Thursday, Sep. 18, 2008

Dwight Eisenhower

Irving Berlin — the man who gave us White Christmas, God Bless America and There's No Business Like Show Business — penned this memorable number for the wartime hero-turned 1952 Presidential candidate. A version of the song — then called They Like Ike — first appeared in one of Berlin's musicals, "Call Me Madam," a full two years before the election. The campaign version debuted at a Madison Square Garden rally for Eisenhower, when one of the Broadway actors sang it in front of 15,000 people. The slogan "I Like Ike" soon popped up on campaign buttons, posters and pamphlets, and in commercial jingles and rallying cries at Eisenhower's campaign stops. Berlin followed up with I Still Like Ike, and Ike For Four More Years. Eisenhower honored the songwriter with a medal for "his services in composing many popular songs" — and for packaging the World War II General in one of the slickest, most memorable political advertising campaigns in U.S. history.

By Claire Suddath