Thursday, June 21, 2007

June 21, 1774:

Daniel D. Thompkins' Birthday

The Sixth Vice President of the United States, Daniel D. Thompkins of New York, holds a number of vice presidential distinctions. He was the second of only seven men to serve two full terms; he was James Monroe's vice president through his entire time in office, from 1817 to 1825. He had the shortest life span of any vice president, dying just before his 51st birthday, when he'd been out of office only 99 days. He was also the last vice president born before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

And he's the only vice president mentioned in Miracle on 34th Street, during Kris Kringle's "psychological evaluation" by the hostile Mr. Sawyer.

Kris: Excuse me, are you Mr.Sawyer?

Sawyer: Yes. You are?

Kris: Kris Kringle.

Sawyer: Ah, yes. I didn’t recognize you without —

Kris: Without the red suit? Well, I thought it more appropriate for our meeting to wear this.

Sawyer: And that cane – do you always carry that?

Kris: When I’m in street clothes, yes. Made it myself from one of the runners of my sleigh.

Sawyer: Your what?

Kris: My sleigh. And look, that’s a fine silver top, isn’t it? Looks like a sleighbell.

Sawyer (abruptly): Who was the first president of the United States?

Kris: Oh, we’ve moved on to the test, have we? Well, at least try to challenge me, Mr. Sawyer. You’d be better off asking who the Vice President was during the Monroe administration.

Sawyer: Just answer the question.

Kris: Gracious! George Washington.

Sawyer: Thank you.

Kris: The answer to the other one, by the way, is Daniel D. Thompkins, in case you’d like to use it.

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