The Atlantic Magazine, which has been around for over 150 years, contacted me shortly after The Silly Bastard started making the rounds. After talking to some of the folks over there, I agreed to put up the Silly Bastard over at their web site. As the 50th anniversary of the Selma marches approached, I talked them about producing another video to commemorate the event and they, thankfully, agreed. You can watch the video and read the great intro written by Chris Heller over at The Atlantic, or, if you're too lazy, you can catch it here.
UPDATE - JANUARY 2018
Weird that this post has been up since 2012. The SEO is pretty good for "yelling LBJ" so sometimes I get random emails about this picture, as I did in December 2017. I had a nice reader who was there email me his experience. So I explored a little more and I managed to locate an audio copy of the speeches from that day. And man is that plane LOUD. We talk about it our podcast This is the President. Have a listen!
Were you there? I'd love to hear your stories - drop me a line!
Been doing a little research on LBJ lately, and the photo of him yelling kept popping up. I was curious about getting a copy of it, so I talked to the folks in the know, the fine staff at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. The real story, as it turns out, it actually better than the rumor.
From the folks at the LBJ Archives:
The photo has frequently -- and incorrectly -- been described as Johnson shouting back at a heckler. What it actually depicts is Johnson yelling at pilots of nearby planes to cut their engines so that Kennedy could speak.
Also, the photo sometimes appears online with Lady Bird Johnson cropped out, putting the focus squarely on LBJ's legendary temper.
There is some debate as to whether the pilots' actions were intentional. The Johnson biography on the U.S. Senate web site describes it this way:
(Johnson) also pressed for a joint appearance of the Democratic candidates somewhere in Texas. They arranged the meeting at the airport in Amarillo, where campaign advance men stopped all air traffic during the brief ceremonies so that the candidates could address the crowd. But they had not counted on the Republican-leaning airline pilots, who deliberately ran the engines of their planes in order to drown out the speakers. At the close of the ruined appearance, a photographer snapped a concerned Kennedy placing his hands on Johnson's shoulder, trying to calm his angry, gesticulating running mate.
Kennedy made light of the noise during his speech, quipping "That is Dick coming in" (Richard Nixon was also campaigning in Texas that day) and "They can't stop the truth anyway. I don't care how much that engine warms up."
The picture was taken by Richard Pipes (who passed away in 2015), a photographer for the Amarillo Globe-News, who described the scene as "a noisy mess."
Not that LBJ couldn't be uncouth at times, but it's always interesting to get the truth behind things.
Sure would like me a poster of this image, though.
This was another video pulled out of my experimental found footage piece. LBJ has always been a favorite of mine, mostly because he just seems so hick but he was a really smart guy. And ambitious. REALLY ambitious.
If you're into history, do yourself a favor and go pick up one of Robert Caro's biographies of LBJ. The latest one just came out (May 2012). I think he started them back in 1980.
This is a conversation between LBJ and Governor of Texas John Connally. In the call, LBJ admits that there have been times when he's driven around with reporters while drinking a beer.
Imagine if that kind of thing came out today.