Who the hell is Elmo Lincoln?


I only ask because my totally awesome Silent Film calendar informs me that today is Elmo Lincoln’s birthday. Elmo Lincoln is a completely awesome name, but that’s all I’ve got. To the interwebs!

Before you go thinking Elmo Lincoln’s mom was a totally hip chick who looked at her baby and said, “I’m going to name him Elmo!”, you should know that his actual name was Otto Elmo Linkenhelt. That’s a perfectly serviceable name, but not Elmo Lincoln level cool. Beyond that, you should know that Elmo is best know as the silent Tarzan, his first lead role being 1918’s Tarzan of the Apes. Other than that Elmo was mostly an extra in little films like Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, and so on. Even still, Elmo appeared as Tarzan a bunch of times, including some talkie Tarzans, and he got himself a star on Hollywood’s walk of fame. See:

Elmo-Lincoln-Hollywood Walk of Fame-Star:

The thing I love most about Elmo right now is a sentence from his Wiki entry: “Following the end of the silent movie era, Elmo left Hollywood and tried his hand at mining.” When you read about minor players of the silent era, you often stumble across biographical side notes like that one. I mean, the chances of ever reading, “After Philip Seymour Hoffman left Hollywood, he tried his hand at fracking,” are pretty slim.

So for being Tarzan, getting a Hollywood star, and trying his hand at mining, I salute Elmo Lincoln on his birthday.

Thanks to the magic of YouTube and the interwebs, Elmo Lincoln lives today on your screen in Tarzan of the Apes from 1918.

About prettycleverfilmgal

Social media consultant, blogger for hire, and lover of classic movies and silent films. I often watch, consider, and write about movies when I should really be doing other things.

Posted on February 6, 2012, in Genre, Silent Film and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Funny you should mention Elmo Lincoln; I’ve grown up hearing his name in a bit of family mythology. The story is my great (or great, great?) grandmother is rumored to have had a huge crush on the man, and made one of her sons a living legacy of a silent film actor. The name stuck and my father carries the connection by being a Jr. version (clever how I worked the reference without giving away the name). Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln, you’ll always be so much more than Tarzan in my family.

  2. Now I can go to bed — I know who Elmo Lincoln is! I wonder how he fared with the mining gig. I loved your post!

    • It is my sworn duty to help silent and classic movie fans rest easy at night knowing someone out there is keeping an eye on the minutia.

      Sadly the world’s ultimate source of info, Wikipedia, was thin on the details of Elmo’s mining efforts. Though piecing together the timeline, he seems to have returned to acting so I guess mining did not pay as well or was a lot a harder, or both!

  1. Pingback: Tarzan of the Apes (1918) « Pretty Clever Films

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