in all, it is a wonderful remembrance. Mike Rich said they can make copies available to others. We are just grateful to have been one of the lucky ones.

“Jeff Parente did the video at no charge to the committee. He just wanted to do it, and we wanted to do it too,” said Mike.

During his part of the video Mike Rich made a point to say several times, this is for the community.

Mike and Jeff this is a thank you to you on behalf of the community. ”Truly, thank you.”