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. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    Our destiny lies neither in our stars nor in some superstition, but in our character. Let us think noble thoughts, ponder honorable deeds and teach others the same.

    February 12, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. Kristi

    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...

    February 12, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. janet

    well he wants to be like Lincoln,

    February 12, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. mtanne

    The curse happened a few years ago when Disney took over Broadway. Please don't mention lions, Shrek, Mary Poppins or mermaids in a theatre... ooops, too late.

    February 12, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. Butch Dillon

    Sounds every bit as reasonable as the nonsense that religious morons believe.

    February 12, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Mitchell from MS

    BO SUCKS POINT BLANK PERIOD!!!!!!

    February 12, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. Bob in Pa

    How about listing a line item summary of the stimulus bill here instead of this dribble.

    February 12, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. Scott

    Come on... How is this news?

    February 12, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. fella from Chicago

    Obama's failed policies will be his Macbeth.

    February 12, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. Kim

    To Eyes of Texas are Upon You: Did you get those stats from Bill-O the Clown?

    February 12, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Bindiqi

    This has GOT to be Bush's fault somehow!

    February 12, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. bob

    You can tell President Obama believes in God because he does not believe in this nonsense.

    February 12, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. billy-bayou

    @DCMixmstr:

    Stevie Wonder once sang "if you believe in things you don't understand, then you'll suffer"

    all those poor fools that blindly voted for the obama with no understand of what he is....SUFFER the consequences of your stupidity.

    February 12, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. Ofelia Filanc

    Are we in the 21st Century? If so, then why such 16th century superstition? I love our president....but, gees, there are other worthy news besides Obama!

    February 12, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  15. Paul

    Seeing the headline worried me that he might have made a gaffe that would be considered contentious by a group or nation... thanks for keeping me up to date on real news cnn.

    February 12, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. Mark in PDX

    "David in Indiana, god IS superstition."

    Absolutely. I have to chuckle when someone thinks there's a substantive difference between god stuff and legendary curse stuff.

    February 12, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Jack O'Connor

    this is stupid.

    February 12, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. Chitown Jason

    What a waste of article space.

    February 12, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. Bud in NC

    Oh my gosh- the Mac...Mac..MacBeth curse. Horrors. The people who do not think this curse is true are probably the same people who do not accept the fact that we have a flat earth, that the sun goes around the earth which was created in 6 24 hour days, exactly 6438 years ago. My friends, if you do not accept these revealed truths, your souls are in grave danger. I will pray for you.

    February 12, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. herb

    hey report this GE and micosoft lay off 1000's now china and india have have more jobs.news worth reporting.

    February 12, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Danny

    Another example of the retardedness of actors,playwrights,Hollywood,Broadway and liberal weenies in general

    @ Mick in Mesa:I'm a conservative who doesn't believe in stuff like this so piss off

    February 12, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Julia Byrd- Hayden Idaho

    To Eyes of Texas, this just proves there are more right wing lunatics out there than there are sane people. Wow, we all better run for cover.

    February 12, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  23. Wally

    Maybe it has already been said, but as great of a president as Abraham Lincoln was, he was not anti-slavery. He was just trying to preserve the Union. I'm a big fan of Lincoln, but I don't worship him in the same way I don't worship Obama. People become romanticized over the years.

    February 12, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  24. Ken in Dallas

    Guuz, you guys are mostly a bunch of illiterates. The theatre superstition about the "M" word is much more serious than mere profanity, and it's been around longer than the US. It is Lincoln's birthday, after all, and I'd bet most of you didn't even know Lincoln liked Shakespeare.

    Wake up and get some culture. You guys are why the rest of the world thinks all Americans are boorish buffoons.

    February 12, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  25. Jeremiah Frost

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

    Can't believe they said this, but it made me laugh.
    Very interesting story actually. Hah.

    February 12, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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