Campaign Speeches by California Political Candidates in the 1960s Now Online

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Thumbnails from PG&E films (clockwise from top left): Ronald Reagan, 1966; Georg
Thumbnails from PG&E films (clockwise from top left): Ronald Reagan, 1966; Georg

Fifteen motion picture films of candidates campaigning for major political offices in California's 1962 and 1966 elections are now available on California Light and Sound. Each candidate was filmed as they spoke to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) employees and answered their questions during the company's nonpartisan lunchtime voter education program.  See the complete list of the digitized films, from the Pacific Gas and Electric Company Motion Picture Film collection, below.

These films go beyond transcripts to bring the candidates to life. Gubernatorial candidate Ronald Reagan spoke at PG&E four days before Election Day in 1966, putting his striking stage skills to good use. Whereas the other candidates remained onstage when their speeches had ended, Reagan created a dramatic high point by exiting stage left before the event had adjourned. Flashing a peace sign and waving as he stepped behind the curtain, he garnered a swell of applause and a standing ovation. Days later voters swept him into office in an election that removed all but one incumbent. A press panel held at PG&E a week later discussed the drastic election results, frequently mentioning the role television had played in the campaign.

The films were digitized and posted on the Internet Archive as part of the California Audiovisual Preservation Program. Sixty sound and moving-image recordings from the Hoover Archives are available on the California Light and Sound website.

1962 Campaign
Edmund G. Brown, candidate for governor
Glenn M. Anderson, candidate for lieutenant governor
George Christopher, candidate for lieutenant governor
Tom Coakley, candidate for attorney general
Stanley Mosk, candidate for attorney general
Richard Richards, candidate for US Senate
Joe Eley lecture on freedom, politics, and society

1966 Campaign
Edmund G. Brown, candidate for governor
Ronald Reagan, candidate for governor
Glenn M. Anderson, candidate for lieutenant governor
Robert H. Finch, candidate for lieutenant governor
Thomas C. Lynch, candidate for attorney general
Alan Cranston, candidate for controller
Houston I. Flournoy, candidate for controller
Election postmortem press panel