History can be a funny business!!!
As America moves toward the 2020 election, the country will see if there will be a 46th president or if the 45th — Donald J. Trump, in case you have forgotten — will earn a second term.
But a recent discovery by historians has cast doubt on the numbering. Archivists at the National Past Institute (NPI) in Washington, D.C., have discovered that in the 1820s, there was an additional president, previously unknown. “Shocker,” said Melvin Unterberry, the director of the NPI.
Even stranger, it wasn’t one person, but two! The twenty-eighth president, for over a century believed to be Woodrow Wilson, was in fact, the vaudeville team of Anson and Berke: more specifically, Benny Anson and Billy Berke, a comic team that influenced such famous duos as Gallagher and Shean and the Howard Brothers.
“Shocker,” Unterberry said again. “I had always assumed, just like everyone, that I knew all the presidents. So when we discovered the Anson and Berke Administration, my jaw hit the floor.”
HISTORY HIDES THINGS
Unterberry opened a folder filled with campaign brochures. “They had conquered the stage by 1908,” he said. “And then they broke up for a while. Anson got rich in pecans and Berke started teaching history. When they reunited, everyone assumed it was to start touring the vaudeville houses again. Ultimately, it wasn’t.”
The pair began campaigning to gather material for a new show, but they found the process challenging and educational enough that they gradually became more serious. “Shocker,” said Unterberry yet again. “You’d think that the main driver would be Berke. He was the serious one. But it was Anson. ‘Call me nuts,’ he said. It became his catchphrase.”
Elected by a narrow majority, Anson and Berke governed as a team, with Anson’s conservatism balanced by Berke’s liberalism. Their balanced approach created a period of relative peace for America.
But Anson and Berke didn’t forget about fun. “Shocker,” said Unterberry. “They introduced each new piece of legislation with a song.” He then sang it. “They woke in the morning and go off to work / It’s Berke and it’s Anson, Anson and Berke.”
Near the end of their first term, Both Anson and Berke decided they would not seek reelection. “Politics was a cynical business, and ultimately they were dreamers,” Unterberry said.
ANSON AND BERKE
AN UNTIMELY DEMISE
A year after leaving office, they were both killed in an automobile accident. “At the time, it was reported that Anson, who was driving, fell asleep at the wheel, but new evidence suggests that maybe they were murdered by powerful people who thought they had made a mockery of the political process.”
“Shocker,” he said.