"Lincoln" movie newswire story with Lincoln tourism officials makes Jay Leno show
December 7, 2012, Paul Gleason and Geoff Ladd of the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County, based in Lincoln, Illinois, were part of a Jay Leno Headlines segment on Monday’s “Tonight Show” late night program on NBC.
Paul Gleason and reporter Tony Reid
The article, with a photo of the officials (Gleason is Chairman and Ladd is Executive Director of the organization), was written by Decatur Herald reporter Tony Reid recently, and was picked up by the AP newswire because of the publicity surrounding the Spielberg movie, “Lincoln”.
“Though the movie is referenced in the article, the story is actually about Lincoln’s connection to Lincoln, Illinois and how he christened the town with the juice of a watermelon in 1853,” said Geoff Ladd of the local tourism bureau. Ladd surmised that the ambiguous headline and admittedly less-than-flattering but very funny photo selected for the article were the factors that allowed for it to be chosen for the segment.
“Everyone who knows Paul and I will tell you we both have a great sense of humor, and so we’ll take the publicity hands-down – this is great – this is the advertising for our community, our state and our Lincoln story that we cannot buy. Paul & I would like to follow-up by visiting Jay Leno on his show to explain the back story,” said Ladd. “At first I cringed when the story came out with that photo in the Decatur Herald. The photographer took probably 50-100 photos, and how they ended up using that one was beyond me, but now I am grateful.” The story was picked up by newswire services and soon appeared in several newspapers across the country.
Lincoln, Illinois also drew quite a bit of media attention with their opening night event for the "Lincoln" movie, which debuted at the newly remodeled and upgraded, but still historic Lincoln Theater in downtown Lincoln, IL on November 16th. Movie-goers were greeted by professional Lincoln interpreters, Chris Hotz and Deborah Senger (as Abe & Mary) of Timeless Presentations, a Bloomington, IL based company.
The Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County handed out their brand new combination rack card/free postcard, featuring the World’s Largest Covered Wagon with Abe Lincoln at the helm. The wagon, which functions as an Abraham Lincoln and Route 66 attraction, was donated to the historic city by local philanthropist, Larry Van Bibber.
The original article and Jay Leno segment can be viewed at the tourism bureau website at