Thursday, December 28, 2006

Live From New York!!


If you are of a certain age, then this button featured here is probably one of the first things that came to mind when you heard of the passing of former president, Gerald Ford.

WIN stood for, "Whip Inflation Now" and it was Ford's mantra as he took over the reins of this great nation from the claws of fallen dictator, Richard Nixon in August of 1974.

Nixon left the White House in disgrace and Ford was the first vice president to ever succeed a president who had resigned. And frankly, the guy had a real mess on his hands to contend with. There was major inflation, a screwed over economy, gas and oil shortages, and disco music.

As a high school student at the time, Ford seemed to me to be the first politician who was likable, approachable and human -- of course anything was a marked improvement over the former resident of Pennsylvania Avenue.

You might have heard that he was clumsy, he was. He once tumbled down a flight of stairs while deplaning from Air Force One. The press was there to take the picture (SEE IT HERE), and Chevy Chase's career was born!

In the first year of Saturday Night, Chase did rather broad impressions of Ford at the start of every show that always concluded with him falling over something and yelling out, "Live From New York, It's Saturday Night!"

I don't know how uncorrdinated Mr. Ford was in real life, he was after all a football player at the University of Michigan, so I imagine he wasn't fumbling the ball all that often.

His biggest fumble, however, was when he pardoned Nixon just a month or so after he took office. Suddenly, this likable guy who told us , "This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts", turned around and seemed to make a deal with the devil.

As a young gay man at the time, I do remember thinking that his sons, Steve and Jack were pretty hot. Jack went on to a long lived acting career. I also recall that both of the Ford boys were regulars at Studio 54, at least that's what the gossip pages would have us believe back then.

Ford's wife, Betty, had some problems with pills and drink. She was one of the first celebrities to check into a rehab center with much public acclaim. She became so well known for this, that a rehabilitation center was named for her! Betty was also known to hang out Studio 54...here she is with Liza at 54 (see photo on the right).

But heck, this was the 70's after all and we all did things we are now ashamed to admit.

Ford was the target of two assassination attempts.

In September of 75, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme (one of Manson's girls) tried to shoot him. She misfired and was arrested.

Later on, in the same month, Sara Jane Moore, tried to do the same thing. This time, a bystander thwarted the attempt.

Ford was defeated by Jimmy Carter in 1976.

He spent his later years recording rock songs with the likes of Billy Preston and George Harrison.

you know they've got a hell of a band

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