Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"I Love Paul" buttons


The Realist, #64, February 1965, p. 24

By Alan Whitney

[...] The Pope may or may not be infallible in matters religious and/or political, but he is definitely odds-on when it comes to matters commercial. When he visited New York, lapel buttons, plastic holy medals and pennants bearing the holy image left vendors' boards like birth control pills going to Fort Lauderdale. And, an occasionally reliable source swears to me on the soul of  his contact that this really happened:

A vendor sold out his entire supply of Pope buttons and went to the wholesaler to get more, only to find that there just weren't any more. He pleaded eloquently about this historical opportunity to make a bundle, and the distributor finally did the best he could. He yielded 150 "I Love Paul" buttons intended for Beatles cultists. The vendor took them to Yankee Stadium and sold out in half an hour.

The House of Blue Leaves, (New York: Samuel French, Inc., 1994, p. 33), Act 1.

BUNNY bursts in, flushed, bubbling. She has an enormous "I Love Paul" button on her coat.

BUNNY. He's landed! He's landed! It's on everybody's transistors and you're still here! And the school kids! -- The Pope drives by, he sees all those school kids, he's gonna come out for Birth Control today!! Churches will be selling Holy Diaphragms with pictures of St. Christopher and saints on them. You mark my words. (To us, indicating her button.) They ran out of Welcome Pope buttons so I ran downstairs and got my leftover from when the Beatles were here!

[John Guare's farcical play, first performed in 1966, is set in New York during the 1965 papal visit. Text via Google Books.]