K-E-Y! Y? Because We Will Bury You
September 19, 2009 4:52 PM   Subscribe

Exactly 50 years ago today, Soviet Premier and Cold War Villain Nikita Khrushchev was denied a visit to Disneyland. He was in Southern California as part of a cross-country tour of the U.S.A.* (Can you imagine an enemy of the US doing that today?). The reasons for the denial? Security Logistics and Time Limitations (you have to devote a whole day for The Magic Kingdom). Instead, he visited a sound stage at 20th Century Fox (shooting "Can Can") and a housing development in a San Fernando Valley suburb. The next day, he got a warmer, but semi-stunned, reception in San Luis Obispo, CA. Not the only place that welcomed him. Farmers in Coon Rapids, Iowa were happy to show off American agriculture in an event recently commemorated.
*Look Inside book at Amazon link for more content. Also lots more coverage in the L.A. Times' Nostalgia Blog)
posted by wendell (32 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
You just know Kim Jong Il would cream his pants if Obama invited him over here for a Disneyland trip and a tour of a movie studio. Of course that wouldn't happen today -- the same conservatives who long for the America of the 1950s would pitch a fit if Obama followed Eisenhower's example with someone like KJI (or whoever the modern equivalent of Kruschev is, if there even is one; I know Nikita K wasn't an utter loon like Lil' Kim). Such is the irony of the modern right wing.

Nice post, thanks. The hot dog pic on the Boston.com link is priceless.
posted by hifiparasol at 5:09 PM on September 19, 2009


Ever since I first heard about Khrushchev's tour of the US, I've thought it would make a great movie. A comedy, from the point of view of one of his handlers or something.
posted by brundlefly at 5:10 PM on September 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


Let's not tell the teabaggers about this, 'k?
posted by PlusDistance at 5:15 PM on September 19, 2009


reminds me... and it is kind of a tie into the earlier post about monopoly... Apparently monopoly wasn't allowed in the USSR (go figure), but there was a display of the game during some phase of Nikita's visit that "mysteriously" disappeared during the visit/walk through.

On reflection, that whole presentation and exchange (such as it was) is pretty indicative of the political systems on both sides.
posted by edgeways at 5:17 PM on September 19, 2009


as much as I hate to admit it, I remember the excitement this caused.. I was 11 at the time, just the right age to be caught up in the media hype about the cold war, rockets, bomb shelters, and the seemingly eternal conflict between the US and and the USSR.

Nice post...thanks for the memories...
posted by HuronBob at 5:19 PM on September 19, 2009


A lot of people don't know that Kruschev landed ahead of time... (Play track 4)
posted by PlusDistance at 5:29 PM on September 19, 2009


(Can you imagine an enemy of the US doing that today?)

50 years ago we were a free and open society not yet dominated by frothing nutbars.
posted by DU at 5:47 PM on September 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Then they had a Kitchen Debate. Now we have a "Food Fight".
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:56 PM on September 19, 2009


But still, it must be noted that tomatoes were thrown at K's limo, a bomb was found along his route, and one guy was arrested for walking around with a rifle, so NOT all that different. Except, today, that's how we treat our own President.

HuronBob, I was almost 4 when this happened, so I don't remember it firsthand... because they didn't even mention it on The Mickey Mouse Club (which I watched every day... Annette was just beginning to grow boobies)
posted by wendell at 6:01 PM on September 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Recently I was listening to the Chuck Berry compilation "You Never Can Tell: The Complete Chess Recordings 1960-66" and there's a few live tracks on there including one from 1963 in which he tells the following joke:

Kruschev is something else ain't he? Remember when he came over here not too long ago? Eisenhower and him was talkin' and everything, he come tellin' Eisenhower, "huh, we got it bigger and better over in Russia."

Eisenhower showed him the Lincoln tunnel. Kruschev said, "we got 'em bigger and better in Russia.

Eisenhower showed him the Empire State Building. "We got 'em bigger and better in Russia.

So that evening, when they took him to the hotel, the bellboy put one of them big Georgia snappin' turtles in his bed. Long about three o'clock the old turtle begin to go to work. Old Kruschev jumped, he said, "WHAT IS THAT?"

The bellboy opened the door and said, "That's one of our bedbugs, tell me you got 'em bigger and better in Russia!"

posted by wabbittwax at 6:23 PM on September 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


my freshman year of high school i had staunch anti-communist jack ass for a geography teacher (in retrospect he was probably a libertarian also) and he told us this story but made Khrushchev sound like a simpleton and that when he was denied entry into disneyland it was because "mickey said no". He wasn't impressed with my shenanigans either.
posted by djduckie at 6:24 PM on September 19, 2009


50 years ago we were a free and open society not yet dominated by frothing nutbars.

Maybe they hadn't established dominance yet, but they were already exerting significant influence...
posted by homuncula at 6:31 PM on September 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Khrushchev didn't get a "happy ending".
posted by telstar at 6:48 PM on September 19, 2009


50 years ago we were a free and open society not yet dominated by frothing nutbars.

Whether that was true really depended on what color your skin was.
posted by milarepa at 6:58 PM on September 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the "frothing nutbars" in fact set the rules for 1950s society, and the problem we have now are some of the descendants who are apoplectic that they don't get to ride herd over their inferiors the way their daddies did.

I am enchanted, though, by the mental image of a stone-faced Khruschev on a Disneyland ride, particularly Space Mountain or Pirates of the Caribbean.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:01 PM on September 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some pictures from his visit to Iowa State University on that trip.
posted by sararah at 8:15 PM on September 19, 2009


50 years ago we were a free and open society not yet dominated by frothing nutbars.

You do know this isn't actually true, right? I mean, sure, if you were a middle or upper class conservative heterosexual christian white male times were great. Never better!

I can't really imagine the mindset that thinks we were better off in the 50s than we are now.
posted by Justinian at 8:26 PM on September 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's not so small after all, is it?

*unwraps a delicious Frothing Nutbar*
posted by pracowity at 9:27 PM on September 19, 2009


I am enchanted, though, by the mental image of a stone-faced Khruschev on a Disneyland ride, particularly Space Mountain or Pirates of the Caribbean.

...neither of which had been built yet in 1959, but the Matterhorn Bobsleds and Fantasyland Teacups would've been good enough. Also Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (which terrorized me as a 6 year-old on my first visit).
posted by wendell at 9:43 PM on September 19, 2009


Dulles: You, Mr. Chairman, may have seen some of my intelligence reports from time to time.

Khrushchev: I believe we get the same reports—and probably from the same people.

Dulles: Maybe we should pool our efforts.

Khrushchev: Yes. We should buy our intelligence data together and save money. We'd have to pay the people only once.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:51 PM on September 19, 2009


Oops, meant to link!
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:51 PM on September 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, that story about how Khrushchev sneaks off to Disneyland really needs to be made into a movie. He needs to pick up a 5-year-old sidekick or a mini-me along the way, though. Walt showing off the submarines and adding somewhat threateningly "it's the eighth-largest submarine fleet in the world, you know." So much potential.

Of course, Cardinal Richelieu would have to be played by a hand puppet.
posted by sour cream at 3:17 AM on September 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Nice post, thanks. The hot dog pic on the Boston.com link is priceless.

Which Boston.com link are you referring to?
posted by pravit at 5:32 AM on September 20, 2009


When told he couldn't go to Disneyland for security reasons he ripped off a great zinger complaining that even the great USA can't provide for the safety of visitors. He was also truly confused by the filming of can-can. Stating that it was frivolous nonsense and that film should be used for political purposes. The greatest irony of his visit is that the Hollywood elite were busting down the doors to get into the studio luncheon planned for him, whereas today they would be lining up to protest his visit.
posted by Gungho at 6:04 AM on September 20, 2009


This it the Boston.com link with the hot dog.
posted by ericost at 7:52 AM on September 20, 2009


Countess Elena: I am enchanted, though, by the mental image of a stone-faced Khruschev on a Disneyland ride, particularly Space Mountain or Pirates of the Caribbean.

No way; Uncle Nikki would be whoopin' it up on the roller coaster and diving into the pool at the log ride, getting his picture taken with Snow White, all the while with that hotdog-eatin' grin permaplastered across his mug. I think you're thinking of Brezhnev.

Bonus picture of Nixon and Khrushchev at the infamous kitchen with Brezhnev looking on bemusedly (or angrily, or impatiently... who knew?).
posted by hangashore at 9:36 AM on September 20, 2009


Bim-Bon would happy
posted by clavdivs at 10:26 AM on September 20, 2009


bim bom rather
F%$^*@ that one up
posted by clavdivs at 10:27 AM on September 20, 2009


Nixon: You may be interested to know that my father owned a small general store.

Khruschev: All shopkeepers are thieves.
posted by box at 11:34 AM on September 20, 2009


I've been told that Khrushchev's "We will bury you" speech was in part misinterpreted, that what he actually said could be more accurately translated as "We will attend your funeral." In other words, he was saying that the Soviet Union would outlast the United States, but not making any sort of direct threat. Is this true?
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:43 PM on September 20, 2009


Faint of Butt: I also remember hearing that interpretation, and the Wikipedia entry seems to square with it.
posted by hangashore at 3:13 PM on September 20, 2009


hangashore, you're quite right. Since I learned an embarrassing amount of my 1950s history from old Pogo books, I should have remembered that Khruschev was the Pig, who was "so jolly with all the ha-ha."
posted by Countess Elena at 4:14 AM on September 21, 2009


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