League of Unknown Presidents: A Drama, Part 1

Millard Fillmore

(A typical meeting hall setting. A group of lesser known U.S. Presidents sit around a table, talking among themselves. 9th President William Henry Harrison rises from his seat and bangs a gavel.)

William Henry Harrison: All right gentlemen. I now call tonight’s meeting of the League of Unknown Presidents to order. Let’s begin by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

(All rise, except for one man, put their hands over their hearts, face the American flag that is standing in corner of the room, and recite the Pledge.)

Harrison: (Retaking his seat and looking at the man who remained seated) Excuse me, sir. May I ask why you didn’t stand up for the Pledge?

John Macdonald: Oh, was I supposed to do that as well?

Millard Fillmore: Of course! All presidents should honor their country and flag.

Harrison: If you pardon me for asking, have you been to one of these meetings before?

Macdonald: Erm, no.

Harrison: What is your name, sir?

Macdonald: Uhh…John Macdonald.

Harrison: (Flipping through paperwork) Hmm…I don’t see your name on the lists of Presidents, known or unknown.

Macdonald: Yes, aboot that…

Fillmore: Aboot?

Macdonald: “About!” I said “about!”

Fillmore: (Standing up and pointing at Macdonald) No, you didn’t! I heard you! You said “aboot!” You’re a Canadian!

Harrison: Sir…are you, in fact, Canadian?

Macdonald: (Throwing up his hands) All right, yes! I’m Sir John A. Macdonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada.

Harrison: What are you doing here?

Macdonald: Well, the Canadian Prime Ministers don’t meet like this, eh?

Harrison: Please leave.

Macdonald: (Standing) Right. Sorry. (Leaves)

Harrison: All right, now that’s settled, we’ll take roll. (Looks down at a piece of paper) 9th President William Henry Harrison…I’m here, obviously. 13th President Millard Fillmore…

Fillmore: (Raises a hand) Here.

Harrison: 10th President John Tyler…

John Tyler: Present.

Harrison: 19th President Rutherford B. Hayes…

Rutherford B. Hayes: I’m here.

Harrison: 14th President Franklin Pierce…

Franklin Pierce: I protest!

(Everyone grumbles)

Fillmore: (Sighs) Not again…

Pierce: I shouldn’t be here!

Tyler: You’re an unknown President.

Pierce: Not true…I am known as the handsomest President ever!

Tyler: Who told you that?

Hayes: His mother, probably.

(Everyone but Pierce laughs)

Pierce: I also played a crucial role in the history of this county!

Harrison: (Pulling out another sheet of paper) Well, let’s just check your credentials again, shall we? (Reading to himself and mumbling for a few moments before looking up) Well, Mr. Pierce, I think your track record is best summed up by what Harry S Truman had to say, and I quote: (reading from paper) “He’s got the best picture in the White House…”

Pierce: (Smugly) Ha!

Harrison: (Still reading) “…but being President involves a little bit more than just winning a beauty contest, and he was another one that was a complete fizzle…

Fillmore: Ha!

Harrison: (Still reading) “…Pierce didn’t know what was going on, and even if he had, he wouldn’t of known what to do about it.”

(Everyone except Pierce laughs)

Pierce: (Pouting) Oh, what does Truman know? He’s from (sketching air quotes) “Mizzoura.”

Harrison: (Continuing to look at the paper) Now Theodore Roosevelt has this to say about you…

Pierce: (Throwing up his hands) All right! All right! You made your point…(under his breath)…for the time being.

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