Saturday, October 8, 2011

Montgomery Blair Coming to a Screen Near You?

Recently a research company working on Steven Spielberg's $100M motion picture Lincoln, to be released December 2012, contacted me. They are looking for an image of Montgomery Blair's "crest," a heraldic design that I've never come across.

If it ever existed, perhaps it looked something like these...

Blair family crest courtesy of

Montgomery Blair High School crest
courtesy Laurie DeWitt⁄The Gazette

The question that begs to be asked though is does this mean that Blair, Lincoln's postmaster general from 1861-1864, will be in the film that is based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin's 2005 biography Team of Rivals: the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln?  Montgomery is well represented in the book along with his father and brother, Frances (senior and junior), mother Eliza, brother James, and sister Elizabeth.

To my knowledge the last depiction of Montgomery least on the small screen...was in 1955 when Mack Williams (I know, who?) played him in Lincoln's Doctor's Dog, an episode written by William R. Cox and Christopher Morley that was part of the short-lived television anthology series Screen Directors Playhouse.  Although Mack Williams did not have a single line of dialogue, he was a spiting image of Blair so some casting agent did their job well.

Montgomery Blair courtesy of
The Gilder Lehrman Collection, New York
Reference Number: GLC 5111.07

Who do you think Spielberg should cast as Montgomery Blair?


Remembering that I had been in email contact with a few Blair descendants over the years, I checked my emails and lo and behold found THE Blair family crest:


Let's hope that Montgomery Blair doesn't wind up on the cutting room floor!


Blair certainly has not wound up on the cutting room floor as he is being played by 86 year old Hal Holbrook.  I hope Spielberg uses CGI on Holbrook's face as Blair was in his late 40s/early 50s during the years he was Lincoln's postmaster general (1861-64)!