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Gettysburg shop yanks bobblehead doll of John Wilkes Booth

March 14, 2012|By Richard Fausset
  • A John Wilkes Booth bobblehead doll is for sale alongside an Abraham Lincoln doll at the Gettysburg National Military Park bookstore earlier this month in Gettysburg, Pa.
A John Wilkes Booth bobblehead doll is for sale alongside an Abraham Lincoln… (Shane Dunlap / [Hanover,…)

Reporting from Atlanta — Over at the Gettysburg National Military Park bookstore in Pennsylvania, they've decided that maybe it's not such a great idea to sell a bobblehead of John Wilkes Booth, the notorious Confederate sympathizer and assassin of President Abraham Lincoln.

The Associated Press reports that the dolls were on sale for about a week, then pulled from the shelf after the park superintendent and other officials determined that a bobblehead of a guy who murdered one of the nation's most revered public figures was sort of inappropriate.

"On rare occasions, there's an item that might cause concern, and obviously the bobbleheads appeared to be doing that," said Dru Anne Neil, a spokeswoman for the Gettysburg Foundation, in an interview with the wire service Tuesday.

If the doll weren't brandishing a pistol -- and standing on a pedestal featuring his name -- it would be difficult for all but the most passionate Civil War buff to identify the thing as a likeness of Booth: With its unkempt coif and droopy, vintage mustache, the doll could just as well be some guy in Brooklyn who graduated from a second-tier indie rock band and now makes artisanal salumi.

Still, it managed to rankle. BobbleGate appears to have been sparked by a March 10 report in the Evening Sun newspaper of Hanover, Pa. Reporter Tim Prudente interviewed Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer, who opined that the doll must have been the brainchild of "an awfully sick marketing person."

An employee for the manufacturer of the doll, BobbleHead LLC, told Prudente that it was meant to be a "gag gift." The company Wednesday continued to offer the "JOHN WILKES BOOTH Lincoln Assasination [sic] Bobblehead Doll" for $19.95 on its website, along with bobbleheads of Kim Jong Il, Joe the Plumber, a chimpanzee, and a Marie Curie version that glows in the dark.

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