Celebs for President

Donald J. Trump isn’t the first celebrity to parlay TV or film fame into a Presidential candidacy without having held any previous political office.

Perhaps the most famous past example was Pat Paulsen. Exactly 48 years ago today, a CBS faux news documentary detailed the deadpan comedian’s 1968 Presidential run — from early denials of his candidacy on The Smothers Brother Comedy Hour through the fall campaign.

The special, titled Pat Paulsen for President, featured cameos by Carl Reiner, Steve Allen, Groucho Marx and Carol Channing. The narrator was Henry Fonda, who had played a Presidential candidate in The Best Man, and the President himself in Fail Safe, both released theatrically in 1964.

Here’s the complete Pat Paulsen for President:

Other celebrities who have run for President include, in chronological order:

1932: Betty Boop

Who was she? Cartoon siren

Slogan: “What this country is in need of is a lot of hi-de-ho!”

Video: Betty Boop for President, theatrical short

1940: Gracie Allen

Who was she? Zany half of Burns & Allen comedy team

Slogan: “Down with common sense!”

Video: “Vote for Gracie” song

1948: Howdy Doody

Who was he? Freckle-faced star of early children’s TV

Slogan: “I’m for Howdy Doody! And how!”

Video: Puppet Playhouse presents Howdy Doody for President, TV show

Our history of non-politician celebrity Presidential candidates will continue tomorrow with Alvin the chipmunk, Pogo the possum, Daffy (the) Duck, and, err…Linda Lovelace? Don’t miss it!

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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