February 12th, 2009
03:33 PM ET
11 years ago

In Ford’s Theater, Obama invokes forbidden word

 On a trip to Ford’s Theater, site of President Lincoln’s assassination, Obama paid tribute to the 16th president’s ability to recall passages of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth.

On a trip to Ford’s Theater, site of President Lincoln’s assassination, Obama paid tribute to the 16th president’s ability to recall passages of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s a word so fraught with superstition, its very mention can send grown men ducking for cover — and President Obama used it Wednesday night.

Macbeth.

On a trip to Ford’s Theater, site of President Lincoln’s assassination, Obama paid tribute to the 16th president’s ability to recall passages of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth. And with that reference, he unwittingly ventured into what many theater hands believe to be dangerous territory: any mention of the name of the doomed Scottish king in a theater outside of a performance is considered verboten by many actors, who believe it will result in a cursed production — including a greater possibility of injury, bankruptcy, even death.

So does Obama have anything to fear from uttering the unluckiest word in what may be the unluckiest theater in American history? Theater-goers can relax: Many stage afficianados believe that the prohibition only applies to performers or theater hands, and non-actors have nothing to worry about.

But in the near future, the president might want to stick to movies. Just to be on the safe side.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (318 Responses)
  1. Jay Ingraham

    That's the best you could do? How 'bout the many references to "I and my adminstration inherited this economic situation." Mr. Obama and alot of other people forget the he and Joe Biden were in a democratically controlled Congress for the last two years of the Bush Administration....and what did they do to contribute to a solution?

    February 12, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. James Cai

    Good entertainment!! People should just enjoy this rather than stressed about it. CNN can have some humor too, right??

    February 12, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Jon

    I must have fallen asleep for a moment. Did this hard hitting bit of journalism replace the periodic report of the first black president's most recent bathroom adventure? It appears that the entire media industry has turned paporazzi, reporting every utterance of their new pop star.

    Why not some actual news that matters, like how screwed we're going to be after this stimulus garbage is enacted?

    February 12, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. justaguy

    CNN .. the new USA Today...

    February 12, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. Gumdrops

    @ Eyes of Texas are upon you – All these figures prove is this – there are more morons in this country than thinking people. BTW you probably made up the numbers. Everybody I know watches MSNBC and I know a lot of people

    February 12, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. snosilla

    This is not news.

    February 12, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Noble

    Watch your mouth " Kristi" you made this comment-"There has never been a president more of an actor than this jerk. I'd say he better worry. Better watch out for chicken bones too…"
    All i can say is you just an uncultured and untrained person.
    You have no trainging whatsoever, sorry your parents didnt have enough sense to teach you basic common manners.
    Its not too late you can educate yourself and learn to respect authority.
    Thank you.

    February 12, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. jim

    Obama "break a leg."

    February 12, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  9. Hunter

    once again, how in gods name is this even remotely news?

    u just lost me as a reader CNN.. pathetic

    February 12, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. CHANGE.COM

    What's your point, CNN?

    February 12, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. Colton

    Seriously? This is ridiculous....maybe it's time to find a new news source if this is what I can expect on the front page of cnn.com....very disappointing

    February 12, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. Mike

    Go on like this, CNN, and you will end up in the trashcan of history. This is supposed to be reporting? Has anybody at CNN mastered in journalism? Can we expect the next weather report to be based on chicken entrails? Get a grip, people!

    February 12, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. Joanna

    He has a lot of guts doesn't he?

    February 12, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. obama-mama

    JGBNY February 12th, 2009 12:58 pm ET

    I have finally figured this guy (obama) out…

    He is completely INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    _______________________________________________

    I know...Isn't he great... I love it.

    February 12, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  15. Really>

    Really? This is news? Maybe if this was this "Random Anecdote Network" this could be relevant, but I'm pretty sure this isn't front-page worthy material...

    February 12, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. obama-mama

    Boo!

    February 12, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. Sean Breeden

    I'm glad we have a president that is not superstitious. Welcome to the 21st century!!

    February 12, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. Interested in MO

    @Greg, San Francisco, CA

    The article made me chuckle, but your response made me laugh!! Great reply. Thanks!

    February 12, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. jjr

    I am such an idiot, I keep reading these ridiculous articles, thinking that there is actually going to be some news in them. When are the news organizations other than WSJ going to actually start critiquing Obama instead of fawning all over him.

    February 12, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. Mark

    "There has never been a president more of an actor than this jerk. I'd say he better worry." Kristi, takes a jerk to know one. You should stick with your basket weaving and please head for the activities room on floor 3, they have some marbles there, sounds like you lost a few.

    February 12, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. Gerry In Toronto

    Slow news day huh? Just to set the record striahgt, the McBeth curse theory was debunked about 10 years ago in England, so you might want to get yor facts straight-this is not a story.

    February 12, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. Chess

    Fox + CNN = FOCN Who cares!!

    February 12, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. Paul H

    I just wasted three minutes of my life reading this small blog like story, and another minute with this comment.
    PLEASE stick to the news.

    February 12, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  24. Jon

    OH SHUT UP! HOW IS THIS NEWS?

    February 12, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. Ryan

    it has seemed to me from the beginning of Obama's campaign, the public and the media continue to foreshadow a possible assassination or death of the president. it's just weird, like we are being prepped for the inevitable. i hope that's not the case; but bush, clinton, bush sr, did not receive the same treatment. i suppose all of the lincoln and kennedy parallels, along with him being the first non-pure white President can give way to that kind of mindset. i just hope that does not lead to some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.

    February 12, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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