DISCOVERING A HIDDEN CORNER OF HISTORY (cont.)
Jones' influence and power shaped the way American
government operated at a critical period in our history: 1932-1945.
But his role and his actions don't lend themselves to easy explanations.
He was the puppeteer manipulating a multi-stringed marionette.
A twitch of his little finger produced an enormous kick - but
when you're watching the show, it's the puppet that's fun to see.
As for the puppeteer - it's still just a twitch of a little finger.
My job was to make those little twitches both understandable and
compelling to the audience.
As we looked deeper into Jesse Jones and how he
did what he did, we kept coming back to a theme of American history
that is as relevant today as ever: the role of central government.
And that is the frame in which we can put this forgotten figure
in his rightful place. Today both Republicans and Democrats eagerly
assail "big government" as the problem. But what Jesse Jones recognized
is that government is the solution to many of the economic
problems that can overtake even a huge nation like ours. His genius
- somehow gleaned on an 8th grade education and a massively successful
business career - was to use government to make things go, not
to slow things down.
That is the real story of Jesse H. Jones - and Brother,
Can You Spare A Billion? The Story of Jesse H. Jones tells
that story with a very compelling and human face on it. I'm proud
of this film for many reasons, but most of all I enjoy it when
historians of the New Deal say - and they do - "Yes, Jesse Jones
has been overlooked. We need to understand more about how he shaped
He may not yet be a household name, but at least
we are shining a little light into this long forgotten corner
of our history.