Seven-inch bobblehead dolls of noted Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth were removed from the Gettysburg Museum & Visitor Center bookstore over the weekend, after visitors and a prominent Lincoln scholar criticized the creepy tchotchkes for trivializing Lincoln's death. The bobbleheads, which come in boxes that look like Ford's Theater where Lincoln was shot, depict Booth clutching his pistol.
After learning of the figurines' removal, historian Harold Holzer chuckled:
"One could say wiser bobbleheads prevailed. It's inappropriate to celebrate a criminal who took the life of a great American whose memory and words are celebrated at Gettysburg."
The bobbling Booths were removed from shelves Saturday morning after a reporter from Pennsylvania's (Hanover) Evening Sun began making inquiries, causing officials from the battlefield and Gettysburg Foundation to become nervous. Both the foundation and the park declined to comment on the reason for the bobblehead disappearances, but we can guess why. Said Holzer, "It's like selling Lee Harvey Oswald stuffed dolls at the Kennedy Center."
Around 250 Booth bobbleheads were manufactured as a gag gift for Civil War buffs by Kansas City-based company BobbleHead, LLC. The figurines, which retail online for about twenty bucks, were moving like hotcakes, with over 150 sold. BobbleHead sales manager Matt Powers said:
"We've made probably over a million bobbleheads and this is the first time it ever happened. So why change course? We've done Osama bin Laden. There's a market there. We like to let the customer decide if it's a good item or not."
This has to be the biggest presidential-assassin-merchandise controversy since the uproar over those Charles J. Guiteau deely bobbers at the Garfield Museum.