The Lincoln Conspiracy


Kino Lorber;
$24.95 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘G.’
Stars Robert Middleton, John Dehner, Bradford Dillman, Ted Henning, John Anderson.

It’s practically an American institution at this point that anything involving the president of the United States could be linked to some sort of conspiracy theory. But it’s when an assassination is involved that the creative gloves really come off.

The preeminent example of this is of course the death of John F. Kennedy. But with all the parallels people like to draw between Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln, it’s not surprising that there’d be a fair amount of conspiracy theories about Lincoln’s death, too.

Released in 1977, The Lincoln Conspiracy is a sort of proto-JFK in that it ropes in a number of Lincoln’s contemporaries into a whopper of a plot by his own government to rid themselves of him so he can’t stand in the way of their plans for the Confederate states after the Civil War.

The story, adapted from a historically dubious book of the same name released the same year, contends that Union spies became aware of plans by a group led by noted actor and Confederate supporter John Wilkes Booth (Bradford Dillman) to kidnap Lincoln (John Anderson) and hold him for ransom in exchange for Southern independence. While Booth’s kidnapping scheme is historically accurate, the movie contends that Secretary of War Edwin Stanton (Robert Middleton) endorsed the plan as a way to prevent Lincoln from implementing his reconstruction plans, which were considered too lenient by Stanton and his allies.

When a frustrated Booth decides to shoot Lincoln instead, Stanton’s group is sent into a panic over being connected to the act, and take steps to censor Booth’s diary. They quickly arrest Booth’s friends, try them and execute them.

Booth, meanwhile, is hunted by the Army and shot, though the conspiracy theory maintains a decoy was killed instead while the real Booth escaped to Canada.

Director James L. Conway, best known now for directing numerous episodes from various “Star Trek” series, presents the material in a very straightforward way. There’s even a narrator to make it feel more like a documentary re-creation of events.

It’s a fun bit of historical speculation that hopefully inspires anyone who sees it to look deeper into the subject matter. But it’s no more or less credible than something like National Treasure: Book of Secrets, which also ties Lincoln’s assassination into a conspiracy theory that relies on missing pages in Booth’s diary (the subterfuge in that case involving buried treasure, not political maneuvering).

The new Kino Lorber Blu-ray includes an audio commentary by director James L. Conway and film historian Howard S. Berger, who have a fairly detailed conversation about the making of the film.

Trans World Entertainment Promotes Edwin Sapienza to CFO

Trans World Entertainment Corp., parent of the F.Y.E. home entertainment retail chain, disclosed in an Oct. 29 regulatory filing the promotion of veteran executive Edwin Sapienza to the vacant CFO position following Oct. 10 passing of John Anderson.

Sapienza, 48, has been secretary and treasurer at TWEC since 2012 – positions he will continue going forward. He joined TWEC as a staff accountant in 1993.

In addition to a base salary of $280,000, Sapienza received stock options to purchase 50,000 shares of common stock, in addition to 20,000 shares of restricted stock.

Trans World Entertainment CFO John Anderson Dies

Trans World Entertainment Corp., parent of home entertainment retailer f.y.e. and ecommerce platform, Oct. 15 announced the unexpected Oct. 10 passing of CFO John Anderson. He was 49. Cause of death was not disclosed.

During a 23-year career at TWEC, Anderson served as CFO for the past six years.

“The entire team at Trans World and I are deeply saddened and shocked by the passing of John Anderson,” CEO Mike Feurer said in a statement. “John was greatly admired and respected by those fortunate enough to have worked closely with him. His life touched and had a very positive impact on everyone who knew him.”

Anderson is survived by his wife, Denise (Coffin) Anderson, two children, his parents and siblings, among others.