Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I Like Ike - Call Me Madam and the Election of 1952

Right after opening night I overheard two Moonies talking about the election of 1952.  Not all that odd considering one of the great comedic songs of Call Me Madam is entitled, "They Like Ike."

But I realized I too had no idea who had actually won that particular election. 

Had Harry S. Truman bested Eisenhower who would come back later to win the Presidency?  I could have sworn it was Adlai Stevenson that lost to Eisenhower.

I would say this is one of those times where my public education failed me.

For those of you, who like me, are a little fuzzy on the details... here they are.
Truman took over the post of the Presidency when FDR passed away.  He then won re-election (just barely) against Thomas Dewey in 1948 leading to this now famous picture ---------------->

He was a good two years into his second term when Irving Berlin wrote "They Like Ike" for Call Me Madam.  Madam's Democratic Senators Brockbank and Gallagher (played by DC Scarpelli and John-Elliot Kirk) could not have known how unpopular Truman would become shortly after the Korean War began to escalate toward the end of 1950.

(DC Scarpelli and John-Elliott Kirk)

So unpopular in fact, that he lost the New Hampshire primary to Senator Estes Kefauver.  A loss that surely would have made Madam's Congresswoman Betsey "I'm the Republican" Wilkins (played by Scarlett Hepworth) very happy indeed.

(Scarlett Hepworth)

Truman bowed out of the election.  Adlai Stevenson received the democratic nomination and lost to Dwight "I Like Ike" D. Eisenhower.  Berlin, a life long conservative, lent his song to Ike.  It would become a fixture in the campaign.

Eisenhower recalled Perle Mesta for political reasons in the spring of 1953.  There is a lovely letter from Mesta to Eisenhower currently on display at the Eureka Theatre.  Make sure to look it over when you come to see Call Me Madam, now playing through Oct. 18th.

Tell us your recollections of the Election of 1952.  Who did you, or your family vote for and why?  Do you think history looked more kindly upon Truman than his contemporaries did?  Leave a comment and let us Moonies what you think about this time in our past.

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