Rocking the Boat
On the evening of December 15, 1946, more than five hundred men and women dressed in their best evening clothes gathered at Washington's Statler Hotel to resume one of the capital's most well-publicized annual dinners and social events. The Gridiron Club, composed of members of the national press corps, had suspended its annual dinner and show of satiric skits in late 1941, to be resumed after the successful end of the Second World War. Now the first postwar Christmas neared, and with the Allied armies occupying the defeated Axis capitals of Berlin, Tokyo, and Rome, reporters and editors of the U. S. newspapers were in a mood for fun.
So apparently were Harry S. Truman and the other guests of the Gridiron Club. Dressed in a well-fitting tuxedo, the president appeared relaxed both during the dinner and during the skits after the food was cleared, as journalists impersonated members of Truman's cabinet and other important members of his administration. And in a break with tradition that not even the late, self-dramatizing and teasingly witty Franklin D. Roosevelt ever dared, Truman played himself in the after-dinner skits, reading his lines aloud while seated at the dais in the banquet room. However biting