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Lincoln Impersonator’s Film Debut (1915)

February 5, 2023

There were two Lincoln films both produced in 1924: First National (later becoming Warner Brothers) made the feature film “The Dramatic Life of Abraham Lincoln”, starring George Billings. It cost $1M to produce and is now considered a completely lost film. Lee De Forest made a short sound film, “The Life of Abraham Lincoln” starring Frank McGlynn, Sr. recreating the role he had on Broadway in John Drinkwater’s play “Abraham Lincoln”. Prior to that, McGlynn appeared in 1915 in a one-reeler produced by Edison Studios in New York, directed by Langdon West. It, too, was titled “The Life of Abraham Lincoln”. We present an abridged version of that 1915 work, running a little under three minutes. It is taken from a 16mm copy printed on Agfa safety stock.

[From Wiki: “Abraham Lincoln” (1924) is a short film made in the Phonofilm sound-on-film process. The film was directed by J. Searle Dawley, produced by Lee De Forest, is based on the 1918 play Abraham Lincoln by John Drinkwater, and stars Frank McGlynn Sr. as Lincoln. McGlynn also played Lincoln in the play on Broadway. Although no copies of the film appear to have survived, some photographs have been preserved. In 1923, De Forest and Dawley produced a short Phonofilm, “Lincoln, Man of the People” with Edwin Markham reading his poem of that title. In 1925, De Forest produced a Phonofilm, “Memories of Lincoln” with 91-year-old Chauncey Depew giving his recollections of meeting Lincoln in person.]