Wow. This one’s an all-time classic.
We’ve heard many amusing Lyndon Baines Johnson phone calls on Washington’s C-SPAN radio station (FM 90.1), but somehow we missed this one.
In the early afternoon of Aug. 9, 1964, LBJ took time out from what presumably was a busy schedule to call an executive with the Texas-based Haggar apparel company to order new pants.
One could not imagine a President making such a phone call today. At the time, Johnson had been president for less than nine months following the assassination of John F. Kennedy Nov. 23, 1963. The Vietnam War was just starting to heat up and LBJ was in the midst of an election campaign against Barry Goldwater.
To get the full flavor, listen to the audio of the phone conversation, courtesy of American Radio Works. Here’s part of the transcript:
Operator: Go Ahead Sir.-ad 199-
LBJ: Mr. Haggar?
Joe Haggar: Yes this is Joe Haggar.
LBJ: Joe, is your father the one that makes clothes?
JH: Yes, we’re all together.-ad 607-
LBJ: Uh huh. You all made me some real lightweight slacks…that he just made up and sent up on his own and sent it to me 3 or 4 months ago. There’s a light brown and a light green, a rather soft green, a soft brown.
JH: Yes Sir.
LBJ: And they’re real lightweight now and I need about six pairs of summer wear.
JH: Yes sir.-ad 611-
LBJ: I want a couple, maybe three of the light brown, kind of almost powder color like a powder on a ladies face. Then there were some green and some light pair. If you had a blue in that or a black then I’d have one blue and one black. I need about six pairs to wear around in the evening when I come in from work.
JH: Yes Sir.
LBJ: I need…they’re about a half a inch too tight in the waist.
JH: Do you recall the exact size, I just want to make sure we get them right for you.-ad 625-
LBJ: No, I don’t know…you all just guessed at ’em I think, some, wouldn’t you (have) the measurement there?
JH: We can find it for you.
LBJ: Well I can send you a pair. I want them a half inch larger in the waist than they were before except I want two or three inches of stuff left back in there so I can take them up. I vary ten or 15 pounds a month.
JH: Alright sir.-ad 618-
LBJ: So leave me at least 2 1/2, three inches in the back where I can take them out or bring them up. And make these a half an inch bigger in the waist. And make the pockets at least an inch longer, my money, my knife, everything falls out…wait just a minute.
Operator: Would you hold on a minute please.
(The conversation is on hold for two minutes)
LBJ: Now the pockets, when you sit down, everything falls out, your money, your knife, everything. so I need at least another inch in the pockets. And another thing…the crotch, down where your nuts hang, is always a little too tight, so when you make them up, please give me another inch I can let out there, uh, because they cut me. It’s just like riding a wire fence. These are almost, these are the best I’ve had anywhere in the United States.
JH: Fine.-ad 619-
LBJ: But when I gain a little weight, they cut me under there. So, leave me, you never do have much margin there. See if you can’t leave me an inch from where the zipper (BURPS) ends, round, under my back to bunghole, so I can let it out there if I need it.
LBJ: Now be sure you have the best zippers in them. These are good that I have. If you get those to me I sure would be grateful.
JH: Fine. Now where would you like them sent please.
LBJ: White House.
There’s another couple of minutes of back and forth about ordering shirts and jackets to match the new pants before LBJ winds it up.
JH: We’ll supply the material to match it.
LBJ: “OK, I’ll do that. Uh now, how do I–can you give this boy the address because I’m running to a funeral and give this boy the address to where we can send the trousers…don’t worry, you’ll get the measurements out of them and add a half an inch to the back and give us couple of an inch to the pockets and a inch underneath too we can let out.
JH: What you’d like is a little more stride in the crotch.
LBJ: Yeah that’s right. What I’d is to give me a half inch more, then leave me some more. OK here he is.
JH: Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed the others.
This classic apparently has been kicking around on You Tube since 2008. But we’d like to credit former shock jock (turned sports talker) Don Geronimo for calling it to our attention on WJFK-FM (106.7). He played it for his listeners on President’s Day.