Hologram of Ronald Reagan (and his dog) unveiled at former president's library

The three-dimensional hologram of former President Ronald Reagan is the first of its kind.
by Adam Edelman /  / Updated 

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The Gipper is back — and he's in 3D.

A three-dimensional hologram of Ronald Reagan will be unveiled Thursday by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, in a first-of-its-kind light-based depiction of a former commander in chief.

The lifelike hologram of the 40th president was put together with the help of top Hollywood special effects artists, the foundation said in a statement. It will be introduced to the public Thursday morning at the Simi Valley, California, foundation.

"We plan to keep the Reagan Museum relevant and engaging now and in the future. We often use leading edge technology to do that," said John Heubusch, the Reagan Foundation and Institute's executive director. "While we can't bring President Reagan back to life, using a stunningly realistic hologram and the president's own voice, we found we can get very close."

Reagan died in 2004 at the age of 93.

"Placing him back in the Oval Office, at his ranch or campaigning from the back of a train has been accomplished with enormous respect for the man, his words and his memory," Heubusch added. "If people find this likeness and light-form as inspiring as it is magical, we’ll have achieved our goal."

Three different hologram depictions will play at a theater at the library, including a stop on Reagan’s whistle-stop train tour through Ohio during the 1984 presidential campaign; a scene from inside Reagan's Rancho del Cielo vacation home; and one from inside the Oval Office.

The scene at the ranch even includes one of Reagan's beloved dogs, Victory, a golden retriever who lived at the Santa Barbara, California-area ranch. To film the scene, the hologram's directors brought in an identical golden retriever named Rusty to act as Victory.

According to the foundation, Victory was given to Reagan as a gift during a 1980 presidential campaign stop. The woman who wanted to give the dog, a nurse from Milwaukee, who had worked for Nancy Reagan's father, promised she would keep the dog until the election. And when Reagan won in November, the Reagans adopted him, but had him live at Rancho del Cielo, not the White House.

The event will mark the first time that a hologram of a U.S. president has been created, the foundation said. Similar technology was used in 2012 to produce a lifelike hologram of Tupac Shakur at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

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