How a Burger Joint Almost Ruined Richard Nixon

A lot of presidents seem to have “that” brother. Jimmy Carter had Billy, and Bill Clinton has Roger. Then there’s Don Nixon.

Back in the ‘50s, Dick’s younger brother, Don, ran a chain of drive-in burger joints in California. Customers could enjoy fish sticks and fries for just 40 cents, a banana split for 25 cents, or a “Nixonburger” with cheese for 20 cents.

Despite these reasonable prices and a family-friendly atmosphere, Nixon’s wasn’t doing so well. In 1956, Don took a loan of $205,000 from Howard Hughes—yes, Spruce Goose Howard Hughes—in order to keep his operations afloat. When Dick Nixon’s opponents dug up this dirt during the campaign season for the 1960 elections, the press had a field day with it. Tricky Dick’s political enemies insisted it proved Hughes had a stronghold over the family, and the whole affair became a punchline for political cartoons and practical jokers. During a campaign stop in San Francisco’s Chinatown, the future president was convinced to pose for a photo op in front of a large banner with Chinese characters written on it. A resident eventually whispered to him that the sign read, “What about the Hughes loan?”

Later the same day, Nixon was having lunch with community leaders when fortune cookies were passed out post-meal. After the entire crowd broke out laughing, he discovered that the paper inside each cookie read, “Ask him about the Hughes loan.”

Though there were other contributing factors to JFK’s eventual election win that year, the Nixonburger Scandal was right up there. And to add insult to injury, the loan ended up being completely useless: Despite the money, the restaurants went under and Don filed for bankruptcy in 1961. Don worried that he had cost his brother the election, and Nixon assured him that the scandal only had an impact in California, which they won anyway.

However, during testimony over the Watergate scandal years later, it became clear that the elder Nixon never did regain much trust in his younger brother: Dick admitted to having his brother’s phone wiretapped to monitor any shady business dealings.

Quick True/False: World Capitals
Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
10 Pats Born on St. Patrick's Day
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Need some St. Patrick's Day conversation fodder that doesn't involve leprechauns or four-leaf clovers? Ask your friends to name a "Pat" born on St. Patrick's Day. If they can't, they owe you a drink—then you can wow them with this list of 10.


Princess Patricia was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who gave up all of her royal titles when she married a commoner. She was born at Buckingham Palace on March 17, 1886.


The Dallas star was born on March 17, 1949. And here's a totally random fact about Duffy: His nephew is Barry Zito, former MLB pitcher for the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants.


Pattie Boyd
Larry Ellis, Express/Getty Images

Pattie Boyd is well-known to lovers of classic rock: She has been married three times, including once to George Harrison and once to Eric Clapton, who both wrote a couple of the most romantic songs in rock history in her honor (including The Beatles's "Something" and Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight"). Boyd was a model when she met Harrison on the set of A Hard Day's Night in 1964; the pair were married two years later. They divorced in 1977 and she married Clapton, Harrison's close friend, in 1979. She also had an affair with Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones toward the end of her marriage to The Quiet Beatle.


Belfast-born Pat Rice is a former footballer and coach who spent the bulk of his career with Arsenal F.C. (that's "football club," a.k.a. soccer to us Americans). He joined the Gunners in 1964 as a mere apprentice, turning pro a couple of years later. He became captain in 1977 and left the club for a few years in the early 1980s to go to Watford, but returned after he retired from playing in 1984. In 2012, after nearly 30 years with the organization, he announced his retirement.


Patty Maloney is an actress with dwarfism who stands just three feet, 11 inches tall. She has appeared in many movies and T.V. shows over the years, including operating the Crypt Keeper puppet in Tales from the Crypt. She also played Chewbacca's son Lumpy in The Star Wars Holiday Special.


Michael C. Hall and Mathew St. Patrick in 'Six Feet Under'

Ok, so Mathew St. Patrick is the stage name of the actor, but he was born Patrick Matthews in Philadelphia on March 17, 1968. You probably know him best as David's boyfriend Keith on Six Feet Under.


He may not be a household name, but the recording artists Patrick Adams writes for and helps produce certainly are. Adams has been involved in the careers of Salt-N-Pepa, Sister Sledge, Gladys Knight, Rick James, and Coolio, among others.


It's possible you look at Patrick McDonnell's work every day, depending on which comics your newspaper carries. McDonnell draws a strip called Mutts featuring a dog and a cat named Earl and Mooch, respectively. Charles Schulz called it one of the best comic strips of all time.


 Singer/Guitarist Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins performs onstage during Live Earth New York at Giants Stadium on July 7, 2007 in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Evan Agostini, Getty Images

Yes, you know him better as just plain old Billy Corgan: he's the face of the Smashing Pumpkins, engages in public feuds with Courtney Love, and maybe once dated Jessica Simpson. He made his debut on March 17, 1967.


Patricia Ford is a retired model probably best known for her Playboy photoshoots in the 1990s.


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