The Dual-Ghia sported a hefty $7,600 price tag, making it more expensive than the highest-priced Cadillacs, and several celebrities owned them including Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, Glenn Ford, and Desi Arnaz (who wrecked his). Then-Vice President Richard Nixon apparently had one. So, too, did Ronald Reagan.
At that time Reagan was about a decade away from becoming governor of California, but by then his acting career was already starting to slow down. He’d star with his wife Nancy in the WWII film Hellcats of the Navy in 1957, one of his very last films. His last role would be to play a gangster in The Killers (1964), then he would be elected governor a couple of years later.
Among all the stories of poker-playing presidents floating about, you don’t find too many involving Reagan. He played golf like all the presidents did. He also rode horses, enjoyed swimming and target shooting, and played football in college. He’s likely to have played cards from time to time -- as did practically all men of his generation, especially politicians -- but you don’t usually see him in the roll call of poker-playing presidents.
There is one story about Reagan playing poker, though, suggesting that he apparently lost his Dual-Ghia in a high-stakes poker game to none other than Lyndon B. Johnson. (No shinola.) Details of the game are scarce (and perhaps apocryphal), and you only really see the story come up in references to the Dual-Ghia and not to either Reagan or Johnson. Funny to think of it actually happening, though.
Some of us remember Little very well as another prolific impersonator whose fame peaked back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. There’s a cut on The First Family Rides Again called “The Big Game” which has Little doing all the voices for a poker game between Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Reagan.
I’ll admit to grinning a few times while listening, such as when Nixon is the first suspect when the pot is short, Carter tries to fold before the hand is dealt, and Ford thinks the game is “Go Fish.”