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Motion Picture MP2002-552

Screen Gems Collection (outtakes from the television series "Decision: The Conflicts of Harry S. Truman")

Administrative Information

Original Format(s)
Motion Picture
1100 feet
Running Time
32 minutes 25 seconds
Film Gauge
magnetic soundtrack
Produced by
Screen Gems in association with Ben Gradus
Received from the will of Harry S. Truman
American Civil War, 1861-1865
Brothers and sisters
Card games
Church buildings
High schools
World War, 1914-1918

Merle Miller interviews former president Harry S. Truman. He asks several questions and there is discussion on a number of topics. Sound only.

1961 - 1963

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Moving Image Type
Screen Gems

Shot List

Audio file

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0:00    What were we talking about yesterday; you spoke of Abraham Lincoln.

    Truman:  We were talking about why I think Abraham Lincoln was a great President.  I think he was because he had nerve enough to save the union under difficult circumstances.  If he hadn’t, we would have been divided into half a dozen Latin American countries who would have no influence in the world.  He had nerve to do the right thing against tremendous opposition.

1:32    How did he know what to do?

    Truman:  He knew how to do the right thing because he knew his history.  He had been a local politician; he knew if the union could not be saved we would be many states who could get nothing done.

2:17    We took pictures on a walk yesterday.

    Truman:  We passed the current junior high school which was the site of the high school Mrs. Truman and I attended.

    What happened to that building?

    Truman:  It burned up with all the records.  Nobody knows if I ever graduated from high school.

3:10    We took a picture of the Baptist Church.  Did you go there?

    Truman:  No, you’re thinking of the Presbyterian Church.  That’s where Mrs. Truman and I met.

4:08    Rufus Burrus said things about your poker game; he said neither of you were much good.  

    Truman:  The poker games were not played for game.  I usually set a limit for betting, 10 cents to the dollar.  It was done only for entertainment.

    Judge Vinson liked wild games?

    Truman:  Yes he did.  Mr. Truman teases Merle Miller about getting into a game with him.

6:01      Mr. Miller reads a quote from Ethel Noland that says Harry Truman is a product of the 19th century.  Would Mr. Truman comment?

    Truman:  “I think my cousin has stated the case.”  He can’t endorse it because she places him as a product of that century.  “I appreciate it most highly; she told the truth.”

7:18    Mr. Miller asks him to comment on Ethel Noland.

    Truman:  The Noland sister and the Truman siblings were raised at the same time and it was as if they belonged to the same family.  

    Mr. Miller asked for comment on Tom Evans.

8:05    Truman:  He knew Tom Evans for 30 years.  They met through working for the welfare of the Democratic party back in the l920’s.  

    Mr. Miller asked about running Jackson County compared to the presidency.

8:52    Truman:  There wasn’t any difference in being a chief administrator for a county or as President of the United States.

    Mr. Miller asked was Joseph Stalin like Tom Pendergast?

9:35    Truman:  Stalin was a man willing to listen, make up his mind, and decide.  I found out later he didn’t intend to keep his word.  Tom Pendergast always kept his word and never forgot it.

10:23  Talk about Mary Jane Truman.

    Truman:  Sister Mary Jane and brother Vivian and he were as close as three people could be.  Vivian and he always looked out for Mary Jane.  Mary Jane and he used to play duets together on the pi