Even in 1956, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln was a long time ago, but to one man the memory was still very much alive. His name Was Samuel J. Seymour and he went on the Garry Moore hosted TV show, “I’ve Got a Secret” as the last living eyewitness to that terrible event. An event that was so shocking that the audience is actually stunned when they learn his secret. It doesn’t take long for the panelists (Bill Cullen, Jayne Meadows, Henry Morgan, and Lucille Ball) to figure out his secret and when they do, we get to hear what a 5-year-old takes away from being there during such a pivotal moment.
It was not the gun shot. It wasn’t people freaking out. No, he remembers being concerned for the man who had fallen out of the balcony. That man was John Wilkes Booth, who had leapt from the balcony after the fateful shot and injured himself when he did. I am not sure if that is just his more concise telling of the story for television or the real thing that stuck in his mind 90+ years later. For more info about Mr. Seymour, check out the 1954 article in the Milwaukee Sentinel that inspired this historical TV appearance. In the article he goes into a lot more detail about what he remembers. It is remarkable.