Satirizing Presidential Politics Is Nothing New

Categories: Comedy

It existed way before The Daily Show and even before Saturday Night Live!

In fact, a 1962 comedy album starring comedian/impersonator Vaughn Meader was a cultural phenomenon and ended up winning the Grammy for Album of the Year.

And 50 years later, it's back and bigger than ever.

Bob Booker, who coproduced the album and appears on it, just wrote me all about.

Said Bob:

"On October 12, 1962, as President John F. Kennedy broadcast his famous 'Cuban crisis' speech, the cast of our The First Family Album stood in a recording studio in midtown Manhattan and recorded what was to become the 'largest and fastest selling album in the history of the record industry'.

"Approximately four weeks later, after the Kennedy/Castro matter cooled, we released the album on November 13, 1962 on the Cadence Label.

"My then partner, Earl Doud, and I wrote and produced the album, which sold more than a million copies a week for the next 7 1/2 weeks.

"We won Grammys for Album of the Year and Comedy Album of the Year, gold records by the dozens, and every award imaginable.

"This November 13, this 50th Anniversary Package will go on sale."

And it includes Volumes one and two, plus a third volume which features Kennedy's comments, Vaughn's first ever TV appearance, and other background material.

Got it?

So, get it.

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It's the malayan ambassador for dinner.


That's why they called Bruce a "sick comic."


Can't you hear him saying to audiences of the era, "Too soon?"


Lenny Bruce on November 22, 1963: "There goes Vaughn Meader's career."


I wonder if this is where Sondheim got the idea for the "Bobby, Jackie and Jack" number from Merrily We Roll Along?

SouthernDave 1 Like

1962 was VERY different from 2012; JFK's "non-stop philandering" was known to relatively few., who kept their mouths shut. Besides, no entertainment or news outlet would have dared mention a word of such "rumors."


Three decades before "The First Family," the George & Ira Gershwin/George S. Kaufman musical comedy  "Of Thee I Sing" spoofed Presidential election politics and was the first musical to win a Pulitzer Prize. Among its songs: "Love is Sweeping the Country" (the President ran on a platform of "Love") and "Who Cares?" It even spawned a less-successful stage sequel, "Let 'Em Eat Cake."


In 1937, The Rodgers & Hart musical comedy  "I'd Rather Be Right," featured George M. Cohan as a singing-dancing (!) FDR.


I'm curious as to whether the satirized JFK's nonstop philandering. That wold be interesting.

mae.swazey 1 Like

 @suburbanoinker No they don't. I have the album, bought by my (God love 'em) witty and staunch Democrat parents back in 1962.  For years I thought it was a religious album, from the way the cover looks.  It has some great satire, and the sections spoofing Jackie's televised tour of the White House and JFK's press conferences are especially funny.  Don't know if I'll get the 50th anniversary pack (I have the two albums on CD) but the albums alone are worth a listen.  The actors are just fne.  Wonder what happened to Naomi Brossart, who played Jackie?