Hi everybody, cold enough for you yet?
We all are getting a big kick about Tina Fey's portrayal of Annie Oakley, but unless you are my age, sit back and let me tell you a story that you may never have heard before...
In 1961, a journeyman comedian and impersonator named Vaughn Meader was kidding around with some of his buddies, and gave a half-way decent mimicry of John F. Kennedy. His buddies thought it was good, so they encouraged him to incorporate it into his act. So Meader put on a five-minute "press conference" at the end of his routine, taking questions from the audience and responding in Kennedy's Boston accent. The JFK schtick got him a mention in Life magazine, which helped him land a contract to record "The First Family", an entire album of his Kennedy parodies.
The "First Family" sold more than 10 million copies, making it for a time the most successful record in history. Meader became a superstar overnight!!! When he played Vegas, he made over $22,000.00 a week...Not bad for a guy that was making $7.50 a night just 6 months earlier.
Then on November 22, 1963...A year after "The First Family" made him the biggest name in comedy, Meader climbed into a taxi cab in Milwaukee. The driver asked him if he had heard about JFK's trip to Dallas. "No, how'd it go"? He replied, thinking that the cabbie was setting up a joke. But this was far from funny-in an instant Meader went from being one of the top comedy acts in the world, to being a pariah. JFK was so much loved and revered that no one could stand to watch him perform. Even after he stopped doing the political stuff, it was too painful to watch his act.
Meader sank into depression for years, he started doing drugs, and he lost all that he ever made . He eventually pulled himself out of the doldrums, took back his given name of Abbott, and regained some moderate success as a Blue-Grass singer in his native state of Maine. He was married 4 different times, but eventually met a lovely girl that was with him his last 16 years until he died in 2004..
Fortunately Tina Fey is multi-talented...
I hope that this little tale brought back some memories for some of you. For others, now you know ...The Rest Of The Story!!!