Wednesday, March 12, 2014

JFK and the Silly Bastard Next to the Bed

The Silly Bastard Next to the Bed is the name of a short documentary. What's the film about? Its producers say, "The Silly Bastard is a documentary short about one of the funniest phone calls ever made from the Oval Office."

The phone call in question was placed by President John F. Kennedy on July 25, 1963. Jackie Kennedy was pregnant, and the Air Force had just spent $5,000 to refurbish (and fancy up a bit) a room at Otis Air Force Base in case Mrs. Kennedy required it as a maternity room.

That's not what JFK was mad about. He was mad that news of that expense had made its way into the Washington Post, complete with a photo of an Air Force man standing next to the bed intended for Jackie, with a huge grin on his face. That was "the silly bastard next to the bed," and the furious Kennedy referred to that man in the photo as a "silly bastard" multiple times in the phone call.

Luckily (for us, if not for JFK or the poor Air Force general on the other end of the call who receives the president's fury) the phone call was recorded on a White House recording system installed by Kennedy. Let's listen (caution: there is an expletive near the end of the call; if you are in a workplace or other public space you may want to consider that):

Why make a documentary film about this? Well, the identity of the so-called "silly bastard," and what became of him after this phone call, had never been revealed. So the filmmakers set out to find out what happened to him. And they did! But you'll have to wait for the movie to find out, because the filmmakers aren't yet telling.

The Silly Bastard Next to the Bed documentary is already scheduled to screen at several film festivals in 2014. The filmmakers are running an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for distribution and promotion costs.

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