Melvin Burkhart (1907–2001) was a sideshow performer known as the Human Blockhead for driving a large steel spike up his nose with a hammer. He was also known as Melvin the Two-Faced Man, due to his ability to wear different facial expressions on the two sides of his face, and as Melvin the Anatomical Wonder for his abilities as a contortionist. His act also included magic, sword swallowing, fire eating, and an electric chair.
|Born||February 16, 1907|
Alanta, Georgia, USA
|Died||November 8, 2001 aged 94|
Sun City, Florida, USA.
Clarence Melvin Burkhart was born in Atlanta on February 16, 1907 and grew up in several places throughout the southern US, principally New Orleans. He dropped out of school in his early teens and moved to Louisville, Kentucky where he worked as a field hand by day and in burlesque halls by night. At the age of 20, he joined a small one-ring circus, Mr. Leroy Easter's Traveling Family Circus, as a contortionist. In 1934, he joined Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performing five acts. Later, he joined the James E. Straits Shows, emceeing the sideshow and providing the majority of acts. He stayed with the Straits Shows for over 30 years before moving to Coney Island USA’s Sideshow by the Seashore where he finished his career.
- THE LIVES THEY LIVED: MELVIN BURKHART, B. 1907; Life as a Blockhead New York Times" December 30, 2001 https://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/30/magazine/the-lives-they-lived-melvin-burkhart-b-1907-life-as-a-blockhead.html