High Noon at the Democratic Convention 1960 PartII

Vintage cover Life magazine 1960 Democratic Convention

The 1960 Democratic Convention was a high-steppin, wild west of a  good time, and my family and myself had front row seats in front of our Philco. It was as rip roarin, rip snortin a time as any western on TV.

The Convention  was a crawlin’ with glitter, a continuous blaze of color with Kennedy cuties bedecked in red white and blue sundresses, sporting JFK buttons, banners and bows, snake dancing through the delegates.

This fandango of frenzy, flashbulb- popping fiddle- faddle, glad-handing- gadabouts trading guffaws and favors, with party brass a huddlin’, and scalawags a scamperin’ was brought to you in  basic black and white, with the color enhancement courtesy of Walter Cronkite, his well honed ear to the ground.

With scouts sent boldly  onto the convention floor to ambush any delegates willing to spill the beans, a vigilant Cronkite listened to every sound, for the dense, smoke- filled hall full of scuttlebutt, was a bedlam of balderdash, brass bands and brass balls.

“Kennedy went through a heap of trouble to get that nomination”, Cronkite commented. “His high falutin Harvard friends did a bang up job. And his daddy who was powerful rich didn’t hurt none. And now by gum, he was the biggest toad in the pond.”

Photo 1960 Democratic Convention

Photo Life magazine- 1960 Democratic Convention

Dad was dumbfounded -he thought anyone was plumb crazy to support a tenderfoot like Jack Kennedy.

“Criminy! He aint worth a hill of beans!” Dad snorted. “He’ll have a hard row to hoe if he runs against Nixon.”

When the new sheriff chose his deputy, a tall Texan who sounded just like Deputy Dawg, Dad was incredulous.

“What in Sam Hill are they doing”, Dad cried out. They got the wrong pig by the tail choosing Lyndon “I-don’t-play-second-fiddle-to-anyone” Johnson !”

photos JFK Campaign president 1960

Photos by Jacques Lowe (L) Kennedy addressing Connecticut voters (R) Jan. 2, 1960 Senator Kennedy declares his candidacy for Democratic nomination for President

New Frontier

Just before it was time for me to skedaddle off to bed, the victor climbed to the top of the podium and looked out at the wilderness spread out below him.

Just like Dad said, he was grinning like a weasel in a hen-house.

John Kennedy was one of the best woodsman in the frontier.

He was a hard livin’, hard lovin’, hard fightin’ believer in freedom, who like Lariat Sam couldn’t see anything but good in anybody.

After weeks of hard travel through every one horse town, he had reached the last Mountain in Los Angeles, by the skin of his teeth.

He knew he would face many dangers.

But he had a mind to face them. Political life was not for the lily livered, or yellow-bellied, but John Kennedy was tall hog at the trough

Under skies that were not cloudy all day, a young, hell-fired up John Kennedy was fixin’ to accept his party’s nomination that blazing summer in 1960, inviting us all to “Saddle up Pardner,” hitch our wagon to his train and be pioneers in a New Frontier.

vintage illustration boy and girl cowboys 1950s

With my Matt Dillon gen-u-ine leather holster embellished with bright metal jewels hugging my hips for fast draws, my matching pair of shootin’ irons with the big hammer-head for quick fanning action – A-RAT-TA-TA TAT and A RING A DING DING- I was ready to be a pioneer in that New Frontier that Kennedy beckoned us to.

Copyright (©) 2012 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved



  1. Stewart M.

    The DNC from 1960 was just on Cable the other night. Perfect timing. How would you know about “fanning” a gun. My brothers and I still make reference to a gun called “the Fan of Fifty” to this very day. Where is the K-Pick. You left me hanging. Have a great end of summer day.


    • Glad you enjoyed the post. I had quite a selection of Mattel guns as a kid so you bet I know about fanning, Sorry to have missed the DNC tape from the 60 convention, but you can probably get it on you tube, The K picture is still coming- I have been busy preparing for an upcoming art show out in Monterey the end of this week. Hold on, its still coming


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