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The ‘President’s Announcer,’ Back for His 16th Parade
Posted By Tamara Lytle On January 16, 2013 @ 1:44 pm In Bulletin Today,Washington Watch | Comments Disabled
You can forgive Charlie Brotman for not remembering much about the first inaugural parade he worked as an announcer. It was 64 years ago.
Brotman was studying at the National Academy of Broadcasting in Washington, D.C., when President Truman’s aides came looking for free labor to help with the 1949 parade.
Brotman, now 85, has been the official announcer for every inaugural parade but one since then. He didn’t man the microphone for President Dwight Eisenhower’s first parade in 1953, but ironically, it was Eisenhower who probably made him the go-to voice from then on.
Here’s how it happened. In 1956, Brotman, who as a child lived with his parents and sister behind the family’s corner grocery store in the nation’s capital, landed a dream job as the stadium announcer for Washington’s baseball team, the Senators. When President Eisenhower came to throw the first pitch on opening day, it was Brotman who squired him around and introduced him to the team. Eisenhower liked him so much that the White House asked Brotman to announce the president’s second inaugural parade, in 1957.
He’s been doing it ever since, describing the parade entries from a perch above Lafayette Park and challenging the crowd with his own presidential trivia contests. “I never think of it as ‘been there, done that,’ ” he says. “I feel like I’ve invited these people over to my house, and I’m hoping they have a good time.”
Here are five of Brotman’s top memories as the “President’s Announcer”:
Oh, and one another thing: He’s still not being paid.
Photo: Courtesy of Charlie Brotman
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