Prankster For President: Yetta Bronstein — Why Not? Yetta Bronstein ran on a platform of national bingo and mink coats for all. So why don't you know her? Well, because she was fake. But the married pranksters behind Bronstein won't let you forget her.
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The True Story Of A Fake Presidential Candidate

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The True Story Of A Fake Presidential Candidate

The True Story Of A Fake Presidential Candidate

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Time now for StoryCorps. On this April Fools' Day - the true story behind a fake presidential candidate. In the 1960s, professional pranksters, and husband and wife, Alan and Jeanne Abel, created a fictional candidate, Mrs. Yetta Bronstein.

JEANNE ABEL: Yetta Bronstein lives in the Bronx. She has a boy named Marvin. He plays the drums, badly, and one day she decides to run for president.

MONTAGNE: Yetta ran as an independent. Her party was called the Best Party, and her platform included national bingo. Jeanne Abel would pretend to be Yetta for interviews with reporters, while her husband, Alan, acted as her campaign manager.

J. ABEL: I ran in 1964 and 1968.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Who are we talking with? Yetta Bronstein, running for the presidency again.

J. ABEL: I only appeared on radio because I was in my 20s and I was blonde and not a Jewish mother.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Hello, WNBC.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Is Yetta Bronstein there?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Yes, she's listening.

J. ABEL: (As Yetta Bronstein) I'm here.

There was, of course, this question - where is she? So Alan gave everybody a picture of his mother.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I'm glad there's somebody in our country who's concerned about running our government properly, and I think Yetta Bronstein is the one to do it.

J. ABEL: (As Yetta Bronstein) But I must say to you, even if you didn't like me, vote for me anyhow because you might change your mind later on.

ALAN ABEL: We had followers go down to Atlantic City where they had the Democratic Convention. And we were marching up and down with about 20 people with our sign - vote for Yetta, things will get better

J. ABEL: Clean sweep with Yetta. I was on a broomstick with a broom

A. ABEL: Yeah, a broomstick - and then why not? That's all. Why not? Nothing more on the placard.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING).

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) Vote Bronstein in - get Bronstein into the White House.

A. ABEL: You wanted to take Congress off salary and put them on straight commission, allow guns in homes but decrease the velocity of bullets by 95 percent.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: A mink coat in every closet?

J. ABEL: (As Yetta Bronstein) Oh, yes, that's my latest slogan.

A. ABEL: And of course you lost by a landslide.

J. ABEL: They said I didn't win a single precinct.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) When Yetta gets to be first lady and also president.

(APPLAUSE)

J. ABEL: (As Yetta Bronstein) If you want simple solutions, then you got to be simple.

You know, not once in all the interviews I did...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: Have you thought about a Cabinet?

J. ABEL: (As Yetta Bronstein) I'll have one.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: No, I mean, who would serve in the Cabinet?

J. ABEL: Not once did the host say, well, you are kidding, aren't you, which was interesting in itself.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

J. ABEL: (As Yetta Bronstein) I never know where the college came from and the electoral college. It isn't very educational.

I don't think Yetta has a place in this particular election season. I mean, people have asked me, don't you want to get in the race, and I said, no. The comedy is already happening.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: Mrs. Yetta Bronstein - independent candidate for president of the United States.

J. ABEL: (As Yetta Bronstein, singing) In the capital of Washington. There'll be a change. There'll be a change in government when Yetta gets to be first lady and also the president.

MONTAGNE: Jeanne and Alan Abel, remembering the fake presidential campaign they orchestrated back in the '60s for Yetta Bronstein. Their conversation is archived at the Library of Congress and is featured on the StoryCorps podcast.

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