Friday, August 5, 2011

The Last Living Witness to the Lincoln Assassination, 1956

Friday, August 5, 2011

Susan reporting:

Most of the videos we've featured here have their share of silliness mixed into the history. This one, however, isn't silly at all.  It's just plain amazing.

Consider it a double-dose of real history. Filmed in the Golden Age of television game shows, it's a clip from the popular series I've Got a Secret. The game was simple enough: regular folks with surprising careers, experiences, or histories – their "secrets" – try to stump the celebrity panel, who ask a limited number of questions.  This elderly gentleman's secret, however, is far from usual. Samuel J. Seymour is 96 years old, and as a five-year-old boy attending Ford's Theatre as a treat on April 14, 1865, he saw John Wilkes Booth assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. It's one more reminder of how relatively short American history is, and a poignant one at that.
Many thanks to Patrick O'Neil, Assistant Professor of History, Methodist University, Fayetteville, NC for sharing this video with us.


Issy said...

Wow that is amazing!!

cheryl said...

Two things struck me as I watched this video.
One, how many of America's students today would know that Lincoln was the 16th president or even, that he was president!
Two, the gracious and intelligent use of language as recently as 1956. How I long for those days.

Thanks for this wonderful video and thanks for your wonderful blog.

Cynthia Griffith said...

Wow! Thanks so much for sharing this. You're right, a double-dose of history. It was neat to see the show, and very neat to see Mr. Seymour. Best wishes!

Ana Farrish said...

This is a great video! How fascinating. Thank you for posting this!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

That was amazing. What a terrible thing to witness as a child, even if at the time he didn't realize the president was shot. After finding out later, I think it would haunt a person.
Thanks ,for sharing. BTW, I used to love that show.

Amanda said...

Wow, that is amazing! What a cool show that was and I agree with Cheryl, they used such wonderful proper language. I always feel that our language is a sign of our general intelligence.

I admired Mr Seymour's courage in showing up after a fall and how nice the host was with showing him much respect.

Thanks for posting!

Time Traveling in Costume said...

Amazing. Thank you for sharing that.

Ranurgis said...

Quite amazing! It reminded me of the time I went to Ford's Theater on my latest trip to Washington, D.C. I found it fascinating to be where such a notable event occurred.

I grew up reading historical novels, but I also enjoyed historical romances when they came along. I also enjoy reading straight history and wanted to major in history until I had one of the worst history profs ever. I went to my second love in subjects: languages.

Thanks for all the fascinating info I get by e-mail, and all the work you put into that.

Ranurgis said...


When my comment didn't appear, I thought I might have made a mistake in posting it. Well, it's still here, just not on the page. Maybe it just takes longer than I thought, i.e., longer than anywhere else.

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