Are you ready for an extra dose of the Weekly GV? Ready or not, here it comes. Gore Vidal viewed Tricky Dick with an appalled fascination. It resulted in Vidal’s 1972 play, An Evening With Richard Nixon.
The play is a wry examination of the career and Presidency (up to that pre-Watergate point) of Richard M. Nixon (Irving). As it starts, two pundits, a William F. Buckley-like Pro (Rupert) and a Gore Vidal-like Con (Estredo) are debating the worthiness of Nixon. Unable to settle their differences objectively, they magically convene a tribunal of deceased, past Presidents — Eisenhower (Sterling), Kennedy (King) and Washington (Newman) — to review the Nixon career and pass judgment. The rules are strict: anything we observe in the central playing area, which is dedicated to historical recreation, is taken from actual public record; every word spoken by anyone is what that person actually said. This applies especially to Nixon, whose words, we are assured, remain in their original context. Only Pro, Con and the Tribunal speak freely in the immediate present. And of course, they have much to say.
I’ve only read the text, I’ve never heard the LP and it’s not online. But the album art by animator Paul (Sky Bear) Gruwell not only rocks, it rules.