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Vaughn Meader’s “First Family” Record a Smash Hit

Nov. 18, 1962 - New Yorkers stood before a Broadway record shop on Saturday night, listening to what seemed to be the voice of President Kennedy. He was telling a “Mr. de Goal” that the chicken-salad sandwich and coffee he had just eaten at a White House luncheon would cost him $1.40. What they were actually hearing was a 12-inch long-playing record entitled “The First Family.” It catches the Kennedys in 17 “scenes” of domestic and diplomatic disarray and seems likely to become a best-selling comedy album. New York dealers say they cannot keep it in stock. The star of the album is Vaughn Meader (pictured), a 26-year-old former cocktail-lounge pianist from Brookline, Mass., who impersonates the President. The recording was made Oct. 22. “It was the worst night possible,” said Earle Doud, one of the producers. “President Kennedy had just made his speech saying the Russians had missiles in Cuba. The 150-or-so people we had invited to laugh it up in the studio knew it, too. We went ahead, but figured that if the situation remained tense, we’d have to withhold the record.” However, by the time “The First Family” was ready for release, the missiles were on their way back to Moscow.


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