Just in time for the New Year, we’ve got some new Presidential talents for you, starting with the man who offered America a “New Deal.”
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or FDR, was the longest-serving US President with three full terms—he died during his fourth. Besides his obvious political talents, he acquired many other skills and hobbies during his life. As a teen, two of his preferred activities were golf and sailing—his longshot became quite formidable, and his sailboat was named the “New Moon” (no relation to the Twilight series). Later, he took up model shipbuilding (many are still on display at the South Street Seaport Museum in NY) and stamp collecting (he had over 1 million of them when he died). Of course, there were some things FDR wasn’t talented at: he never did sell his screenplay. His most impressive feat, however, was convincing the whole country that he was “getting better” from his permanent lower body paralysis. When he appeared in public, he always stood (usually leaning on someone), and even taught himself to “walk” several feet with a brace—enough to maintain the illusion.
Our 13th President was Millard Fillmore, the successor to Zachary Taylor. He presents a bit of a puzzle in a talent contest, as even PBS describes him as “an uninspiring individual with no particular talents.” Still, he had the “teacher’s pet” advantage (in fact, he married his teacher, Abigail Powers). If only he had lived today, he could have made a talent show killing by doing an impersonation of Alec Baldwin.
Nixon is next on our roster—he took quite a dive from his spot in the popular club, but this could be his chance to redeem himself. His school years were marked by an impressive number of extracurricular activities, from football to debate club. And while he won a number of debate championships, his football team rarely let him play in games. Many are surprised to learn that Richard Nixon was a talented pianist and composed his own music, but few could forget his comedic appearance on Laugh-In or (posthumously) Futurama?
Finally, we have William McKinley, whose fierce looks and soul-piercing gaze made him better suited for a staring contest. His visage adorned the $500 bill, which has been out of print since 1934. McKinley received much acclaim for his oratory skills—his “front porch campaign” brought Americans to his house in droves, 6 days a week, to listen to him speak. They were so enamored of him that many secretly carved off pieces of his porch as souvenirs. McKinley is also admired for being a good husband—he tended to his epileptic wife for more than 25 years—and a compassionate man. Even after being shot, he yelled out for the crowd not to hurt his assassin.
Read up on the past contestants of our Presidential Talent Tournament here!