Freelance Historian
The World of Historical Manuscripts and Ephemera

Posts Tagged ‘history’

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon and John Wilkes Booth

Posted in Shop Talk  by Steven on January 4th, 2012

Most people have heard of the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” where it is proposed that any actor can be linked to the prolific entertainer in six steps or less. Readers of popular online link site Reddit decided to put this to the test, and were even able to connect Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth to Bacon!

  1. Booth appeared in an 1863 production of MacBeth with Louisa Lane Drew.
  2. Louisa Lane Drew appeared in an 1896 production of The Rivals with her grandson Lionel Barrymore.
  3. Lionel Barrymore appeared in It’s A Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stuart in 1948.
  4. Jimmy Stuart was in 1977’s Airport ’77 with Jack Lemmon.
  5. Jack Lemmon was in JFK in 1991 with Kevin Bacon.

Another reader shaves Booths’ Bacon Number to 4 by tracing Lionel Barrymore to Kenneth Tobey in Right Cross (1950) then Tobey to Kevin Bacon in Hero At Large (1980.)

In an interesting aside, Kevin Bacon had been mentioned as producing a Showtime series on the Booth brothers in 2008, but the show seems to have dropped into limbo.


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Things I learned this week

Posted in Shop Talk  by Steven on September 25th, 2008

One of the neatest parts about this job is learning new things all the time.

While researching lots this week, I learned;

  • A “matross” is the old term for artillery crewman- he helped load, fire and sponge out the cannon.
  • “Diorama” was originally traveling theater presentation using painted linen panels and lighting to produce what was for then a stunning three-dimensional effect.
  • and I learned about the “Freedman’s Bank” established to help ex-slaves learn how to save and manage their money after the Civil War. It unfortunately collapsed, as so many banks did back then, from chicanery and fraud.

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Crazy About History

Posted in Shop Talk  by Steven on August 31st, 2008

It’s funny sometimes, how a passion can lead to a vocation. All my life, I’ve been crazy about history. Maybe it’s because I was born and raised in a small town where nothing really ever happened, or because my mother taught me to read when I was a toddler to keep me out of her hair. 😉  In any case, history has always fascinated me.

I have been lucky enough to be able to turn this lifelong interest and contacts made throughout my life into a career where people send me neat old things in the mail, and I get to research them! This blog is a place for me to share interesting things that cross my desk with friends, and whoever else wanders across this site.

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