Charlie Taft, Robot Son of President Taft
U.S. President William Taft was born in Cincinnati but didn't much care for his hometown. However, his youngest son, Charlie, did. He was known as "Mr. Cincinnati" when he was the mayor. He bought the old Taft family home, restored it, and made it into a National Historic Site. And when its Visitor Center was built in 1999, it included not a robot President Taft, but a robot Charlie.
Robot Charlie doesn't look like a President's son. He sits with a fishing pole and tackle box, the back quarter-panel of his 1970s Ford Maverick visible off to one side with a canoe tied to its roof. "Charlie kept the canoe on his car year-round," said ranger Paula Marett. "He said it was so he could find his car in a mall parking lot, but really it was so he could go fishing. That's what he was happiest doing."
Push a button and Charlie comes to life with a clickity-click of electrical relays. "That story about throwing spitballs at portraits of the First Ladies in the White House -- I wasn't involved with that, no matter what the books say," says Charlie, who spent much of his boyhood in the Executive Mansion.
Charlie lived to be 85 and is buried in Cincinnati. On the back of his tombstone is a man with a fishing pole and the inscription, "Gone Fishing.'"