Today (while recovering from yesterday’s LA Marathon) I have been rewatching this fascinating television appearance by the last living person to witness the assassination of Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater. His name is Samuel Seymour, and he was 96 years old when this show, I’ve Got a Secret, aired in 1956.
This is an interesting look at Civil War era memory in action. Seymour was only five years old at the time of the shooting, and he only recalls a man (John Wilkes Booth) falling from the balcony on to the stage. As he says…”It scared him to death.” Only later did he learn of the significance of the event.
This mid-1950s television show somewhat trivializes Lincoln’s assassination, and really really makes me want to smoke a Winston cigarette, but I have to say I was captivated by the elderly man – a witness to a momentous event in American history. Illustrating that even in the television age (which I am pretty sure is on it’s way out now) we are not so far removed from the war.
I am going to add this vintage Civil War related footage to my list of favorites right up there with the famous clip of Union and Confederate veterans shaking hands at the stone wall on Cemetery Ridge in 1938.
Here is the Seymour clip in full: