Drinkin' With Lincoln

Kevin Wood

I refuse to just grow a mustache and say, “Well, my time is done for a while,” and wait for something to happen. –Lincoln Presenter Michael Krebs

Due to Illinois’s shelter-at-home order, many of us are quarantined, working remotely or unable to work at all. But what about our Lincoln presenters? How has the coronavirus disrupted their profession, which relies almost exclusively on live events, many of them taking place in schools and senior centers?

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On this episode, we feature Navy veteran Rick Otey, who took up the mantle of Lincoln at age 67 and uses Lincoln to help those around him (especially veterans). Join host Clint Cargile as he travels to Rick’s hometown of Tremont, Illinois, a town rich with Lincoln history.

In part one, we visit Rick at the Tremont History Museum and then he gives a tour of Lincoln sites around Tremont. We also hear the little-known story of a duel Lincoln took part in, and its connection to Tremont.

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On this episode of Drinkin’ with Lincoln, we’re not drinkin’ with Lincoln at all. Host Clint Cargile marks the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote with a special spinoff episode we’re calling Sippin’ with Suffragists. To celebrate the occasion, he travels to Galena, Illinois, to interview one of the most famous suffragists of all: Susan B. Anthony.

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Drinkin’ with Lincoln continues. This episode’s guest is not the 16th president, but someone very close to him. Join host Clint Cargile as he interviews Mary Lincoln presenter Laura Keyes. Laura has portrayed Mary Lincoln for over a decade. She also portrays several other strong historical women: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Irene Adler, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Drinkin’ with Lincoln returns! For our season 2 premiere, we visit with Abe and Mary Lincoln presenters Max and Donna Daniels, also known as Abe & the Babe. Max and Donna’s career has spanned three decades and they are known in the Lincoln community for their humor, their generosity, and for mentoring a new generation of Lincoln presenters.

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For our Season One finale, we celebrate the unveiling of a new Abraham Lincoln statue in Naperville, Illinois. It is the world's only statue depicting young Lincoln laughing.* And it wouldn't be a proper Lincoln statue unveiling without a proper Lincoln presenter: stage actor and 25-year Lincoln veteran Michael Krebs.

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For our third episode, we head down to Charleston, Illinois, a city bursting with Lincoln history, where we meet up with Joe Woodard, a veteran Lincoln presenter who also happens to be beardless. A beardless Lincoln? How is that possible? But Lincoln didn't grow his beard until the 1860 election, so anyone portraying Lincoln's career as a prairie lawyer in Illinois should, for authenticity's sake, be clean shaven. Woodard's tonsured chops have defined his Lincoln career, giving him opportunities not available to his bewhiskered colleagues.

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In this episode, we visit with Lincoln presenter George Buss in his hometown of Freeport, Illinois. George has been portraying Lincoln for more than 30 years and proudly serves as the official Lincoln of Gettysburg. George loves Freeport because it's a town steeped in Lincoln history. It was here, on August 27th, 1858, that Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas held the second of their seven debates. This debate is infamous for Douglas's introduction of the Freeport Doctrine, which helped him defeat Lincoln in that race, but propelled Lincoln to the presidency just two years later.

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For our premiere episode, we are joined in DeKalb, Illinois, by full-time Lincoln presenter Kevin Wood. Kevin is also a running Lincoln. He runs races. In his Lincoln getup. Hat and all. And he is a multilingual Lincoln. He gives presentations in English and Spanish and translates Lincoln documents into French and German. He can recite the Gettysburg Address in all four languages.