Gerald R. Ford walks with Darrell Johnson, manager of the Boston Red Sox, and George “Sparky” Anderson, manager of the Cincinnati Reds, before the start of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 7/13/76.
-from the Ford Library
The Great Navy of the State of Nebraska
Gerald Ford was appointed an Admiral in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska on July 12, 1962. This honorary title bestowed on prominent individuals by the Governor of Nebraska is the state’s highest honor. The designation of Admiral, rather than another high-ranking military title, is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that the state is landlocked.
The exhibit Taking the Seas: The Rise of the American Aircraft Carrier opens on Monday, July 14, at the Ford Presidential Museum. We’ll be posting materials related to the exhibit and Gerald R. Ford’s service in the U.S. Navy over the next few months.
An Evening of Memories
After dinner the Fords, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, and their guests moved inside to the East Room for the entertainment portion of the evening. British-born comedian Bob Hope, who had been specially requested by Her Majesty, led a program that also included the musical duo Captain and Tennille.
Hope had previously entertained the British Royal Family at four command performances. On this occasion he sang his trademark song “Thanks For the Memory” with special lyrics recognizing the British guests of honor.
Although the “Captain” Daryl Dragon had been feeling under the weather earlier in the day the show still went on for him and Toni Tennille. Their set included their hits "Love Will Keep Us Together" and “Muskrat Love,” which some commentators felt was not an appropriate song choice to play for Her Majesty.
President Ford dances with Queen Elizabeth II while Mrs. Ford partners with Prince Philip following a state dinner honoring Her Majesty on July 7, 1976.
Heads up! We’re almost halfway through the World Cup.
Brazilian superstar Pelé showed President Ford, a former college gridiron standout, what he could do with his kind of football when visiting the White House on June 28, 1975.
Original images White House photographs A5272-18 to 22.
It’s time for the 2014 World Cup!
This year Brazil is hosting the tournament. Football great Edson Arantes Nascimento, better known as Pelé, helped lead the Brazilian national team to three World Cup victories in 1958, 1962, and 1970.
Pelé met with President Ford in the Rose Garden on June 28, 1975, and gave him some pointers on how to juggle a soccer ball.
Reviews of a Revue
The Fords invited actress-singer-dancer Ann-Margret to entertain guests after the dinner honoring the Shahanshah and Empress of Iran. Known for her work in musicals and movies including Bye Bye Birdie and Tommy, she had also traveled to Southeast Asia on a USO tour to entertain troops stationed there.
Ann-Margret’s debut White House performance was based on her night club act. Her musical numbers included “I Won’t Last a Day Without You,” “Swedish Lullaby,” and a “Salute to the Bicentennial.”
Press reaction to the entertainment was mixed to negative. The Fords took it in stride. “We certainly didn’t please all of the people all of the time. We thought it was great, for instance, to ask Ann-Margret,” Betty Ford wrote in her memoirs. “Well, Betty Beale came out with a column in the Washington Star that ripped us up and down for having made that choice.” Other commentators called the Vegas-style revue tasteless and deemed it too low-brow for the White House and its royal guests.
All In the Planning
Selecting dishes to serve at this state dinner was trickier than usual, as President and Mrs. Kaunda both had significant dietary restrictions. The final menu featured filet of sole to start and capon as the main course.
For centerpieces, Mrs. Ford borrowed porcelain made by Cybis Studio, America’s oldest existing porcelain arts studio, from Blair House. The sculptures represented major North American Indian tribes of the United States.
The Fords also continued to invite people representing wide and varied backgrounds. Guests at this dinner included recently appointed Secretary of Transportation William T. Coleman, sportscaster Howard Cosell, choreographer Jerome Robbins, fashion designer Gloria Sachs, and architect Gordon Bunshaft, who designed the Hirshorn Museum.
A Future President Visits the White House, 1949
During his first year as a Congressman Gerald R. Ford was assigned to the House Committee on Public Works. He and the other committee members met with President Truman and toured the White House on April 2, 1949. Afterwards Ford wrote these reflections on the building that would become his residence 25 years later.
Ford’s notes on the White House visit from the Ford Congressional Papers, Committee on Public Works, October 1948-April 1949.
President Truman’s appointment calendar courtesy of the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum.
Time Flies When You’re Having Fun
It’s hard to believe, but we’ve made it through all of the state dinners hosted by President and Mrs. Ford. We hoped you’ve enjoyed going behind the scenes at these White House events.
Although we’re saying goodbye to our state dinner focus, don’t worry! We’ll be back soon with even more great items from our collections.
President and Mrs. Ford wave goodbye to Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti as he departs the White House following a state dinner held in his honor on December 6, 1976.
We loved the State Dinner series and we’ll be reblogging those over the next few months. Looking forward to seeing what else our colleagues at fordlibrarymuseum have planned!
Shirley Temple Black (April 23, 1928 - February 10, 2014)
We are sorry to mark the passing of Shirley Temple Black. She started as a child actress at at 3 and in her later life left Hollywood for a life as a diplomat. She was a representative to the 24th United Nations General Assembly; Ambassador to Ghana under President Ford, the first female Chief of Protocol, and then Ambassador to Czechoslovakia under George H. W. Bush.
Top: Eleanor Roosevelt and Shirley Temple, 07/1938
Bottom left:: Photograph of Shirley Temple Black Shaking Hands with President Gerald Ford in the Cabinet Room after Being Sworn-in as Chief of Protocol, 07/20/1976
Bottom right: Shirley Temple Black, left, the U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia; listens to a reporter’s question following an informal ceremony marking the presentation of 130,000 pounds of donated medical supplies to the Czech government. The supplies are flown to Prague from Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, aboard a U.S. Air Force cargo aircraft, 10/25/1990
(Ed. note: amended list of positions. 2/11/2014)
On the Menu: Suprême of Royal Squab
Chefs in the White House kitchen begin preparing the squab that will be the main course at the state dinner for Prime Minister Harold Wilson of Great Britain.
One of the first steps in planning what to serve at a state dinner involved contacting the State Department to inquire about dietary restrictions and likes or dislikes of the visiting guests. In this case, they were informed Prime Minister Wilson didn’t like oysters.
White House executive chef Henry Haller would prepare sample menus that were sent to the First Lady’s staff. Mrs. Ford approved this menu on January 23, a week before the actual dinner.
Strong Voices, Strong Women
Entertainers Carol Burnett and Helen Reddy serenaded guests with a medley of songs of the Sixties at a state dinner honoring Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel on January 27, 1976.
Then starring in the ninth season of her Emmy-winning variety program “The Carol Burnett Show,” Burnett was also known for her roles in musicals. Reddy, one of country’s leading recording artists, had achieved success on the popular music charts after moving to the United States from Australia in 1966.
They followed the medley with a rendition of Reddy’s hit song “I am Woman” dedicated to Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Rabin.
President Ford hosted a working stag dinner for Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau on December 4, 1974.
The event outline illustrates how streamlined the evening would be. All of the guests were high-ranking U.S. and Canadian government officials. Unlike other state dinners spouses were not invited, and there was no after-dinner entertainment.