FRANKFURT (S&S) — It took him five years, but Vaughn Meader thinks he made the switch from GI in Germany to head of "The First Family" in record time.

No one can deny he did it with "vigah." Meader, a tall Bostonian who served with the 562nd QM Bn in Mannheim from 1953 to 1957, returned to Germany Thursday as a celebrity — thanks at least partly to his imitation of President Kennedy on the "First Family" parody record that caused a sensation in the United States last year.

The record, a series of short takeoffs on life in the White House, has sold 5 million copies so far. "The First Family II," a sequel disc released two months ago, already has passed the 300,000 mark.

Meader and his German-born wife, Vera, are in Germany for a month's vacation, most of which they plan to spend with Vera's family in Mannheim, where "the voice of JFK" began his show business career as a pianist with an all-soldier country band.

Their landing in Frankfurt was a family reunion and more. Mrs. Meader's mother, brother and sister were among the welcoming party.

Also on hand were Sp5 and Mrs. Harold Hall. Hall, now stationed with Co B, 15th QM Bn, was an Army buddy of Meader's during the latter's Mannheim duty tour.

Although he admits that he and the rest of the "Family" cast have been "very fortunate," Meader says his real first break came with his appearance July 3, 1962, on the "Talent Scout" television show as a little-known comedian.

"That's where the fellows who wrote the record saw me and got the idea of using me as the President's voice," he said. "But after that show, even before the record came out, I started getting offers, club dates and other shows."

Meader's life got a lot busier, though, when the first version of the White House-on-wax was released.

"For the past year I've been playing clubs all over the country," he said. "We make our home in New York now, but we've only been there for two weeks since last July."

His nightclub act, Meader hastily added, has little to do with imitating the President.

'The only time I do Mr. Kennedy is at the end of the show, when I hold a press conference with the audience."

Busy Schedule

Things aren't likely to get any quieter when the Meaders get back to America. Aside from his club dates, Meader is scheduled to make his stage debut in a production of 'The Tender Trap" at Skowhegan, Maine. He's also under two-year contract with MGM records, slated to make two albums and one single record per year.

"And on the first record." he beamed, "I'm going to sing."

The kind of tunes he'll do are "sort of secret," and Meader refused to confirm or deny that at least one will be sung in pear-shaped, Presidential tones.

No, he's never met any member of the real First Family, but would definitely like to. Such meeting, he said with brandishing forefinger, would he "moving ahead."

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now