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Vaughn Meader Drops JFK Parody

Jan. 6, 1964 - Vaughn Meader went back to work this weekend for the first time since President Kennedy’s assassination. The comedian (pictured with Ed Sullivan in 1962), whose satirical impressions of the President lifted him to quick fame during the past year, canceled or postponed all his nightclub and television engagements after the President’s death. For the last month and a half, he and his writer, Ron Friedman, have been developing new material for the act he is doing at the Blue Angels in New York City. Mr. Meader said today he had been attempting to get away from his close association with the Kennedy impressions for several months before events forced him to drop it.

“By last summer, the only Kennedy material I was using was the press conference at the end of my act,” he said. “I could get away from Kennedy when I was playing in clubs. But whenever I went on television, they always wanted the Kennedy thing.” Mr. Meader learned of the President’s assassination when he got off a plane in Milwaukee, where he was to entertain a group of Democrats. He immediately canceled that engagement and then decided to withdraw from other appearances for which he had been booked. He was eliminated from a television program for the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences, which had been taped before the President’s death, and a scheduled appearance on another program, “To Tell the Truth,” was postponed until the week of Feb. 3.

Mr. Meader’s new act is a mélange of gags, skits, song parodies, and one straight singing effort. Mr. Meader now touches on politics only briefly. He offers some one-line comments on the 1964 Presidential candidates, including President Johnson, but he attempts no imitation of the President. Everything that might be associated in any way with his Kennedy impersonation has been dropped.


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