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Pat Paulsen
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Pat Paulsen  (1927-1997)

Pat Paulsen was born in a small fishing village in South Bend, Washington and moved ten years later with his family to Point Bonita, California, near San Francisco.  He claims to have been second in his elementary school, but records show there were only two in the class.  After high school he joined the U.S. Marines during World War II, and returned home later to several odd jobs including a truck driver and Fuller Brush salesman.  After driving and brushing a while, he attended San Francisco City College, where he became keenly aware that many of the students enrolled in drama class were girls.  That is where Pat got his first taste for acting.

After college, Pat and his brother put together a comedy trio and achieved some success in San Francisco, but soon split up.  Pat then became a single act, and performed as a comedic guitarist during the great folk music scare of the sixties.  He took his act to The Troubadour in Los Angeles, The Gaslight in New York, and the Purple Onion in San Francisco.  It was at the Purple Onion where he met the Smothers Brothers.  Dick and Tommy were impressed enough with Paulsen to introduce him on their new Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967.  He was first introduced as a foreign tennis player seated in the audience, and asked to come up to the stage.  I remember I felt so sorry for him because he looked totally mortified standing on the stage.  He was asked to show off his famous serve, and we all learned it was a joke when he did it in slow motion.  Pat Paulsen for President started on the Smothers Brothers Show in 1968 and he continued his campaign through 1996.  Who wouldn’t want to elect a desperate Basset Hound?   

Pat Paulsen performed in about twenty-five plays at the Cherry County Playhouse in Traverse City, MI and later in Muskegon, MI.  As owner of the playhouse, he produced and starred in the plays.  It was after one of his plays in 1990 that I met him and took the portrait.  I asked if he remembered his campaign slogans and promises while I photographed him.  He had us laughing throughout the session, and he liked the portrait enough to use on his last campaign in 1996.
Pat Paulsen p2221 pp

p2221
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