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The novel Abe Lincoln: Public Enemy No. 1 began life as an Emerson College film over forty years ago. Bill Walker and I have been friends and writing partners since we first met in 1974, and one of the earliest films we collaborated on was, you guessed it, Abe Lincoln: Public Enemy No. 1.

The 16mm black-and-white short was a one-joke film, but an elaborate one: Abe Lincoln goes on a bank-robbing spree in the American Midwest in the 1930s, and is eventually hunted down and killed by Bureau of investigation agent Melvin Purvis.

The film was shot on April 4, 1976. I played Lincoln wearing a bad crepe-hair beard, and felt like a bit of an idiot. The cast included Rebecca Antico as Mary Lincoln, Marnie Getchell as the bank clerk, Eddie Gorodetsky as Baby-Face Nelson and Harold Brittingham as the farmer. Bill and Bob Noll comprised the crew.

In the sequence we completed that day, Lincoln and his gang hold up a small rural bank. A building on Brimmer Street in Boston's Back Bay doubled unconvincingly for a bank in Kansas. The final sequence where Lincoln is gunned down in front of a theatre in Chicago was planned but never filmed.

Over a four-year period, Bill and I shot about forty films, Including one other Lincoln movie. The edited footage from Abe Lincoln: Public Enemy No. 1 was packed up and forgotten.

Thirty-six years later Bill asked if I still had the film footage, which I located in a trunk in my garage. As we reminisced about the project, Bill got the notion to adapt our short film into a novel.

For the record, I should mention that two other Lincoln films were planned: Abe Lincoln at Hiroshima and our zombie epic: Dawn of the Prez. Both were scripted and storyboarded but, alas, never filmed. But who knows? Someday we may adapt them into books!