Patrick Layton Paulsen (July 6, 1927 – April 24, 1997) was an
American comedian and satirist notable for his roles on several of the
television shows, and for his campaigns for
President of the
in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1988, 1992, and
1996, which had primarily comedic rather than political objectives,
although his campaigns generated some protest votes for him.
1 Early life and education
2 Career in comedy
3 Political campaigns
5 Personal life and death
9 See also
11 Further reading
12 External links
Early life and education
Paulsen was born in South Bend, Washington, a small fishing town in
Pacific County. He was the son of Beulah Inez (née Fadden) and Norman
Inge Paulsen, a Norwegian immigrant who worked for the Coast
Guard. When he was 10, the family moved to California.
After graduating from
Tamalpais High School
Tamalpais High School in
Mill Valley in May
1945, Paulsen immediately joined the
United States Marines. World War
II was still being waged at that time, but it ended before he was
shipped overseas. However, he did experience overseas duty, including
guarding captured Japanese soldiers during their repatriation. He
returned home after the war and worked as a posting clerk, a truck
driver, a hod carrier, a Fuller Brush salesman, and a gypsum miner.
Later, he was employed as a photostat operator for several years.
San Francisco City College, Paulsen joined an acting
group called "The Ric-y-tic Players," and he formed a comedy trio that
included his brother Lorin.
Career in comedy
1965 publicity photo of Paulsen
Paulsen went on to become a solo act, appearing as a comedic guitarist
in various clubs on the West Coast and in New York City. During one of
his appearances in San Francisco, he met the Smothers Brothers.
Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour premiered in 1967. Paulsen said he
was hired because he sold them inexpensive songs and would run
errands. At first, he was cast as their editorialist, and his deadpan,
double-talk comments on the issues of the day propelled him into the
national consciousness. (His deadpan work was nearly flawless: on one
isolated occasion, in a talk about Hawaii, he defined a "wahine" as
something you put on a bu-hun with lots of mu-hustard. His composure
started to crack, but he recovered.) His work on The Smothers
Brothers' Comedy Hour earned Paulsen an Emmy in 1968.
In addition to his work with the Smothers Brothers, Paulsen made a
memorable guest appearance on The Monkees, appearing in the 1967
episode "Monkees Watch Their Feet," playing the Secretary of National
Defense. He also made many appearances on The Tonight Show Starring
In 1968, Paulsen appeared as timid, tenderfoot Federal Agent Bosley
Cranston in "The Night of the Camera," Season 4/Episode 10 of The Wild
Wild West. Pat's character had a photographic memory and ended up with
the "girl(s)," much to the surprise of agents James West (Robert
Conrad) and Jeremy Pike (Charles Aidman).
During the inaugural season of
Sesame Street (1969–1970), Paulsen
appeared in a series of comical skits: reciting the alphabet, and
fumbling on a few of the letters; counting to 10 and to 20, and
forgetting a few of the numbers; and talking about the word "full"
with a wastebasket full of wastepaper that falls out the bottom of the
basket, forcing him to talk about the word "empty" instead.
He was prominently featured in the 1970
Get Smart episode "The Mess of
Early in 1970, Paulsen headlined his own series, Pat Paulsen's Half a
Comedy Hour, which ran 13 weeks on ABC. Guests on the first show were
former US Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and an animated Daffy Duck,
whom Paulsen interviewed.
In 1971, Paulsen performed in the play Play It Again, Sam at Cherry
County Playhouse in Traverse City, Michigan. He enjoyed this
professional summer-stock theater so much that, in 1976, he became
business partners with television writer and producer Neil Rosen and
bought Cherry County Playhouse. He starred in a production every
summer, with the exception of 1973, all the way through the 1995
season. He ended up starring in 24 different plays, including The
Fantasticks, The Odd Couple, Harvey, and The Sunshine Boys. Also,
during these later years, he appeared in nightclubs, theaters, and
conventions throughout the country.
In 1984, Paulsen costarred in the film Night Patrol, a vehicle for The
Paulsen was approached by the
Smothers Brothers with the idea of
running for president in 1968. His reply, he was later to recount,
was, "Why not? I can't dance—besides, the job has a good pension
plan, and I'll get a lot of money when I retire." The dance crack was
a reference to actor/dancer George Murphy, then a U.S. senator
Paulsen's campaign in 1968, and in succeeding years, was grounded in
comedy, although not without serious commentary. He ran the supposed
campaigns using obvious lies, double talk, and tongue-in-cheek attacks
on the major candidates, and he responded to all criticism with his
catchphrase "Picky, picky, picky." His campaign slogan was, "Just a
common, ordinary, simple savior of America's destiny." Every question
on social issues received basically the same response: "I feel that it
is too directly bound to its own anguish to be anything other than a
cry of negation, carrying within itself the seeds of its own
destruction. However, to get to the meat of the matter, I will come
right to the point, and take note of the fact that the heart of the
issue in the final analysis escapes me."
Paulsen's name appeared on the ballot in
New Hampshire for the
Democratic primary several times. In 1996, he received 921 votes (1%)
to finish second to President
Bill Clinton (76,754 votes); this was
actually ahead of real politicians such as Buffalo mayor James D.
Griffin. In 1992, he came in second to George Bush in the North Dakota
Republican Primary. In the 1992 Republican Party primaries, he
received 10,984 votes total.
In 1971, Paulsen and his wife opened
Pat Paulsen Vineyards, a
successful vineyard and winemaking operation in Sonoma County,
California. Shortly after the actor
Clint Eastwood won election as
mayor of Carmel, California, Paulsen invented the office of "mayor" of
Asti, the small town near his vineyard, and proclaimed himself to have
assumed the office.
Personal life and death
In the 1980s, Paulsen struck up a relationship with a social worker,
Linda Chaney, whom he met at a Denver comedy club. Chaney soon began
serving as Paulsen's booking agent, and in 1988 Paulsen and Chaney
married. However, Paulsen was notified that she was diverting his
funds into her own personal accounts, and he filed for divorce after
only 40 days. He later sued Chaney and was awarded a judgement of
$233,000, about which Chaney said that, even if she had the money, she
would rather "go out and shred it rather than turn it over" to
In 1995, Paulsen was diagnosed with colon cancer, and in early 1997,
it was discovered that the cancer had spread to his brain and lymph
nodes. He sought alternative medicine treatment for his cancer in
Pat Paulsen died there from complications of
pneumonia and kidney failure on April 24, 1997.
Pat Paulsen for President (1968)
Live at the Ice House (1970)
"All the problems we face in the
United States today can be traced to
an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American
"I don't want to say too much about illegal immigration. I'm afraid my
views will be reported on the Cinco O'Clock News."
On the Miranda warning: "Why should we tell kidnappers, murderers, and
embezzlers their rights? If they don't know their rights, they
shouldn't be in the business."
"A good many people feel that our present draft laws are unjust. These
people are called soldiers."
"Sex doesn't have to be taught. It's something most of us are born
When originally "denying" he was running, borrowing from General
William Sherman in 1884: "I will not run if nominated, and if elected
I will not serve."
Presidential campaign slogan: "I've upped my standards. Now, up
Presidential campaign slogan: "If elected, I will win."
Campaign supporters' rallying cry: "We can't stand Pat!"
"We have nothing to fear but fear itself...and of course the
"I am neither left wing nor right wing. I am middle-of-the-bird."
"If either the right wing or the left wing gained control of the
country, it would probably fly around in circles."
Marijuana should be licensed and kept out of the hands of teenagers.
It's too good for them."
When asked if he believed in the right to bear arms: "No, I believe in
the right to arm bears."
On network censorship: "I feel proud to be living in a country where
people are not afraid to laugh at themselves and where political
satire is tolerated by the government, if not the television network."
On network censorship: "
Censorship does not interfere with the
constitutional rights of every American to sit alone in the dark, in
the nude and cuss. But let's face it; there have to be some realistic
taboos ... especially with political comment. After all, the leaders
of our country were not elected to be tittered at. The censors have to
draw the line somewhere. For instance, we are allowed to say Ronald
Reagan is a lousy actor ... but we're not allowed to say he's a lousy
governor ... which is ridiculous ... we know he's a good actor ... And
you can't say ANYTHING bad about President Johns(t)on ... because you
shouldn't insult the President ... but if you compliment him ... who
will believe it?"
On his political affiliation: "I belong to the Straight Talking
American Government Party, or STAG Party for short."
Paulsen, Pat (1972). How to wage a successful campaign for the
Presidency. Nash Pub. ISBN 978-0840212580.
World War II
World War II portal
United States Marine Corps portal
List of notable brain tumor patients
^ a b "
Pat Paulsen Biography". Paulsen.com. Retrieved 4 February
^ Armstrong, Alice Catt (1997). Who's who in California, Volume 26.
Who's Who Historical Society. p. 363.
^ a b c d e Grimes, William (April 26, 1997). "Pat Paulsen, 69, a
Parodist Of Presidential Doubletalk". The New York Times.
^ Williams, Mason (1968).
Pat Paulsen for President. Kragen/Fritz.
p. 131. ASIN B0007ET48I.
^ Sanz, Cynthia; Knapp, Dan (19 November 1990). "Stalked by Tax Woes,
Pat Paulsen Tries to Keep His Whine Sparkling". People Magazine
(34.20). Retrieved 26 March 2015.
^ Kleinberg, Jody (2 April 1997). "
Comedian Undergoes Cancer
Treatment". Sarasota Herald Tribune. 72 (181): 3B. Retrieved 26 March
Pat Paulsen Quotes". Paulsen.com. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
^ Paulsen, Pat (7 January 1968). "Should Television Shows Be
Pat Paulsen for President!: America's Favorite Also-Ran!" article by
Wayne Hicks, Filmfax magazine, May–July 2016, number 144 (cover).
Filmfax, Inc., Evanston, Illinois USA. Four pages (70-73) with 17
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Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a
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