Tod Robbins  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Clarence Aaron Robbins (25 June 1888 - May 10 1949), billed as C.A Robbins and better known as Tod Robbins, was an American author of horror and mystery fiction, particularly novels and short story collections.

He is best-known for the short story "Spurs", which Tod Browning used as the basis for his 1932 cult film Freaks.



Robbins attended Washington and Lee University (Lexington, Virginia) and -- along with Mark W. Sheafe (1884?-1949) and Thornton Whitney Allen (1890–1944) -- wrote the college song "Washington and Lee Swing." Sheafe wrote the tune in 1905, Allen set the music down on paper in 1909 and Robbins provided the words. The completed version was published in 1910.

He authored two short story collections and several novels. His book The Unholy Three (1917) was twice adapted for the screen, a silent version directed by Tod Browning in 1925 and a sound version directed by Jack Conway in 1930. Both adaptations starred Lon Chaney, Sr. Robbins was also the author of the short story "Spurs", which Browning used as the basis for his 1932 cult film Freaks.

Robbins emigrated to the French Riviera from New York and refused to leave during the Nazi occupation of France. He spent the war in a concentration camp and died in 1949.



  • 1912 The Spirit of the Town: A Novel Presentation in Fiction Form of the Impulse and Desire Which Mould the Lives of Men
  • 1912 Mysterious Martin: A Fiction Narrative Setting Forth the Development of Character Along Unusual Lines
  • 1917 The Unholy Three
  • 1929 In the Shadow
  • 1933 The Master of Murder
  • 1935 The Three Freaks (rpt. The Unholy Three)
  • 1949 Close Their Eyes Tenderly
  • 1950 To Hell and Home Again (advertised for release, but unpublished)

Short story collections

  • 1920 Silent, White and Beautiful and Other Stories
    • "Silent, White and Beautiful"
    • "Who Wants a Green Bottle?"
    • "Wild Wullie, the Waster"
    • "For Art's Sake" (revised version of Mysterious Martin (1912))
  • 1926 Who Wants a Green Bottle? and Other Uneasy Tales
    • "Silent, White and Beautiful"
    • "Who Wants a Green Bottle?"
    • "Wild Wullie, the Waster"
    • "Toys" (aka "The Toys of Fate")
    • "A Bit of Banshee"
    • "The Son of Shaemas O'Shea"
    • "Cockcrow Inn"
    • "Spurs"

Poetry collections

  • 1915 The Scales of Justice and Other Poems

Pulp magazine appearances

Anthology appearances

External links

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Tod Robbins" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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