Dr. Harold Burkan was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 30, 1924. Hal and his older brother, Ted, were born to Russian immigrant parents who came through Ellis Island as children and settled in Brooklyn, New York.
Hal was born with one leg affected by Polio. His mother carried him until he learned to walk at the age of seven. Swimming was the best exercise for him growing up. This challenge spurred Hal to be an over achiever in every department. His passion for life was ceaseless.
At 9 years of age, Hal started practicing magic. He loved visiting magic shops in New York to collect tricks and performance skills. Once in high school he learned watch making from his uncle. Before he had graduated classes for chiropractic, he already had a little shop in Brooklyn. Soon, he opened a small Jewelry kiosk close to Yankee Stadium in upper Manhattan.
His magic career continued for small parties and endless table tricks.. eventually rewarding him with a hobby as a "mentalist" during cruise ship talent night.
During a summer job as a swimming instructor at a summer camp in Connecticut, he upset the owner of the camp when he had himself chained underwater in the lake to imitate Houdini.
He was forbidden from ever repeating the stunt... later his fellow magicians repeated the stunt in his own family pool.
Hal attended and graduated chiropractic school in Manhattan. At 28 years of age he met and married a Syracuse psychology graduate named Joan and had one daughter, Debi Gail, who inherited Hals artistic skills and temperament.
Hal and his young family drove across country n a travel trailer for California's golden streets and a license to practice chiropractic (as it was not yet offered in New York).
He purchased a small older home on a main street in L.A. and built a starter office where he practiced chiropractics and naturopathy successfully.
Hals Doctor practice was reduced to a few days a week by his mid forties , with several weeks off every quarter in order to travel and study art. Many museum tours in dozens of countries inspired his artists soul. He took classes every semester for wood working and welding, then found himself mesmerized at art classes with a traditional Chinese water color master. He became the prized student, taping all classes and painting full time for 10 straight years.
Hal created stacks of paintings surrounding him like a hurricane. His studio was stocked with horse tail brushes and black cakes of genuine Chinese ink. He had chocks made of every phrase he admired for his paintings. He was happier than ever in this setting.
Joan retired from her California state job, becoming a full time travel agent, allowing the adventurous couple to travel the world economically. Hal and Joan enjoyed several trips to China searching for the best art supplies which included acupuncture statues so he could study anatomy as an artist as well as the perspective of a doctor. He also incorporated acupressure in his clinic.. learning his patients were more receptive.
Hal and Joan traveled to over 50 countries, taking two to four long trips every year. Eventually Hal began to teach Chinese painting on cruise ships and always enjoyed giving the captain an original painting.
Hal left his daughter, Debi, over 300 lovely paintings with loving requests to sell or find them homes respectfully. Her quest is to complete her fathers wishes for his treasured art.
Many favorites decorate Debis unique B&B Retreat in Anchorage Alaska: aawesomeworld.com
Hal passed away at home in Huntington Beach of natural causes on November 15, 2002.