GRIDIRON CLUB POKES FUN AT THE “NEW DEAL”
WASHINGTON, April 14 — (AP) — The sharp but genial satire of the Gridiron club was turned tonight — at its annual spring dinner — upon the first year of the Roosevelt administration with this theme:
“In the new deal, everything is wild.”
President Roosevelt was among the many officials, diplomats and celebrities who laughed as the gridironers deftly caricatured personage after personage and parodied event after event.
There was one skit in which a “supreme quarterback” was portrayed as directing the maneuvers of a group of penguins. This must have reminded the chief executive that he once compared his efforts to bring recovery to the strategy of a football team’s field marshal.
Pres. Roosevelt spoke. But in its 50 years of existence the Gridiron club — composed of newspapermen — has made it a law that the words of a President at its gatherings are not reported.
Senator David A. Reed, Pennsylvania republican, who was presented as the hoary skipper of the old frigate, Constitution, also spoke.
Among the playlets was a revival sketch with secretary Frances Perkins presented as “Sister Perkins.” In it the man portraying Hugh S. Johnson told how she got “the new deal religion.”
Johnson, after joining lustily in singing “You Must be a Lover of the Codes” to the tune of “You Must be a Lover of the Lord,” called upon all to join Sister Perkins or have “the old devil crack down upon you.”
“Come up to the mourners’ bench you chiselers,” he shouted lustily. “Take your choice, you tories and witch doctors. Get the new deal religion, or get hell.”
The salvation laddies and lassies who accompanied “Sister Perkins” and the evangelist marched off singing about their love for NRA.
A pirate took the center of the stage before Senator Reed’s appearance to roar with buccaneer glee about the wreck of the good ship — “Constitution.”
Shortly afterwards the stage shook to a mighty storm. The scene that followed was Noah’s ark modernized with Noah as Everett Sanders, chairman of the Republican national committee.
He entered with Ogden Mills, one-time secretary of the treasury, who was still hopeful despite the deluge.
“Perhaps,” Mills said, “on this stout craft we’ll be able to keep afloat until this socialistic flood subsides.”
The passengers, carefully selected for “sound, conservative principles,” included Representative Hamilton Fish of New York, William Randolph Hearst, Emma Goldman and J.P. Morgan, and his little “friend, the midget.”
The voyage was a rough one but finally the clouds began to clear and Sanders hummed while Mount Ararat neared: “Franklin ain’t gonna reign no more.”
Andrew W. Mellon and John D. Rockefeller were shown as janitors for NRA; the directors of the United States Steel Corp. as members of the “workers council.”
John D., and Andrew decided that the redistribution of wealth had its advantages after all.
“Why, Andy, I feel like a boy out of school,” purred John D.
“What a relief it is,” agreed Mellon, “No directors’ meetings, no investments, no taxes, no responsibility.”
“Well, Andy, when did you first recognize your talent for janitor service?”
“To tell you the truth, John D., it was very early in the Hoover administration.”
The conversation ended abruptly with the appearance of “William Green, John Lewis, Eddie McGrady and all the rest of our new rulers.”
Along with the steel directors, they were members of the “council,” Myron C. Taylor, chairman of the Steel corporation’s board, was seen with overalls and grimy face. He said somewhat shamefacedly that he had been sifting ashes looking for “profits.”
He was firmly told that “profits are out” an in disgrace was ordered turned over to the workers’ country club.