Who the hell is Elmo Lincoln?

Posted by Brandy Dean February 6, 2013 10 Comments 13515 views

This is a repost of last year’s Elmo Lincoln birthday post. I know so much more about him, thanks especially to @tpjost. I now know exactly who the hell Elmo Lincoln is and I’m here to say, he is awesome. Enjoy!

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!

What do you think of Elmo Lincoln? Let us know in the comments!

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.


What do you think of Elmo Lincoln? Let us know in the comments!

About Brandy Dean

Social media consultant, blogger for hire, and lover of classic movies and silent films.

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There are 10 Comments

  1. whistlingypsy
    - February 6, 2012
      -   Reply

    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.

    • - February 6, 2012
        -   Reply

      Okay, that is an awesome story! And I choose to believe the name is Elmo!

  2. - February 6, 2012
      -   Reply

    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!

    • - February 7, 2012
        -   Reply

      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!

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  5. Linda
    - June 22, 2013
      -   Reply

    Elmo Lincoln’s ashes are at Hollywood Forever in LA–the plaque on his niche says “The First Tarzan.”

  6. Joyce
    - March 31, 2014
      -   Reply

    I’m trying to track down more about the story that the first Tarzan movies were made in Blandford, Massachusetts. Can anyone tell me more?

    • filmbuff
      - July 22, 2014
        -   Reply

      Actually, the first Tarzan movie “Tarzan of the Apes” was filmed in Louisiana, around Morgan City. Gymnasts from the New Orleans Athletic Club were hired to don the ape costumes and the vegetation of the bayou substituted for the jungles of Africa.

  7. Ron
    - July 1, 2014
      -   Reply

    There’s a Trivial Pursuit question, asking what character he was famous for portraying. I remember thinking out loud and saying, “with a name like that, it couldn’t be anything macho like Tarzan.”

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