U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson Little-Known Facts Part 2

About the U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, history, trivia, and little-known facts.

36th President



One afternoon while driving his Lincoln Continental through a pasture down on the ranch, LBJ detected a slight hint of malfunction in the car. He immediately grabbed one of his car telephones and put through an angry call to Henry Ford II. "You just aren't building them the way you used to, Henry," the President said.

Once, as Johnson prepared to leave an airport after a speech, an army staff sergeant noticed that the President was heading for the wrong helicopter. He said to LBJ, "Mr. President, that is your helicopter over there." Johnson threw one of his huge arms over the sergeant's shoulders and smiled. "Son, they are all my helicopters."

Ever conscious of the need for exercise, Johnson often conducted press conferences in motion, circling the south lawn of the White House with beagles Him and Her on chain leashes and the press in tow. The "walkathons" not only caused problems for sore-footed reporters but were an ordeal for Press Secretary George Reedy, who suffered from a misshapen foot. Reporters frequently tripped over the beagles' leashes, and on one occasion newsman Pete Lisagor was administered first aid for a head wound he received when he accidentally walked into a lamppost.

After he retired back home to Texas, one of Johnson's regular activities was to keep track of how many people visited the house where he had been born. He was determined that the number of visitors to his boyhood home would exceed that of any other president in history. Each afternoon he stopped by the house to check how many visitors had shown up and what states they represented. He also demanded official weekly reports of attendance figures. When he noted a disparity between attendance figures and actual admission receipts, he put into effect a new policy whereby everyone was required to pay admission at the gate and all children had to be accompanied by an adult. "We've got to make ends meet," he explained. Johnson was equally concerned that his memorial library should have unsurpassed attendance. He kept a careful eye on daily attendance records and ordered that the hours of admission be extended as much as possible. Aware that he would be upset if figures were low, his staff took the liberty of at first occasionally--and then systematically--adding to the head count.

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