Archives On The Air 223: Gale McGee "Plastered" On Election Night 1958 — Gale McGee Papers

Oct 24, 2020

On election night 1958, Gale McGee waited for returns at the home of UW art professor Robert Russin.

Paper ballots were slowly counted as everyone waited to learn if McGee would become a U.S. Senator.

At 3 a.m. Russin distracted McGee by steering the candidate to his sculpting tools. Russin placed McGee's head on a wood block and began applying baby oil and Vaseline to his hair and skin.

Soda straws were put in McGee's ears and nose to protect from the greasy coating. Plaster was applied as others kept track of returns. Soon McGee couldn't speak as the plaster hardened.

Hours went by before McGee learned he was a newly elected U.S. Senator. The resulting bronze bust is on display at UW's American Heritage Center.