NEW YORK, March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- In March of 1981, just 70 days after President Ronald Reagan took office, John Hinckley, Jr. came within an inch of changing history forever. What led a troubled twenty-five-year-old to this notorious fate? Follow John Hinckley's path from lonely teen to presidential gunman on THE PLOT TO KILL REAGAN, premiering on Thursday, March 30th, at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT on The History Channel. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20051031/HISTORYLOGO ) Reclusive teen John Hinckley has dreams of a career in music, but his parents insist that he attend Texas Tech to study business administration in 1973. After dropping out of college, he finds inspiration in the movie Taxi Driver, in which Robert DeNiro's character plans to impress a woman by assassinating a president. When that plan fails, he tries to rescue a young prostitute, played by Jodie Foster. Hinckley sees the movie fifteen times. According to Dr. William T. Carpenter, defense psychiatrist at Hinckley's trial, interviewed exclusively for THE PLOT TO KILL REAGAN , "he was sort of an empty vessel, demoralized and ready to fill up his inner world with something that was more compelling ... and this just struck a theme with him." Hinckley, desperate to act on his obsession with Foster, visits Yale, where she is a freshman. THE PLOT TO KILL REAGAN offers harrowing dramatizations of the effects of his many phone calls and letters on the actress. After she deflects his attention, he is more determined than ever to prove himself worthy of her. It was then, during the presidential campaign of 1980, that viewers see Hinckley stalk President Jimmy Carter. Soon after, THE PLOT TO KILL REAGAN documents Hinckley's stalking of Reagan for the first time. "He felt that notoriety would be the most important thing that he could achieve in his life, and the only way he could do that was to take down a very powerful figure or a celebrity that would attract the nation's attention," Dr. James W. Clarke, author of On Being Mad or Merely Angry, tell viewers. The program then offers a dramatic recreation of a turning point in March 1981 -- Hinckley is devastated when his father cuts him off to encourage him to make it on his own. Taking a bus back to Yale, Hinckley makes a stopover in Washington, DC. While there, he reads that President Reagan will be making an appearance just blocks away. Combining historical footage with dramatizations, viewers relive the events outside the Washington Hilton from Hinckley's point of view. After seeing him wave to Reagan as he and his staff enter the hotel, viewers watch Hinckley wait patiently until Reagan returns to his limousine. Firing six shots in 1.7 seconds, Hinckley hits President Reagan, missing his heart by an inch. In one of the program's highlights, those seconds and their immediate aftermath are re-lived by two participants in exclusive interviews. Danny Spriggs, former Deputy Director, U.S. Secret Service, who was on duty that day, tells viewers how he didn't see anyone suspicious in the crowd, and describes how the shooting changed how presidents have been protected ever since. Frederick Ahearn, Special Assistant to President Reagan, offers his account of hearing the shots, seeing the motorcade drive off, and attempting to help Press Secretary James Brady, who was shot in the forehead by Hinckley. THE PLOT TO KILL REAGAN sheds light on one of the darker figures of American history -- one of the few to attempt to kill a president. Its profile of Hinckley provides a chilling look at how a lonely boy grew up to come within an inch of ending the life of the most powerful man in the world. THE PLOT TO KILL REAGAN is produced for The History Channel by Indigo Films. Executive Producer for The History Channel is Carl H. Lindahl. The History Channel(R) is one of the leading cable television networks featuring compelling original, non-fiction specials and series that bring history to life in a powerful and entertaining manner across multiple platforms. The network provides an inviting place where people experience history in new and exciting ways enabling them to connect their lives today to the great lives and events of the past that provide a blueprint for the future. The History Channel has earned six News and Documentary Emmy(R) Awards and received the prestigious Governor's Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the network's Save Our History(R) campaign dedicated to historic preservation and history education. The History Channel reaches more than 89 million Nielsen subscribers. The website is located at www.History.com.
SOURCE The History Channel