Columbus overrun with Lincolns
"I tell people I think we hold this convention just so we can run around in our costumes all weekend," says John Cooper.
John Cooper's obsession with being Abraham Lincoln began one score and five years ago. Its beginnings were humble.
Tall, lean and bearded, the Ohio man already bore a passing resemblance to the Rail Splitter, or so he was told. One Halloween he donned a frock coat he found in his mother's attic, and his wife fashioned a stovepipe hat out of cardboard. A little spray paint on his beard, and he was ready for trick or treat with the kids.
He was so convincing that before long he was invited to come to schools in costume around Presidents Day. Then people started paying him to show up at their events in character to talk about the 16th president.
The rest is history.
But honestly, this is a huge weekend for the 62-year-old Cooper, who is helping to host a gathering of impersonators of the Great Emancipator in Columbus.
The Lincolns have a certain spring in their step this year thanks to a wave of attention brought by the Steven Spielberg movie "Lincoln," which earned an Oscar for Daniel Day-Lewis for his portrayal of Honest Abe. Some of the impersonators say the excitement has led to more work for them. They can fetch several hundred dollars and up for appearances.
On Friday night, all the Lincolns planned to go to a high school in suburban Columbus. They watch a student production of "Our American Cousin," the play Lincoln was watching when he was shot at Ford's Theater in Washington on April 15, 1865.
Organizers said the crack of a snare drum would mark the exact moment in the show when the shot was fired, and a student portraying Lincoln's wife would add a scream for dramatic effect.
Critical thinking challenge: None of these men look exactly alike, but what makes all of them look like Lincoln?
- Posted on April 14, 2013
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