When President Obama was elected in 2008, the Washington Post ran a story on the front page a few days later about Eugene Allen, who was a former maitre d’ at the White House. I had worked at the White House as a contract butler in the 1980s and Gene Allen had been my boss.
I was amazed at the attention that the article had garnered. I was even more amazed that a movie was eventually made based on Gene Allen’s life, called “The Butler”. I never thought that the general public was much interested in White House butlers, but, suddenly, it became a “cool” job to have.
As a result, I decided to put together a presentation about my experiences. I went through all of my memorabilia and photos, and as I did, old memories started to come back to me.
I began putting together a presentation based on my personal experiences and those of the people that I worked with, such as Gene Allen, and his predecessor, John Ficklin, who started working at the White House in 1939.
As part of my program, I did a Q&A at the end, and found that people were asking me if I was going to write a book. While I didn’t feel like I had enough material to write a book on my own experiences, I considered writing a book on the history of entertainment in the White House.
Through a stroke of good fortune, I was able to connect with John Ficklin’s son, Wrory, who allowed me to go through his father’s extensive memorabilia collection and use all of the photos from that collection that I wanted for the book (just in the nick of time… the collection has since been sent to the Reagan Library to be put on display in the near future).
Alan DeValerio was a contract butler at the White House from 1980 to 1989. He is the author of “A History of Entertainment in the Modern White House”.
July 9 — Aug 2, 2015
At Your Service, Mr. President! at The Argonaut
starting July 11
Capital Fringe 2015
1358-60 Florida Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20002
and other locations
Fringe details and Tickets