Unforgettable Men, Forgettable Shows

Okay so it’s been like a year since everyone got obsessed with Hamilton. Lin-Manuel is dropping the Hamilton mixtape soon, and it’s time to discuss America’s (Literally) Unsung Heroes. It’s not actually uncommon for famous white guys to get musicals, plays, movies, and HBO dramas written about them. It is uncommon for those works to be, you know, good. Here’s a list of some of the lesser known works of art created in the image of some of America’s oldest, whitest dudes.

John F. Kennedy: JFK is otherwise known as the president every college-aged girl in America would bang “if she had to choose a president.” In 1983, a JFK-themed strip tease was filmed by four fraternity brothers at the University of Pennsylvania. They sent the tape around to several networks, attempting to get a slot on late-night television. The more enterprising of the brothers, Eddie Galwick, sent the tape to a few Hollywood directors. No one picked it up until 1987, when a small production company made it into a film. It never aired anywhere, but the title cards are worth mentioning. They are as follows: “Four men… One president… 24 abs… And 4 tiny American flags…”

George Washington: Deemed by many to be the most boring play ever written, “A Life of Lies: America’s First President” is barely worth mentioning, beyond the fact that it was about George Washington wandering the grounds of Mount Vernon and wondering who he is, beyond his public persona of general, president, and America’s collective father. The final scene involves him chopping down a cherry tree. For what it’s worth.

Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt: “Teddy Tales” is a musical which is still occasionally put on at high schools that can’t afford “West Side Story,” “Oklahoma,” or “Bye Bye Birdie.” Teddy Roosevelt is usually played by a skinny boy wearing shoulder pads. The theme of the play, as far as anyone can tell, is “Teddy Roosevelt was a super badass.” During a key moment, Roosevelt swaggers around onstage and sings a song in the spirit of “Modern Major General” from Pirates of Penzance. The novel adaptation reads like it was written by Ernest Hemingway.

Ben Franklin: In 1994, a small theater company in Brooklyn wrote and performed for a brief three-night engagement a rock opera called Ben Took My Virginity. The complex concept was thus: Ben Franklin was perhaps not much to look at, but once he threw his glasses on the floor and threw a lover onto the bed, the magic was like a lightning strike. The titular character leapt around the stage several times a la Troy Bolton in Bet On It, and the main song was called “Flash Bolt.” A slower song that led into the second act was called “The Key to My Heart,” and the musical ended with everyone on stage (the entire 9-person ensemble) being struck by lightning and collapsing to the ground. Due to lack of budget, there was no curtain on the stage, so the ‘dead’ cast laid there for an uncomfortable few moments, until the audience slowly gathered their things and filed very quietly out of the theater.

James Buchanan: A gay drama was written in 2002 about James Buchanan. It was meant for HBO but didn’t make it past test audiences. Oakland resident Jeffery Alum, who was in that test audience, is quoted as saying, “I do think people are asking for gay characters on TV and stuff but this just really wasn’t called for.”

This article did not, in fact, contain any facts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *