Election week special: The Royal Guardsmen, “Snoopy For President” (1968)

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There hasn’t been much funny nor entertaining about the election season this year.  Rational discourse has gone out the window in favor of the repeated posting of memes. Even the most benign and apolitical of subjects take a turn in that direction in the comments sections on social media.  If only we could go back to a time when all politicians were honorable and life was simpler, right?

Consider the election season of 1968, in which former Vice-President Richard Nixon defeated Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey in a close race. The campaign is remembered for many moments that cast a dark shadow on the history of the electorate: the assassination of Robert Kennedy on the campaign trail, the violence that marred the Democratic convention in Chicago, and so on. Then, as now, the public thought “Are these the only two candidates we get?” (There was a third, George Wallace, whose pro-segregation platform didn’t play well up north.)

Popular culture led to the creation of two other candidacies. Pat Paulsen, best known for his “commentaries” on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, became a perennial write-in.  So did Snoopy, the beagle who is best known for sleeping atop a dog house in Charlie Brown’s backyard. The Royal Guardsmen, who cashed in on the success of the Peanuts comic strip with “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron” and “Return of the Red Baron,” which were both Top 20 hits. Each year the 1967 classic “Snoopy’s Christmas” (which was, until the death of Princess Diana, the top-selling song in New Zealand chart history) is trotted back out.  Snoopy’s candidacy was spelled out in this song from ’68, which stalled at number 85 on the charts.

Some wear the sign of the elephant, while some wear the sign of the mule.  All can hear this bit of pop goodness by clicking here.

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