If an historical figure appears as a guest character in several TV series, but has been recast with every appearance, the priority is to keep as many of those shows together in the same universe, preferably in Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld.
The easiest way to do this is to accept the physical differences as being due to perspective. What we see as the Trueniverse audience would be the point of view of a particular character within that show. Take for example, President/General Ulysses S. Grant. He has been a member of the Television Crossover Hall of Fame since November, 2020, but that is not based on just one actor playing Grant. His membership for Earth Prime-Time was based on appearances in such series as ‘Cheyenne’, ‘The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin’, and ‘The Wild, Wild West.’ Each of them had a different actor playing Grant, but to keep them together in the same dimension, we have to accept that that’s how he looked to Cheyenne Bodie, Corporal Rusty, and Secret Service agents James West and Artemus Gordon, respectively. That holds true for the other shows – ‘Grizzly Adams’, ‘Black Saddle’, ‘Wagon Train’, ‘Branded’, ‘Hell on Wheels’, and ‘Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman’.
But when the historical character appears in stand-alone mini-series and TV movies, each of those get shunted off to their own TV dimension. The only time those TV movies can share the same Toobworld is if that historical character is played by the same actor.
When it then comes to the other historical figures in those connected TV movies and/or mini-series being played by different actors, that’s when we call on the P.O.V. option. That way we are seeing those characters from somebody else’s perspective, not from the perspective of that one common historical figure. After all, he or she should have been seeing them all from the same point of view.
I bring that all up because of our “newest” member into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame. I used quotation marks around “newest” because the historical figure involved is already a member of the TVXOHOF, but for Earth Prime-Time. This time we’re inducting his doppelganger from another TV dimension, one shared by four mini-series....
This incarnation of Lincoln, who is the linchpin for this dimension, was played by the late Hal Holbrook. The actor died just over a year ago and so we’re honoring his memory with this memorial induction ceremony for his portrayal of our sixteenth President.
Holbrook played Honest Abe in three TV mini-series:
(aka SANDBURG’S LINCOLN)
Sandburg's Lincoln scholarship, primarily in these volumes, had an enormous impact on the popular view of Lincoln. The books were adapted by Robert Sherwood for his Pulitzer Prize-winning play Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1938) and David Wolper's six-part dramatization for television, Sandburg's Lincoln (1974).
Hal Holbrook also played President Abraham Lincoln in ‘North & South: Books 1 and 2.
- Episode #1.6 (1985)
O’Bservation – For the first five episodes in this mini-series, Holbrook received credit, but did not appear.
North & South: Book 2, Love & War’]
O’Bservation – Holbrook was credited with six episodes, but did not appear in the fifth one.
- Abraham Lincoln is elected president; several Southern states make plans to secede from the U.S. and establish themselves as a separate nation.
- Billy joins the U.S. Sharpshooters regiment, while George becomes a military aide to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.
- President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation frees the slaves in the rebel Southern states.
- George learns that Orry is wounded and searches for him, finally finding him in a Union hospital. Their reunion is spoiled when both learn that President Lincoln has been shot.
[‘North & South, Book 3: Heaven & Hell’]
O’Bviously it belongs with the first two mini-series in the franchise, even though Lincoln, and thus Hal Holbrook, was no longer involved in the adaptation of John Jakes’ books. (This TV dimension may end up including three other mini-series – ‘The Bastard’, ‘The Rebels’, and ‘The Seekers’. All of those were part of the grand design in books by John Jakes.)
Lincoln is not the only historical, real-world figure who is in the TVXOHOF more than once. Santa Claus is the other. Charles Durning is the main physical form of Santa in the main Toobworld, while in the Evil Toobworld, the jolly old elf looks like Art Carney.
If you’ve got a problem with what I just said, you keep your nog-hole shut!
Here’s to President Abraham Lincoln and to Hal Holbrook. Welcome back, both of you, to the Television Crossover Hall of Fame!