Memory Lane: Sgt. Pepper’s White House Guards

Image result for nixon white house guard uniforms

All right, some of you don’t remember the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper” album, with the off-the-wall uniforms. And probably even fewer of you remember these White House guard uniforms from 1970.

Can you dig those black hats? They were made of plastic. Cool.

It was Richard Nixon’s fault. He was inspired by assorted palace guard uniforms he’d seen on a recent trip to Europe, and he thought his White House guards looked pretty hum-drum by comparison. So he had ’em wear these instead–and didn’t the whole country (except for a few members of my family) get a big fat belly-laugh over that! The uniforms were an irresistible target for satire, and were soon phased out. In 1980 the last of them were donated to a marching band in Utah. Alice Cooper wanted some for his band, but he was too late.

It was a different America in 1970. We didn’t grovel to government, like Europeans. Oh, sure, today it’s hip, it’s almost mandatory, to execrate President Trump and all us deplorables who voted for him. But where was the satire when his predecessor, ol’ *Batteries Not Included, was in office? If he’d come up with these ridiculous uniforms, you’d better salute ’em if you know what’s good for you.

Anyhow, in 1970 we had the self-respect to laugh at such pretensions by what were then our elected public servants, not our masters.

May God grant we find out way back.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

9 responses to “Memory Lane: Sgt. Pepper’s White House Guards

  • UnKnowable

    I had never heard of these until now, but they are definitely ridiculous. Back then, the US stood for something.


  • Linda Sorci

    Can you imagine how ridiculous those poor guys felt?


    • UnKnowable

      I feel ridiculous just looking at them.

      Too bad Alice Cooper didn’t get those for his band. That would have been poetic justice.


      • Linda Sorci

        Alice Cooper looked ridiculous in his own right – but yes. It would’ve been! 🙂


        • UnKnowable

          The thing to remember about him is that it was pure shtick. He was an actor playing a role which appealed to adolescent males. In real life, he love to play golf and was known to wear three piece suits.

          He returned to Christianity some years ago and openly identifies as such. He’s been faithfully married for decades and is both soft spoken and respectful towards others. He did an interview when Glen Campbell died and it was touching.


          • Linda Sorci

            Praise God! Testimony from someone in the public limelight is always powerful.


          • UnKnowable

            I have become convinced that he is not intending anything evil. He has addressed the canards about biting heads off of animals, etc. it all stems from a chicken someone threw onstage during one of his concerts, way back when. He threw it back into the audience and THEY tore it apart.

            His show isn’t something I’d be likely to enjoy, but I think he’s just a musician selling a product which has become self parody. Kiss is another example. Gene Simmons comes across as an over the top wildman, but in interviews he is soft spoken, reasonable and conservative.


  • Laura

    I really don’t see anything wrong with the uniforms. They aren’t wild. They look pretty nice to me, actually, at least from that picture.


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