Thursday, November 08, 2012
Writer Michael Carlson ’72 recalls his childhood, his great-grandparents, and the style of 1950s TV shows.
“The Atlantic recently posted a remarkable video on their website, from the Fifties panel show I’ve Got A Secret. The clip, from 1956, features a 96 year old man who had been present at Ford’s Theatre in Washington when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. You can link to the clip here, and in the piece is another link to the newspaper article that prompted his appearance on the show. Rebecca J. Rosen of The Atlantic points out the relative ‘brevity’ of a century and a half, noting that there are far fewer differences between that TV show and our shows 57 years later, than there were for Mr. Samuel Seymour living from 1860 to 1956. It’s too bad he didn’t make it to the Civil War Centennial, which dominated my consciousness for a couple of years in 1962–63, but sadly he died only a couple of months after appearing on the programme.
“As it happens, my great-grandmother’s father was born in 1843 and died in 1945. He came to the US to avoid pogroms or wars (and narrowly missed the Civil War himself) fought on horseback and with muskets, and died after the first atomic bomb was dropped. I can remember my great-grandmother saying how he would have lived longer had he not smoked cigars. The link is not so remote as we might think.”
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Image: via Michael Carlson.
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