In honor of today being Election Day in the United States, I thought I would share a strange piece of political ephemera from 1964.
This is the LBJ Coloring Book. The coloring book was published in 1964 by Gem Publishing and was written by Norman Miller and Illustrated by Cal Massey. This coloring book is told from the perspective of Her, one of the Johnson’s dogs.
In 1964, Lyndon Baines Johnson was running for President of the United States. He had been President for less than a year by the time this book came out (after the assassination of John Kennedy), and had enough skeletons out of the closet that Norman Miller and the (presumed) Republicans created this coloring book so you could see and color them all.
Page 1: This is a reference to this rather infamous picture of Johnson holding Him up by the ears.
Page 2: A reference to how LBJ treated the dogs in the media after the Him picture caused a stir.
Page 3 – Lady Bird Johnson
Page 4 – LBJ’s daughter Luci Baines Johnson being portrayed as an “ordinary kid.”
Page 5 – Johnson was known for working very long hours and hated to be disturbed.
The key to each page: 3. Lady Bird Johnson 4.
Page 6 – A reference to Johnson going around the White House turning off lights because he claimed he didn’t want to “waste the taxpayers’ money.”
Page 7 – The donkey is the mascot of the Democratic Party.
Page 8 – The elephant is the mascot of the Republican Party.
Page 9 – Johnson had a proclivity for drinking and driving. He also had Secret Service refill his drink out the window when he was tooling around in his white convertible.
Page 10 – Presidential glad-handing and back-slapping.
Page 11 – Johnson was well known for having very long and rather tedious press conferences.
Page 12 – A reference to Lady Bird Johnson’s past owning television station KTBC. The TV station helped make the Johnsons rich and was the subject of a lot of graft discussion.
Page 13 – The airplane referenced here is Air Force 1 1/2, a jet that Johnson liked to use during his presidency.
Page 14 – Johnson had a fondness for wearing cowboys hat and drinking. His preferred drink was Scotch and Soda.
Page 15 – A reference to Secretary of State Dean Rusk who served under both John F. Kennedy and Johnson.
Page 16 – Press Secretary George Reedy.
Page 17 – Johnson, ever the fascinating subject, had numerous books, both for and against, written about him.
Page 18 – A reference to Johnson’s opposition to an Anti-Drunk-Driving Bill. It took over 10 days for him to ultimately sign the bill in to law.
Page 19 – Bobby Bake was the former political adviser of LBJ and Senate Secretary to the Majority Leader. In 1963, Baker was investigated for allegations of bribery using money allocated by Congress and arranging sexual favors in exchange for votes and government contract. He eventually resigned.
Page 20 – A reference to the rather poor living conditions of the workers who lived on LBJ’s Ranch. During the Johnson administration, the ranch was known as the “Texas White House” because the President spent approximately twenty percent of his time there. LBJ died on the ranch in 1973.
Page 21 – LBJ said that he didn’t “get” Shakespeare
The last page bookends the first page.