Richard Nixon photo

Informal Remarks at the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic, Lauderhill, Florida.

February 19, 1973

MR. GLEASON. Ladies and gentlemen, of course this is an extraordinary honor which we are very appreciative of, and especially because of the weather. I am going to make this very, very brief because the President is standing here in just a jacket, and it is raining.

We have introduced him to the celebrities that we have here. He was very gracious to speak to each one of them at length, and now I would like him to say a few words to you people.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much. Jackie, I am delighted to be here at the opening of this tournament. I understand you don't start playing until Thursday, except for the celebrities. Do you call that playing?

MR. GLEASON. Only when the girls are here.

THE PRESIDENT. Am I in the right place? I thought this was a golf tournament.

I want to say just a few words, if I could, about my favorite charity, and in mentioning my favorite charity I don't mean there aren't many others that are just as worthwhile. But before I was elected in 1968, I was the chairman of the board of the Boys' Clubs of America. It is a wonderful organization, one million boys in 1,000 clubs all across this country.

As a result of those clubs which this golf tournament will help fund in the years ahead, those one million boys, instead of being on the streets, have a place to play, in a Boys' Club. And so if you all come, remember you are supporting a fine charity and we express our appreciation for that.

Now, I am not through.

MR. GLEASON. My, you are loquacious.

THE PRESIDENT. Second, I want to express appreciation to celebrities. I do not mean simply those who play golf, and they, of course, deserve your applause. We expect the golfers to be here, because there is money at the end, but the celebrities-I see people like Jackie Gleason here, and Fred MacMurray, Mike Douglas, Joe DiMaggio, and the others. These celebrities are people who are here contributing their time. They help to draw the gallery a bit, but they don't. only come here, but wherever there is a good cause, anyplace in America, believe me, you can call on these people and the others who will be participating in this tournament and they will come and contribute their time. I think the celebrities deserve a hand because they won't get one at the end of the tournament.

And now I want to say a word to my Florida friends. I saw just a little bit of the end of the [Andy Williams-San Diego Open] tournament in San Diego yesterday at Torrey Pines. It was a beautiful day, 75 degrees, the sun was shining. But I had been in San Clemente--just a little way from Torrey Pines--a few days before, and it was just about like this, except it was a little colder.

So for those who are, as I am, a very great enthusiast for Florida and also an enthusiast for California, just let me say, when the tournament opens, the sun will be shining, and it will be a very safe tournament. It will be a very safe tournament because I have ordered the Vice President to be in Washington all next week.

Thank you.

MR. GLEASON. In conclusion, may I say that if he brought home the POW's, the sun will shine tomorrow.

Note: The exchange of remarks began at 12:15 p.m. at the Inverrary Golf and Country Club, site of the annual golf tournament for the benefit of the Boys' Clubs of America.

In his concluding remarks, the President was alluding to an incident that occurred in January 1971 at the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am golf tournament in Pebble Beach, Calif., where a ball hit by Vice President Agnew accidentally struck professional golfer Doug Sanders.

Richard Nixon, Informal Remarks at the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic, Lauderhill, Florida. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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