1969: Nixon bows in ‘Laugh-In’

President makes cameo on laffer

Jan. 7, 1969
GOOD MORNING: President Richard Nixon will be seen in beautiful downtown Burbank on the night of the inaugural in Washington — via the shot of the then-candidate with Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. The Jan. 20 “Laugh-In” is set to include this footage confirmed George Schlatter, who was with us, recuping in the sun at the Racquet Club in Palm Springs. Schlatter and Ed Friendly had just completed “The Swingles” show set up headquarters at the former Allied Artists studio for the new “Turn-On” series, plotted a pilot for Arte Johnson, renewed talks on the new “Soul” show and concocted the usual madness with “Laugh-In.” … 2009 Update: Schlatter credits Paul Keyes with getting pal Nixon to appear on “Laugh-In.” He was the very first presidential candidate to appear on a comedy TV show. NBC’s Standards and Practices objected vehemently to the politico’s appearances but Keyes and Schlatter argued (hmmm) that it was a non-political appearance, did not require “equal” return appearance from the opposition — and further — “was under five seconds.” The classic Nixon line was “Sock it to ME???” It took six takes to get Nixon to give the right delivery. He was paid $230 and they got his signature on the standard release contract. “Laugh-In” hoped to get opposition candidate Hubert Humphrey to appear, saying “What a good IDEA!!!” in response to Nixon’s “Sock It To ME!!!” But they could never get the Demos to OK his appearance …. After his moment with the president-to-be, Schlatter, then major domo at Herman Hover’s Ciro’s often met with David Frost who was doing his regular interview show in Hollywood and hung out at Ciro’s where his girlfriend Diahann Carroll was appearing in the club’s back room. Back then, nobody dreamed Frost would ever do the Nixon interviews. Or that it would become the successful play — and the terrific movie. Or that the country would finally SOCK IT to Richard Nixon.

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