Good or bad, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter is undoubtedly the strangest blockbuster to grace our theater screens this summer. But it’s not the only time the Great Emancipator has ventured into the realm of the odd. Here are five pop culture moments that make unique use of our 16th President.
Savior of the future or victim of teenage dipshitism at its finest? That's the fate of Lincoln and a number of history's other notable figures when Bill and Ted (Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves) need help passing their history test. Brought to present day (for 1989 at least) San Dimas, Honest Abe actually has little to do beyond pose for photos and evade the mall cops. He does stick the dismount on the boys’ history presentation however, allowing them to pass and thus preserving the future for bodacious air guitaring.
The short-lived animated series Clone High featured Honest Abe as its chief hero... or rather, a teenage clone of Abe going to a high school run by sinister government agents. His height and overall geekiness make it difficult to hook up with girls... especially Cleopatra, who hangs out with the uber-popular JFK and generally craps all over everyone else. Oh Abe, why don't you ever notice the smart, spunky Joan of Arc who definitely wants to emancipate your proclamation if you know what I mean? Yeah, it gets funky.
Lincoln makes three appearances in the perennially oddball cartoon series. His cryogentically preserved head appears in New New York's Head Museum -- curiously devoid of the bullet wound that presumably put him there in the first place. The show also featured an Abraham Lincoln robot: "born in 200 log cabins" and currently residing at the HAL Institute for Criminally Insane Robots. What got him there is a mystery, though we assume that a malfunctioning Disneyland ride is behind it all. Finally, an evil holographic Lincoln appears -- along with Attila the Hun, Professor Moriarty and Jack the Ripper -- to threaten the Planet Express crew. Clearly, he was a wellspring of humorous potential.
God bless this show. They knew how to take absurd notions and push them to wonderfully ridiculous extremes. The final episode put the cherry on the sundae, as Batman travelled back in time to thwart Lincoln’s assassination at the hands of a steampunk cyborg John Wilkes Booth. Honest Abe joined up with the Dark Knight to kick some Confederate ass. It was almost a shame the show ended on that episode; Batman could have brought Lincoln back to help him “emancipate” the streets of Gotham.
The top of our list is a good one: the Star Trek episode "The Savage Curtain" which sees Lincoln and Vulcan philosopher Surak joining Kirk and Spock in a battle against the assembled forces of galactic evil. Abe more than holds his own in the fight, until those dastardly bad guys get the drop on him. He dies trying to save Surak from death, and the villains' imitation of his voice -- "help me Spock!" -- has become a tagline of the series. Sure, he was only an alien construct assembled from sentient minerals and the prepubescent hero worship lodged in Kirk's mind, but nobody could take a spear in the back like him.