Thursday, October 8, 2015

Gracie for President

In the 1930s and 1940s, George Burns and the staff of Burns and Allen (as their radio program was familiarly known) did a great job keeping the show in the public eye with a series of clever publicity stunts, among them a national search for Gracie's supposedly missing brother. One of their biggest brainstorms was Gracie's entry as a candidate in the presidential election of 1940, representing the Surprise Party. Not only did the popular radio star go on the campaign trail, delivering beguiling and bewildering speeches like no one else could, she even had what every candidate needs - a book outlining her political platform. How to Become President was published by the Gracie Allen Self-Delusion Institute.

Even though most listeners caught on that this was all in fun, Gracie did in fact receive thousands of write-in votes that year. Seventy-five years ago, she must have seemed like the nuttiest candidate in political history. Fast forward to 2015, and ... do I even need to say it? Sometimes we just don't know when we're well off.

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