Richard Nixon mask
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A Richard Nixon mask is a mask with the likeness of Richard Nixon. These were commercially available and quite popular in the waning days of the Nixon Administration. They are generally made out of vinyl by the Cesar mask company from France and are sold worldwide. The most famous Nixon mask was the big nose Cesar Nixon comical mask made by Cesar in the 1970s. Later other companies made similar versions made from latex rubber or similar flexible castable compounds.
One of the notable features of most Richard Nixon masks is the classically caricatured nose. Many of the different versions of the Nixon mask have a wide grinning smile as well.
Although the masks were widely believed to be only a fad that would presumably die down as the public attention on Watergate waned (and once Nixon left office), the masks managed to outlive their presumed fad status by becoming popular during events such as Halloween and adult masquerade parties. The Richard Nixon mask remains popular today, worn both for humorous effect, and in protest marches and similar "public displays of disaffection". According to Harper's magazine's October 2002 "Harper's Index," Nixon masks were the best-selling political mask for the previous five years for top U.S. costume wholesaler Morris Costumes.
The masks sparked a commercial demand for masks resembling other famous people, most notably Presidents of the United States. Masks of other presidents have often been most popular either in the term of the current president or immediately preceding term.
In popular culture
- Bob Dylan - musician and countercultural figure
- Manic Street Preachers - Welsh band in their video "The Love of Richard Nixon"
- John E. Fryer - Psychiatrist and gay rights activist who wore a Nixon mask to conceal his appearance during a 1972 APA convention
- During Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' Southern Accents 1985 tour, when "Don't Come Around Here No More" reached the uptempo climax, actors in Nixon and Reagan masks came out and chased each over all over the stage.
- One of the bank robbers in the 1991 action film Point Break, the other robbers wore masks based on other recent Presidents (Johnson, Carter, and Reagan). Many fictional uses of the mask reference this film.