The Kingfish encounters (again) Our Bob

“One day in 1932 two newly elected U.S. Senators met socially for the first time in the Washington hotel room of a mutual friend. One was North Carolina’s Robert Rice Reynolds, the other Huey P. Long, the Louisianian Kingfish. After the introduction, Huey looked at Reynolds attentively and said, ‘Don’t I know you from some place?’

” ‘Not to my remembrance, Senator,’ said Reynolds.

” ‘Ever been to Baton Rouge?’ persisted Huey. Reynolds had.

” ‘Why then sure I know you,’ said Huey. ‘You use to run that roller-skating rink down there.’

” ‘That’s right,’ said Reynolds. ‘And now I know you. You used to come in and win all the prizes for fancy skating. That’s when you were down there sellin’ snake oil.’

“The two shook hands again in fond recollection….”

— From ” ‘Our Bob’ Reynolds” in Life magazine (Sept. 8, 1941)

Would Huey Long really have had Josiah Bailey shot?

On this day in 1935: Once again assailing the Roosevelt administration on the floor of the Senate, rogue populist Huey Long of Louisiana points toward New Deal supporter Josiah Bailey of North Carolina. About the existence of poverty, Long asks rhetorically, “You will take my word for it, won’t you?” Bailey stands and, as gasps echo from the galleries, replies that “I am utterly unwilling to take your word for that or anything else!” In the ensuing exchange, Long threatens to campaign against Bailey’s reelection, and Bailey suggests that Long’s interference in N.C. politics would be met with tar and feathers.

Remarkably, the two will remain friends. Long often drops by Bailey’s Mayflower Hotel apartment for drinks, and Bailey invites Long on fishing trips from Morehead City. On one such expedition Long, expounding his plans to become dictator-president, supposedly says his first move would be to have Bailey shot. Bailey is amused, but confides later that he thought Long had been perfectly serious. Long himself is assassinated on Sept. 8, 1935.