Celebrities for President

(Above: Pogo with words of wisdom. Source: Flickr)

Donald Trump last night officially joined rapper Kanye West in the Presidential race.

West is not the first celebrity to run for president with no prior campaign experience. Neither, for that matter, was Trump in 2016.

Perhaps the most famous example was deadpan comedian Pat Paulsen. The satirist threw his hat — or was it a rubber chicken? — into the ring in 1968. In late October, a CBS faux news documentary examined his campaign, starting with early denials of his candidacy on CBS’ The Smothers Brother Comedy Hour.

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: An episode of the couple’s radio show, audio-only (of course), with some jokes about the potential Postmaster General as well.

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

1960: Alvin

Who was he? The mischievous leader of cartoon chipmunk trio

Slogan: “We don’t care if we live in a tent, just as long as Alvin’s President!”

Video: The Alvin Show, TV clip

1976: Linda Lovelace

Who was she? Actress, best known for porno classic Deep Throat

Slogan: “Vote for Linda Lovelace and get a piece of America.”

Video: The feature film Linda Lovelace for President is available to Amazon Prime subscribers or for $3.99 rental from a few providers. Here’s a scene:

1980: Pogo

Who was he? A rather reluctant candidate, and a naïve comic strip possum

Slogan: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Video: In an apt metaphor for a very reluctant candidate, to see the complete I Go Pogo feature film, you’d have to spend nearly $70 for a used VHS copy on Amazon! Instead, here are the opening minutes:

2004: Daffy Duck

Who was he? His name says it all

Slogan: “I’m going to pass a law that will outlaw wabbits!”

Video: Daffy Duck for President, theatrical short

(Note: The above is a revision of a previously published article)

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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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