Vote For Gracie

“Well, Gracie. Soon, it’ll be Thanksgiving.”
“Thanksgiving?”
“Yes, Thanksgiving? Gracie, for as long is you can remember, what happens every November?”
“Roosevelt is elected.”

It was 1940. FDR was coasting to a unprecedented third term. The country was suffering through an economic depression. And the world was at war and America was soon to be. One lady stepped forward to solve America’s problems or possibly make them worse.

But first she would have to convince George.

“Gracie, nobody would be happier about your success than I would, but in the entire history of the United States there has never been a woman President.”
“But, George, I’ve already bought a new gown for my Inauguration.”
“A President must have courage, determination, he must let people see what he’s made of – show some backbone.”
“Wait till you see my new evening gown.”
“No, you don’t understand, a President must be a leader of men.”
“Wait till you see my new evening gown.

So, Gracie threw her hat into the ring with her head still attached, as an independent with the Surprise Party (because her mother was a democrat, her father was a republican, and she was a surprise).

“Gracie, This whole thing is absurd! Who’s the boss around here?”
“You are.
“Who’s the star of this show? “
“You are.
“Now, who’s going to give up all this nonsense?”
“You are.”

Gracie thought her platform would be of “such insignificance that future historians may well call it the Magna Carta of the Misdeal.”

[Reporter] “Miss Allen, my readers want to know what your platform is.”
“Well, it’s knotty pine trimmed with oak and inlaid with California redwood.”

Okay, no one was really concerned about her view on foreign policy, the national debt, or even our unique privilege of electing leaders.

“Gracie, some people can’t vote. They’re only visiting this country. They’re tourists.”
“Tourists? What’s that?”
“They’re people that travel. For instance, if you got on an LA freeway and drove for hours and hours, where would you be?”
“Still in Los Angeles.”
“No, you don’t understand. To vote, you have to be a citizen. What were you when you were born?”
“A nudist.”

“Hi, Bill Goodwin here to tell you about Maxwell House… America’s number one coffee. Right, Gracie?”
“And George is America’s number one singer.”
“Maxwell House is loved by millions.
“George is loved by millions.”
“Maxwell House has been great since 1885.”
“George has been ….
[George cuts Gracie off] “How can you be silly so many hours in a day?”
“I get up early.”

Someday, some lady may rearrange the furniture of the Oval Office. Maybe one with the fine lines of Farrah, or the tonal sweetness of Karen Carpenter. A presidential beauty would drive men to the polls, if not slightly mad. But only if men can distinguish her from a dude in a dress. Or a pantsuit. An orange pantsuit.

“Someone on the phone wants to talk to you.”
“Hello? Gracie Allen for President. Gracie Allen speaking. You say you’re going to vote for me? How nice! What? You say you’re a friend of the family? You knew me from a long time ago? …when you were in the hospital? Your name sounds familiar. I think my sister has heard of you. Oh, hello mother!”

Vote for Gracie! Vote for Gracie!
If the country’s going Gracie, so can you!

“Well, Gracie, soon it will be election day, and the nation will go to the polls and vote for man they want for the next four years. I’ll vote for you. Then you’ll have two votes.”
“Just one, George.”
“Who are you gonna vote for?”
“Clark Gable.”
“Oh, I give up. Say good night, Gracie.”
“Good night.”

Burns and Allen Radio program, 1940
Excerpted, collected and condensed – Reader’s Digest style


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