One make-believe Reagan role was about to end in the restaurant while a real-life Reagan role was about to begin in the bar.
Seven people silently watching the ending of "The Santa Fe Trail" at a Ronald Reagan film festival at d.c. space leaped from their chairs to exchange one screen for another.
They watched and listened, almost dumbfounded, to Jimmy Carter's concession speech just before 10 p.m. Joining seven quiet TV watchers in the bar, the seven moviegoers made random comments:
"The movie was better," said one. "Suddenly it all becomes alarmingly funny," said Allen Jirkowic, an owner of the trendy restaurant/bar at Seventh and E streets NW. "Not too happy here, is it?" said co-owner Bill Warrell, adding, "I don't think there's a Reagan voter in this crowd." b
After the concession speech that interrupted the end of the Reagan movie, in which he played the young Lt. Custer, the seven movie loyalists turned their backs on the bar TV and returned to the adjoining restaurant where the screen filled with the president-elect playing a Commie in "Prisoner of War."
The four-day Reagan film festival was supposed to conclude by early yesterday morning with the marathon showing of five Reagan films, including his best movie effort, "King's Row." For the rest of the evening, the viewers -- including a commercial artist, a writer, a University of Maryland psychology professor -- sat in stunned silence. There were no comments, no jeers, as if a mood of disbelief had overcome them and they could no longer connect fact with fantasy.