I continue my study of the Geek Classics…
The traditional Holiday Season in America encompasses the period from the secular Thanksgiving
holiday through the celebration of the New Year.
The period in between is celebrated by many groups, with many different religious, secular and cultural
Christians celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. Hand-in-hand with the religious holiday, the
Christmas holiday has also grown to be a widely observed secular festival. Although there is no evidence
that the Birth of Jesus occurred at this time of year, the leaders of the early Church chose this time to
celebrate, to take advantage of the Pagan celebrations already occurring at this season.
Jews celebrate Chanukah, another religious holiday which falls during this same period.
The group of naturalistic religions loosely referred to as Paganism celebrates the Winter Solstice, an
astronomical event which occurs at this time. This celebration pre-dates Christmas by centuries.
There are other cultural and religious celebrations that take place during this time that I will not list or
discuss, because I don’t know enough about them. I do, however, wish those who celebrate them a joyful
season as well.
I have chosen NOT to limit my wishes for a Happy Holiday season to any one of these groups. If anyone
is offended because I have chosen to be inclusive, rather than to exclude anyone, that offense was not my
Please accept my wish for a Happy Holiday Season in the spirit it is meant.
Peace on Earth, Good Will toward Men.
The Todd Robbins Sideshow Workshop at Denny and Lee’s was electrifying! Fire Eating! Human Blockhead! Walking on broken Glass! I can’t wait for the chance to add this stuff to my festival show!
At the age of 12, my mind was permanently bent by the 10-in-1 on the James E. Strates Shows Midway at the Chautauqua County Fair.
I saw the Human Blockhead act performed by the great Melvin Burkhardt, who was a close friend and mentor to Todd for many years.
I can’t begin to express my gratitude, for being allowed to grab the tail of History.
Thanks again, Todd!
Johnny Eck was a true original. Born with a condition called Sacral agenesis, giving him the appearance of being missing the lower half of his body, Johnny became an accomplished acrobat, sideshow performer, actor and artist. The medium he worked in most was paint, and he became well known for a form unique to his native Baltimore, a form known as screen painting. Eck never let his condition become a disability. He was always known to meet the world with his dazzling smile. You can learn more about Johnny at http://www.johnnyeckmuseum.com/
Melvin Burkhart performs his claim to fame, the act he invented, now copied by sideshow performers the world over, the Human Blockhead!
Melvin Burkhart, in his last performance, at Todd and Krista Robbins’ wedding. Mr. Burkhart was 94 at the time.
This is Part 1, Melvin is just warming up! Be sure to watch Part 2 for the act that made him famous around the world, and which he performed for over 70 years!