National Affairs: Great Day

The "simple and dignified" inaugural which Dwight Eisenhower had requested turned out, inevitably, to be the biggest, costliest, longest extravaganza in recent Washington history. Jampacked along the curbs of Pennsylvania Avenue, perched in trees or peering through cardboard periscopes, a multitude of 750,000 watched and played their parts in it, while half the population of the U.S. saw it all on television.

By Hollywood standards it was a minor production (the Inaugural Committee reckoned the cost at just under $1,000,000), but it had drama, comedy and pageantry that Hollywood could not touch. Critics...

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