Actor Clint Eastwood's rambling dialogue with an empty chair last week was that rarest of occurrences at the modern political convention — an unscripted moment. It is, of course, not the first in the long history of major-party conventions.
But it is the first in a very long time. And if there is one thing certain about this week's gathering of Democrats in Charlotte, it is that President Obama's team will do everything possible to prevent one from happening on its watch.
Here is a handful of those moments that have surprised convention producers in recent decades.
1) Dueling first ladies. Republicans, 1976. This was the last convention where the nomination was still in doubt. When delegates arrived in Kansas City, Mo., President Ford had only 14 delegates more than the 1,130 needed for the nomination and Ronald Reagan had 1,041. Passions were running high when Nancy Reagan entered the hall, triggering an eruption of cheers from Reagan supporters. Then first lady Betty Ford came in. For 10 minutes, Ford delegates cheered and Reagan delegates tried to drown them out with boos, one waving a sign stating "Dump Betty's Puppet." The "war of the queens" had been no secret during the campaign: Nancy did not really like Betty and resented efforts to portray her as the new model of a political wife. But convention organizers were embarrassed to have the spat play out in front of the national TV audience.