The presidential inauguration is a solemn and important occasion, of course, steeped in history and pomp. But it's also a time for parades and balls — and, sometimes, a bit of tomfoolery. As we prepare for President Obama's second inauguration on Monday, a look back at a few funny and unusual moments:
1941: It's hard to blame Fala the Scottie pup for jumping into President Franklin Roosevelt's car as he headed to Capitol Hill for his third inauguration. What dog doesn't like to go for a ride? The original caption says Fala is "looking disconcerted as the President informs him that there is no place for little dogs in such momentous affairs."
1953: During Dwight Eisenhower's inaugural parade, the president found himself being lassoed by cowboy Montie Montana. After Montana died in 1998, Variety reported that the roping legend had "asked the President's permission first, but Secret Service agents still weren't amused."
1957: Four years later, Eisenhower (far right) "doffed his homburg and bowed" to Miss Burma, the Republican elephant mascot from Ohio.
In a less choreographed moment that same year, Vice President Richard Nixon laughed as a stray dog joined the parade.
1961: When President John F. Kennedy was inaugurated, dogs were again part of the show. This time, Alaskan huskies pulled Maine's float along Constitution Avenue.
1977: What better tribute to Jimmy Carter, who had been a peanut farmer before he was a president, than a giant peanut balloon?
1985: It was an "oops!" moment for first lady Nancy Reagan when she forgot to introduce President Ronald Reagan during an inaugural event. It was too cold for an outdoor parade that year, so instead participants had been invited to the Capital Centre in Landover, Md.
2001: A topless protester braved the Washington, D.C., winter during President George W. Bush's inaugural parade.
2005: What's so odd about President Bush giving the "Hook 'em, 'horns" salute of the University of Texas Longhorns during his inaugural parade? Nothing, unless you were in Norway, where people thought his gesture was a salute to Satan.
2009: Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel makes a face before President Barack Obama's first inauguration. The person behind him does not look amused.
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