The Presidency: Visitors' Week

The last White House banquet of 1965 was in many ways the most memorable —if only because Lyndon Johnson was plainly in robust health again.

The occasion was a state dinner for West Germany's Chancellor Ludwig Erhard. In his honor the White House invited a spirited, varied list of 140 guests, ranging from Dean Acheson to Gene Autry, George Meany to Thomas Dewey. By candlelight in the evergreen-decked state dining room, they feasted on roast duckling, Bibb lettuce salad, lobster imperial and "Yule log" dessert (chocolate cake coated with mocha butter)—the last culinary...