UP CALVIN COOLIDGE
was asked to bring a celebrity group to visit the White House and
demonstrate Coolidge's "warm, sympathetic personality."
He decided that "stage people symbolize warmth, extroversion,
and Bohemian camaraderie," and set up a star-studded breakfast
at the White House. He arranged for a group of actors to take the
midnight train from New York to Washington after they finished their
shows. The cast included Al Jolson, Ed Wynn, The Dolly Sisters,
Charlotte Greenwood, Raymond Hitchcock, and other big stars of the
Coolidge greeted the guests. "I have met you all across the
footlights," she said, "but it's not the same as greeting
you here." The President was not quite as welcoming. "He
was practically inarticulate, and no movement of any kind agitated
his deadpan face," Bernays said later.
the group lined up for breakfast photos, the President remained
as grim as ever. After breakfast, the group moved to the White House
lawn where Al Jolson sang "Keep Coolidge," which he had
composed for the occasion. Everybody sang -- except for the President.
Coolidge's demeanor, celebrity star power seems to have worked.
Newspaper headlines reported, "Actor Eats Cake with the Coolidges...President
Nearly Laughs...Guests Crack Dignified Jokes, Sing Song and Pledge
To Support Coolidge."
no one looked at Coolidge again in the same way.