Fourscore and Seven Years Ago…

Yesterday was the 140th anniversary of Lincoln’s famous address. There is only
one known
of President Lincoln at Gettysburg (here’s the detail view if you’re
having a hard time spotting him). The Library of Congress website explains that
the image sat for more than half a century in the National Archives before
anyone recognized President Lincoln in it.
Fourscore and Seven Years Ago… (Metafilter)

I have a special fondness for that speech, in part because I played the mayor in a high school production of The Music Man. An extended joke in an early scene is that the mayor is trying to deliver a rendition of that speech at a patriotic gathering, but he keeps getting interrupted.

I knew full well that on the night before the play opened, when traditionally people would play tricks on each other, that Bryan Louiselle (who played Harold Hill) wouldn’t interrupt me when he was supposed to. So I memorized the whole speech (which wasn’t in the script; back in the pre-WWW days, I actually had to look it up in a book). When Bryan didn’t interrupt me, I just sailed ahead with the speech, and Bryan made his entrance after I finished. (Confession: I only got through about half of it before I stumbled, but then I skipped to the end, and I’m pretty sure nobody else on stage or in the audience knew the speech better than I did, so everyone probably thought I gave the whole speech.)