The Great Man's Whiskers

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The Great Man's Whiskers
Written by John Paxton
Directed by Philip Leacock
Starring Dean Jones
Ann Sothern
Dennis Weaver
John McGiver
Music by Earl Robinson
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Producer Adrian Scott
CinematographyJohn F. Warren
EditorJohn Elias
Running time74 minutes
Production company Universal Television
Original networkNBC
Picture formatColor
Audio format Mono
Original releaseMay 2, 1972 (1972-05-02)

The Great Man's Whiskers is a 1972 American made-for-television drama film about Abraham Lincoln, directed by Philip Leacock. It was based on a play by Adrian Scott. The film featured a number of well known theatre and television character actors. Harve Presnell, featured as a ballad singer in the film, sings "The Wilderness Man" written by Earl Robinson with lyrics by Yip Harburg. Isabel Sanford sings "Things Go Bump in the Night" also written by Robinson and Harburg. [1] This was Mr. Harburg’s last work. [2]



A ten-year-old girl (Elizabeth Cooper) encourages Abraham Lincoln to grow a beard. Lincoln’s inaugural journey, by train, from Illinois to Washington, D.C. takes him through New York state. The journey includes a stop in the girl’s hometown of Westfield, New York. Lincoln, now with a full beard, takes the opportunity to meet the young girl.

The screenplay was inspired by the true story of Grace Bedell, who wrote Lincoln just before his election to the presidency in 1860.



In 1947, it was announced Adrian Scott would make his directorial debut with an adaptation of the play. John Paxton would produce. [3] However, RKO fired Scott because of the blacklist. [4] For a time, it seemed RKO would still complete the project but the studio eventually dropped it. [5]

The screenplay by John Paxton was eventually directed by Philip Leacock at Universal City Studios in 1969. [6] The film aired on NBC as a “TV Movie of the Week” on May 2, 1972 and was rebroadcast on February 13, 1973. [7]

The Los Angeles Times called it "foolish and belaboured." [8]

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  1. "Great Man's Whiskers "The Wilderness Man"". Archives of Earl Robinson. 70/1, 4240-008: Archives West.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  2. "Yip Harburg Biography" . Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  3. Brady, Thomas F. (September 2, 1947). "Scott will direct own film at RKO". The New York Times.
  4. Pryor, Thomas M. (July 21, 1948). "Cowboy Groomed for Film Stardom". The New York Times.
  5. Brady, Thomas F. (February 18, 1948). "Gottleib to make two new movies". The New York Times.
  6. Browning, Norma Lee (August 20, 1969). "Hollywood Today: Set Hopping" . Chicago Tribune . Retrieved March 17, 2023.
  7. "Robert Adrian Scott, One of Hollywood's 'Unfriendly 10', Dies" (December 26, 1972). Los Angeles Times.
  8. Murphy, Mary (February 13, 1973). "Chester Forgotten". Los Angeles Times.