Striding on stage to the theme music from his classic western, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Clint Eastwood brought his star power and trademark laconic wit to the Republican National Convention.
He jetted in to endorse the party's presidential nominee Mitt Romney – to mixed reviews.
Convention goers were enthralled, cheering throughout the 11-minute address which the elder statesman of Tinseltown promised would dispel the idea that everyone in Hollywood is "left of Lenin".
The biggest applause came when the two-time Oscar-winner encouraged delegates to repeat his the slogan of his Dirty Harry character: "Make my day".
But the ad-libbed cameo, including a section in which he addressed remarks to an empty chair supposed to represent President Barack Obama, caused bafflement and hilarity in other quarters.
The Twitter account @InvisibleObama gathered 30,000 followers in two hours.
Meanwhile, people began posting pictures of themselves seemingly in conversation with empty chairs, with the hashtag 'Eastwooding'.
The current occupant of the Oval Office got in on the fun, posting a picture of himself at work with the warning: "This seat's taken".
Another internet user tweeted: "Clint Eastwood on the phone with Obama now: 'It all went according to plan, Sir'."
Celebrities also commented, with Piers Morgan describing the appearance as "one of the craziest things I ever watched".
A former adviser to the Romney camp Mike Murphy was even more to the point in his assessment. "Note to file: Actors need a script," he tweeted.
Among remarks that raised eyebrows was Clint's joke that it was never "a good idea for attorneys to be president". It was aimed at the commander-in-chief, who is a lawyer.
The 82-year-old Dirty Harry legend appeared to have overlooked his candidate's own law degree from Harvard.
He also told the audience: "When somebody does not do the job, we've gotta let them go" – accompanying this advice with a slashing motion to the throat.
Speaking about the night President Obama was elected, Clint said: "Oprah was crying.
"I was even crying. I haven't cried that hard since I found out that there is 23 million unemployed people in this country."
Responding to the controversy surrounded the appearance, the Romney campaign insisted the audience had "enjoyed" his "ad libbing".
"Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn't work," said a statement, adding that his turn had been "a break from all the political speeches".