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.
Michael has portrayed Abraham Lincoln in films, documentaries, TV shows, and commercials. He’s a popular fixture at the Chicago History Museum and has performed in Washington, D.C., for the Lincoln Group, the National Archives, the National Park Service, and the Library of Congress. President Bill Clinton once handpicked him to present before one of his speeches.
In part one, we talk with the organizers who brought Laughing Lincoln to Naperville, including sculptor David Alan Clark. We discuss why Lincoln is there in the first place, in a city that seemingly has no connection to the real Lincoln. Or does it?
Then it’s off to Solemn Oath Brewery, where Michael and I sip some brew and discuss his time in Rockford’s New American Theater, his connection to Freeport Lincoln presenter George Buss (see episode 2), and how his budding acting career in Chicago lead him to Lincoln.
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*Sculptor Jeff Adams of Mount Morris, Illinois, created a bust of an older Lincoln laughing, A Lighter Lincoln.
Lincoln Presenter: Michael Krebs
Behind the Beard Location:
Solemn Oath Brewery, Naperville, Ill.
Michael’s TV/Films/Documentary Credits:
C-SPAN Lincoln-Douglas Debates:
Galesburg Debate Re-Enactment (Michael Krebs as Lincoln)
Michael Kreb’s profile (includes several of his Lincoln appearances)
Central Park, Naperville, Ill.
New American Theater, Rockford, Ill. (now the Nordlof Center)
Western Illinois University, Macomb, Ill.
Lincoln-related Sites Mentioned:
Brewster House, Freeport, Ill.
Knox College, Lincoln Studies Center, Galesburg, Ill
Knox College, Old Main, Galesburg, Ill.
Lincoln Group of DC, Washington, D.C.
Lincoln’s Lucky Nose, Springfield, Ill.
President Lincoln’s Cottage, Washington, D.C.
Vandalia State House, Vandalia, Ill.
Abraham Lincoln’s Family and Associates Mentioned:
Mary Lincoln (wife)
Sarah Lincoln (sister)
Sarah Bush Lincoln (step-mother)
Thomas “Tad” Lincoln (son)
William Crook (bodyguard)
William Herndon (law partner, Springfield)
Historical Figures Mentioned:
Other Lincoln Presenters Mentioned:
Lincoln Sources Mentioned:
James Clark (playwright)
Hal Holbrook (actor)
Jeannette Lloyd (theater teacher)
Debra Ann Miller (Mary Lincoln)
Grant Wehrli (state representative)
Douglas L. Wilson (Lincoln scholar)
Lincoln-related Topics Mentioned:
Books on Lincoln’s Humor:
Websites on Lincoln’s Humor: