Lyndon Johnson Orders New Pants on the Phone and Requests More Room for His … Johnson (1964)

“Lyn­don John­son was indeed .… a being of Shake­speare­an dimensions—a hulk­ing, bush-coun­try colos­sus, gar­gan­tu­an of ego and ener­gy, of self-delu­sions and glooms and para­noias, crass cru­el­ties and ram­pant vul­gar­i­ties, but gar­gan­tu­an also in his benev­o­lent ambi­tions.” So begins Mar­shall Frady’s review of Robert Caro’s 2002 polit­i­cal biog­ra­phy, Mas­ter Of The Sen­ate: The Years of Lyn­don John­son. The review then pro­ceeds to describe John­son’s uncouth behav­ior, which some­how always seemed to involve his John­son:

He ear­ly became fabled for a Rabelaisian earth­i­ness, uri­nat­ing in the park­ing lot of the House Office Build­ing as the urge took him; if a col­league came into a Capi­tol bath­room as he was fin­ish­ing at the uri­nal there, he would some­times swing around still hold­ing his mem­ber, which he liked to call “Jum­bo,” hoot­ing once, “Have you ever seen any­thing as big as this?,” and shak­ing it in almost a bran­dish­ing man­ner as he began dis­cours­ing about some pend­ing leg­is­la­tion. At the same time, he would oblige aides to take dic­ta­tion stand­ing in the door of his office bath­room while he went about emp­ty­ing his bow­els, as if in some alpha-male rit­u­al asser­tion of his pri­ma­cy. Even on the floors of the House and Sen­ate, he would extrav­a­gant­ly rum­mage away at his groin, some­times reach­ing his hand through a pock­et and lean­ing with half-lift­ed leg for more thor­ough access.

Above, we have a record­ing of anoth­er col­or­ful episode from the John­son era. On August 9, 1964, the pres­i­dent called the Hag­gar cloth­ing com­pa­ny to order some cus­tom-made pants. It was seem­ing­ly an innocu­ous call, a call you could­n’t imag­ine a pres­i­dent mak­ing today. But it sud­den­ly took a bizarre turn when LBJ asked for more room in the crotch, in the area “where the nuts hang.” That, before let­ting out a short, unapolo­getic belch. It’s clas­sic John­son.

Lis­ten to the famous call play out above, and find a tran­script of the exchange here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Dizzy Gille­spie Runs for US Pres­i­dent, 1964. Promis­es to Make Miles Davis Head of the CIA

The Exis­ten­tial­ism Files: How the FBI Tar­get­ed Camus, and Then Sartre After the JFK Assas­si­na­tion

Actress Grace Kel­ly Reflects on the Life & Lega­cy of JFK in an Art­ful­ly Ani­mat­ed Video

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