February 2, 2007
image: Newseum reveals truth behind Hollywood drama

Newseum Reveals Truth Behind Hollywood Drama

WASHINGTON - Pick a movie - any movie. If it involves a historic world event, visitors can read all about the facts behind the film on the front pages of the Newseum's collection of 30,000 newspapers.

Dating back 500 years, the front pages will be displayed in cases and drawers in the 6,000-square-foot News History gallery.

The aftermath of Princess Diana's death in 1997 is the basis of the Oscar-nominated movie "The Queen." Front-page news stories and magazines covering her death are part of the gallery's headlines of history. The day she was killed in a car crash, the London tabloid News of the World published a "shock issue" detailing her death.

"Titanic," the largest grossing movie of all time, mixed fact with fiction to tell the story of the "unsinkable" ship's sinking. The April 16, 1912, issue of The New York Herald reported the sinking with a bold layout and vivid writing. But conflicting details caused some newspapers to report incorrectly that all passengers had been saved.

The fall of Atlanta and eventually the Confederacy was a key event in "Gone With the Wind." Newspapers across the country extensively covered the Civil War. South Carolina's secession from the Union in 1860 was heralded in a broadside extra edition of the Charleston Mercury. Less than four months later, the Mercury published another extra, reporting the opening shots of the Civil War - the attack on Fort Sumter.

Other headlines of history with a Hollywood connection:

  • The Boston News-Letter's proclamation in 1719 offering a reward for the capture of the notorious pirate Blackbeard (pirate theme found in "Pirates of the Caribbean").
  • Johnson City Staff-News's coverage in 1925 of the Scopes Monkey Trial ("Inherit the Wind").
  • Washington Afro-American's coverage in 1947 of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in major league baseball ("The Jackie Robinson Story").
  • The Washington Post's Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage beginning in 1972 of the Watergate scandal ("All the President's Men").
  • The San Francisco Examiner's one-word headline - "Bastards!" - captured the country's reaction to the 2001 terrorists attacks ("World Trade Center").
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