To Orwell Today,

Dear Ms. Jura:

I was reading your web site, regarding the Lincoln/Kennedy coincidences and found another. In MGM's 1951 movie The Tall Target, about a police officer's suspicion of an assassination plot toward newly elected President Lincoln, the officer, played by Dick Powell, is named John Kennedy.

Michael Schuyler

Greetings Michael,

Thank you very much for sending that coincidence. I had never heard of that movie and just now did a search to see if it's still available and found a review:

Internet Movie Data Base

"The Tall Target," about a plot to kill Lincoln before his inauguration, is a compact little film directed by Anthony Mann and starring Dick Powell, Adolphe Menjou, Marshall Thompson, and Ruby Dee. Powell plays John Kennedy, a detective and admirer of the future President who finds out about an assassination plot and hopes to stop it, although his written report seems to fall on blind eyes. On board a train, Kennedy finds the person he was to meet is dead, someone is impersonating him, and, from all the political talk, there are lots of suspects who hate Lincoln as the country gets ready for war.

Most of the action takes place on the train and the atmosphere and black and white cinematography neatly capture the period. The performances are all excellent, including that of Will Geer as the train conductor and Ruby Dee as a young slave whose mistress' brother (Thompson) is a prime suspect in the assassination plot. Twenty years earlier, Dick Powell was a boy tenor playing male ingénues opposite Ruby Keeler; in the '40s, he turned to tough detective type roles, and ultimately became a highly successful producer. He's very good in "The Tall Target" but a little too modern in manner and dialogue delivery. It's somewhat noticeable because the period is captured very well by the other actors.

This is a very good movie with a neat ending and based on a true incident. There was, by the way, a John Kennedy who was a former law enforcement officer who served in the Lincoln administration. Whether he was involved in this situation, I don't know. It's a wonderful story nonetheless. [end quoting]

It is amazingly coincidental that a movie written 10 years before John Kennedy was President, and subsequently assassinated, has a hero of that same name and admires Lincoln (as did the real life John Kennedy whose own funeral was modelled on Lincoln's) and attempts to prevent his assassination. See LINCOLN DREAMS JFK FUNERAL

In my reading of Lincoln biographies, I've come across a John Kennedy who was the Superintendent of the New York police department during Lincoln's time as President, and who travelled with president-elect Lincoln on the train journey to Washington, to protect him from threats on his life uncovered by Pinkerton's Detective Agency. Carl Sandburg wrote about it in his 1926 biography of Lincoln entitled THE PRAIRIE YEARS. Perhaps that real-life John Kennedy was the model for the 1951 movie of a similar character (ie a detective looking for assassins on the train).

Another coincidence I noticed in THE TALL TARGET, now that you've drawn my attention to that movie, is that the name of one of the actors is Will GEER which is almost identical to WILL GREER  which is the name of the Secret Service agent driving the Lincoln that day JFK was assassinated in 1963.

I noticed as well, by looking at Will GEER's filmography, that he also had a role in the 1973 movie EXECUTIVE ACTION which portrayed a conspiracy in the JFK assassination. See JFK EXECUTIVE ACTION & EXECUTIVE ACTION FILM DEBUT

And to stretch the coincidences a bit, I notice the name of another of the actors is RUBY Dee, the same name (partially) as the infamous Jack RUBY (short for Jacob Rubenstein) who shot innocent patsy Oswald who was accused of killing President John Kennedy.

Thanks again for sending your Kennedy/Lincoln coincidence, which I'll add to the list.

All the best,
Jackie Jura


Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~