Throughout 1940 the running gag on the Burns & Allen radio program was Gracie’s campaign for president, running on the ticket of the Surprise Party. Her campaign was complete with posters, platform, song, and a whistle-stop tour. Where the Democratic Party has the mule and the Republican Party has the elephant, the Surprise Party had a kangaroo for its mascot. The motto was “It’s in the bag!”
In the actual election Gracie received 42,000 votes. That’s more than any female presidential candidate other than Cynthia McKinney (Green, 2008—161,603), Lenora Fulani (New Alliance, 1992—73,714), Sonia Johnson (Citizens, 1984—72,200), Margaret Wright (People’s, 1976—49,024), and Linda Jenness (Socialist Workers, 1972—83,380).
Here’s the first program in the series:
Some of the references will be lost on modern audiences but I think that most of the humor is still pretty on-target which is reassuring or disturbing, depending on your point of view.
Over the weeks leading up to the election I plan to post all of the programs in the series. Next up: Gracie’s campaign song.