Sunday, February 06, 2011

Was he jolly?

Lately, while I should be doing other things, I find myself listening to old recordings of JFK giving speeches, or better yet, working the phone or talking into a dictaphone on his off hours. I can't explain it. It just makes me feel like there was once a better world. I know that's an illusion. Procrastination works in strange ways.

We all know that the Kennedys had that accent, but there was also a certain conversational cadence that men of the day had that fascinates me. This chat between Bobby and Jack could so easily be my father and his brother talking on the phone it's scary. Not the accents and not necessarily the word choices, but the cadences, and the attitudes, those were in the Northeastern ethers, in the men. And whatever it was, it has since moved on to another planet.

Here's Jack dictating a letter with some help.

Perhaps my favorite, here he is chewing some fall guy a new one for letting the press see a crazy expensive bed that was bought for Jackie to use on Air Force One. Silly bastard! The "Jordan Marsh" mentioned here is the name of a ritzy Boston department store that was bought up by Macy's at some point.

I wonder if JFK would let me run a cat house? Probably not. I don't have that relaxed command that only comes from Captaining PT Boats. Or was it the blue pills?


Blogger Elvis said...

Aren't those tapes just fascinating? I found this blog entry by Googling "was he jolly?", because frankly I couldn't believe that's what Bobby asked Jack and wanted to see if there was a transcript of the conversation. Absolutely delightful, these sorts of candid chats caught on those scratchy old dictabelts.

I've listened to the Was He Jolly recording a dozen or so times because it mentions Ted Sorensen twice, and he was a friend of mine. I just get a thrill hearing the two Kennedy brothers discussing a guy I knew, and loved. Makes me smile.

Glad to see there's another bored JFK fan out there obsessing over these tapes. Cheers.


8:02 PM  
Anonymous muebles said...

The thing you're writing is a big blunder.

5:21 AM  

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