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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Caught on Tape: Martha Washington

caught on tapeMartha Washington is a historical personage that I have seen re-enacted in person at various events at Colonial Williamsburg, but haven’t seen on television or the big screen. So I thought I would take the opportunity to explore the possibilities here on the blog – however there are not all that many and I had a TERRIBLE time finding clips.

George Washington (1984)

“The early life and career of the American General and President through his participation in the Revolutionary War.”

Wow, I must say, that is a stellar description right there! This was a TV mini-series that revolves around the life of George Washington, so of course Martha was included. We see her not only as the wife of George, but earlier as the wife of Daniel Custis as well as the Custis widow. There were some relatively big names in this mini-series: Barry Bostwick as George Washington, Patty Duke as Martha Washington, Jaclyn Smith as Sally Fairfax, and Hal Holbrook as John Adams. While I haven’t watched the whole series (it is approximately 6 hours in length) I have watched significant portions. They certainly got the height factor between Martha and George down! I thought much of the acting was very boring, even the “exciting” scenes. I think my problem is with Bostwick’s George – while he may have been stolid in real life, you have to keep the viewer engaged! Patty Duke made a convincing, bubbly Martha and Smith embodied my impression of Sally Fairfax, that minx! It was nominated for several Primetime Emmy Awards, including a nomination for Patty Duke for Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Special.

There is a cute proposal scene here, around the 9:32 mark you can queue up below. However, if you should want to watch the entire mini-series, I made a playlist.

The Courtship of George Washington and Martha Custiss (1955)

“The courtship of George Washington and Martha Custis, a widowed mother of two.”

Another made for TV movie that was part of the Hallmark Hall of Fame series – however I cannot, no matter how hard I try, find a video clip (or images, etc!). This movie starred Marshall Thompson as George Washington and Karen Sharpe as Martha. 


That’s it, truly.  Well, according to Wikipedia there was also an erotic film made about the Founding Fathers that apparently also includes Martha Washington – but I’m not going there. Thanks Wikipedia for that piece of info.

Have you seen Martha Washington personified in any films?


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