This is the President - July 25, 1963 - Part 2


As promised , here's Part Two of The Silly Bastard phone call we promised. This is the call in which JFK actually utters the phrase "Silly Bastard." In the first phone call, he only says "Silly Fella", which doesn't have the same impact. However, I didn't want to call one phone call "The Silly Fella" and the other "The Silly Bastard" because that might quickly get confusing.

If you missed the first Silly Bastard podcast, you can listen to it here or over on iTunes. That'll give you a little bit of the backstory. Don't worry, it's painless.

As with our other podcasts so far, we'll put the podcast up on our YouTube Channel, along with some video and/or stills to keep things interesting.

Like that picture up there to the right. That was taken by Ernie, the Silly Bastard himself, of the suite they'd fixed up for Mrs. Kennedy at Otis Air Force base. The gentleman sitting in the chair with the sunglasses is Larry Newman, who JFK refers to in the phone call.

People in the UK always point out how stupid it looks when Americans wear white socks with dark shoes. I'm saying it looks STYLIN'! Check out Larry up there hanging out in that chair with his shades on and his white socks displayed proudly. The 60s were awesome.


This is the President - July 25, 1963


We're throwing our hat into the memorial celebrations surrounding the 50th anniversary of JFK's death with a podcast celebrating one of our favorite presidential phone calls of all time.

"The Silly Bastard" phone call is actually a two parter.

Jackie, the President's wife, was VERY pregnant in July 1963 and staying up in Hyannis, near Cape Cod, in Massachusetts.

The closest military facility to the Kennedy summer home was Otis Air Force Base, about 15 miles away.

man next to bed
man next to bed

The staff at Otis fixed up an extra room in the base hospital as a maternity suite in case Jackie went into labor.

After a press showing of the room, a story was printed in the Washington Post that over $5,000 ($38,000 in 2013 dollars) was spent on refurbishments for the room. Next to the story in the Post was the picture above of an Air Force captain standing next to the bed.

When he saw the picture in the Post and read the story, Kennedy went ballistic. He made a two phone calls, first to his Assistant Secretary of Defense, Arthur Sylvester, to find out what was going on and then to his Air Force Liaison, Gen. Godfrey McHugh, to bitch him out.

In addition to bitching at Gen. McHugh, Kennedy directs his wrath towards the Air Force captain in the picture.

Forty-nine years later, I managed to track down the Silly Bastard to get his side of the story. Click the button below to listen or download the mp3. You can also subscribe to our brand spanking new "The is the President" podcast on iTunes.

If you are podcast impaired or otherwise allergic to mp3s, here's a video of the podcast, along with some pictures.

This is the President - August 21, 1964


This is my first shot at a podcast series. If you're a reader of this site, you've seen a few of the different documentary shorts I've done with Presidential phone calls. After showing You Can't Always Get What You Want at Full Frame last March, I had a few different people remark to me that they wanted to hear more phone calls.

I didn't want to spend the time going through more calls trying to put enough together to make a movie, but I did think it might be worth putting up as a podcast.

So that's what I've done. Or at least attempted to do. We've got the feed submitted to the iTunes store now.

And don't worry, I'm not just going to stick to LBJ. There's enough Kennedy, Nixon and even Eisenhower phone calls to keep things going for a while.

For now, you can listen to the episode below or download the mp3.

john steinbeck
john steinbeck

This is the President - Episode 1 - August 21, 1964

In our inaugural episode, President Johnson calls up his good friend John Steinbeck (yes, THAT John Steinbeck) to get the author's advice on his upcoming speech at the 1964 Democratic Convention.

Also making a guest appearance is Johnson's right hand man (and the mind behind the G,PG,R and X on movie posters in the US), Jack Valenti.

Here's a video of the podcast if you're afraid of mp3s.