Former President George Bush Describes the Holiday Movie Classic 'It's a Wonderful Life' for the Blind

December 16 Screening for the Blind Coincides With All-Star Taping

Of 'The Eyes of Christmas' at Universal Studios, Telecast to Air Christmas Eve

50 Governors Declare Dec. 24 'TheatreVision(TM) Eyes of Christmas Day'



Dec 10, 2001, 00:00 ET from Retinitis Pigmentosa International

    LOS ANGELES, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Former President George Bush
 describes the holiday Christmas classic, "It's a Wonderful Life," for the
 blind via an innovative new technology, entitled TheatreVision(TM), which
 allows the visually challenged to experience the magic of motion pictures.
 The newly described version of this classic film will premiere at a special
 screening at Universal Studios on Sunday, December 16, at 12:30 p.m.
 Simultaneously, an all-star annual holiday telecast for the blind,
 "The Eyes of Christmas," will be taping in a building adjacent to the
 screening.  Celebrities participating will describe their personal memories of
 the holidays on camera and are also invited to experience the special
 screening.
     This first-time-ever special unveiling of "It's a Wonderful Life" will be
 presented in its entirety, followed by a champagne reception at 2:30 p.m. and
 an encore film screening at 3:30 p.m.  The television taping will be ongoing
 throughout the afternoon until 5:30 p.m.  Celebrities will join noted
 Hollywood columnist Army Archerd for the recording of audio-greeting cards for
 the blind to be sent out in time for the holiday season.  In this special
 version of the holiday classic, former President George Bush describes
 "It's a Wonderful Life" for the nation's 31,000,000 blind and vision impaired
 who cannot read ordinary print or see motion picture or television screens.
 The film will tour America in private theaters in 2002.
     In addition to such stars as, Jay Leno, Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Celine Dion,
 Pierce Brosnan, Tim Allen, Brooke Shields, Bob Hope, Sandra Bullock, David
 Hyde Pierce, Faith Hill, Whitney Houston, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlton
 Heston, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Dan Aykroyd, Samuel L. Jackson, Drew
 Barrymore, John Travolta, Michael J. Fox and Natalie Cole, who are
 participating via prerecorded audio describing their memories of Christmas
 past for "The Eyes of Christmas" telecast, governors from 50 states have
 declared December 24 "TheatreVision(TM) Eyes of Christmas Day."
     The former president joins a cadre of Hollywood's top celebrities, film
 directors, producers, corporate individuals, children and volunteers who have
 made a dedicated effort to have "Sight ... a Right for Life."
 TheatreVision(TM) founder, Helen Harris noted, "The power of the word is
 simply unknown to those who are not able to read it.  The printed word can
 take us anywhere in the world."
     Fifty governors will join the president by declaring "TheatreVision(TM)
 Eyes of Christmas Day" on December 24, 2001, in conjunction with "The Eyes of
 Christmas" telecast, which will include portions of another holiday classic,
 Charles Dickens' "Scrooge," described for the blind as part of the telecast on
 Fox/KCOP-UPN13 and other network and cable television stations across the
 country.  "The Eyes of Christmas" will also be broadcast via radio, satellite,
 and on hundreds of other stations nationwide for the blind and vision
 impaired.
 
     TheatreVision is a process allowing the blind to experience motion
 pictures via a special descriptive track added in between the dialog of a film
 describing the on-screen action of the picture.  The process was pioneered by
 blind artist, Helen Harris, founding President of Retinitis Pigmentosa
 International (RPI), the leading non-profit organization fighting Retinitis
 Pigmentosa (RP) and other blinding degenerative eye diseases.  Harris' love of
 movies inspired her to create TheatreVision, which made its debut in 1994 with
 the first-ever delivery of a motion picture, Forrest Gump, to blind audiences
 in a movie theater, allowing them to once again enjoy the "going to the
 movies" experience.  Since then, over 150 different projects, including films,
 television shows and live stage presentations, have been presented to
 audiences around the world in TheatreVision description.  The telecast also
 includes descriptions of scenes around the world, including the changing of
 the guard in England and the lighting of the White House tree by Laura Bush.
 
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SOURCE Retinitis Pigmentosa International