February 12th, 2009
03:33 PM ET
12 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. Larry wi

    How can this moron be so fricking uninformed! He does not represent anyone of intelligence!!

    February 12, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. yuri

    Wow! What a diverse set of views about this tidbit! A great leader's desciple and follower, Obama pays glowing tribute to the Legend that united the country and by this, he fondly hopes to emulate Abe's example. Whether it is headline-worthy or not should not be an issue or even a bone of contention. At this humbling junture, let's all unite and fight the common foe-the economic woe.

    February 12, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    This actually counts as news? Pathetic

    February 12, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. Crazy Cat Lady

    To Mike at 12:21: Well put.

    February 12, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Craig Armstrong

    This is an irresponsible story, just aimed at "stirring the pot". Whoever is responsible should be ashamed.

    February 12, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. TJ, TACOMA

    Superstition is a bit like religion. If people are silly enough to beleive in fictional characters such as "Santa Claus" and "God", why wouldn't they believe that this guy is doomed for saying the word "Macbeth". I gotta agree with Ok, CNN, this is far from newsworthy. And if something does happen to our beloved Barack Hussein, all these wack jobs will surely blame it on this stupid reference.

    February 12, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. lightheaded22

    Shy is it that you can say tnything and every word that President Obama utters is translated in to something he did not say. If he felt like referencing Macbeth in his comments, he should have been able to do so without your silly column.

    February 12, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. Film Professor

    What? That's one of the stupidest things I have ever heard.

    I've been around film and theater for a long, long time, and this is the first I have ever heard of this particular superstition.

    February 12, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. Daniel

    It takes a lot more than being the first african american president to be a good president and sooner than later all the cluesless people who voted for him for that reason will find that out the hard way.

    February 12, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. herb

    I think he doing what ever is his power too make this country what is was ,or what it can be .if you have good ideas write too him he does care, that will make a fine president. at the least he gives a s=-t.

    February 12, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Carmen

    Really? I mean REALLY? This is news to WHO?? Honestly, when I read stupid crap like this, it makes me seriously doubt our news people, and I love CNN. Slow news day?? Tell us something that matters to MOST of us..not some stupid word "uttered" in a theater...

    February 12, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. TCM

    hey, it wasn't Obamnuts fault....he's merely a parrot for Pelosi, Reid, and whoever is printing the text on the teleprompter...uhhh....

    February 12, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. charlie

    Cute headline but where is the story? I was afraid he had said "Mission Accomplished" on the economy or some other non-sense. Would have been dab for Reagan or Fred Tompsn or teh Governator. But Obabma is a community organizer, He is used to people down on their luck (and its not from MacBeth)Can't resist the temptation to sate that we were so un-lucky as a nation during the Bush years.

    February 12, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. Pamela

    This article is stupid. Find another way to get your kicks. Get back to work.

    February 12, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. Larry

    "JA/TN February 12th, 2009 12:04 pm ET

    the only thing President Obama has to fear is sabotage from the GOP"

    Please explain how the party in minority can sabotage the party in majority? Dem's have the White House, the House and the Senate.

    You don't need the minority to agree with you. Just ask Obama, he was crystal clear on the topic.

    Of course, if you fail without their support, it's all on you.

    February 12, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. JoeyGuns

    Was this really worth reporting on? Even front page worthy? Lets leave the theater related superstitions for Fox news.

    February 12, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. 30m-Democrat-voted Clinton then McCain

    What kind of article is this? So silly.

    February 12, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. Track Enfield

    this is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing-

    lighten up, angry bloggers. it's not that serious

    February 12, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Jim

    What did he say......Voldemort?

    February 12, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Kyle Vezeau

    This may just be the furthest thing from news posted today. I think this belongs on the Onion, except this was'nt funny.

    February 12, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Hannah Stevens

    I agree with JA/TN. "the only thing President Obama has to fear is sabotage from the GOP" The GOP is now saying that the stimulus will not work and they are going to ry make sure it doesn't/ The GOP is against America. Continue to vote them out next term they are bad for our country.

    February 12, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. Norman

    Where the hell is John Wilkes Booth when we REALLY need him?

    February 12, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. elleestmal

    Finally someone covered this! I've been waiting for like ever to read this! Wow, what nonsense CNN. Cover some real news-not this foolishness or Palin!

    February 12, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. John G

    Roy, we'll SAY stimulus when we SEE stimulus. Right now all I see is out of control spending...

    February 12, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

    C'mon CNN this is so stupid and to waste precious broadband in publishing this is sickening. It seems like you are reaching so hard to find something (anything) negative with our POTUS. Give it a break and be part of the solution!!

    February 12, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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