As you may have heard PewDiePie, of YouTube fame, married his long time girlfriend Marzia Bisognin in romantic ceremony. But what does this have to do with magicians and what can they learn from this?
Would You Tying the Knot Make News?
Let’s put it this way. As a magician, unless you’re David Copperfield, if you were to tie the knot (or maybe you already have) would the press be interested in it? Likely not except if, for example, you lived in a very small community (online or off) and everyone was in a sense a celebrity. Or if you were a kids performer, you could possibly get covered by blogs like Manhattan Kids Guide.
Is Fame Attainable?
So what does PewDiePie have that you don’t? Possibly fame. Fame is not for everyone but on a certain level it is attainable, even by finger flingers. How do you achieve this?
A YouTube Secret in Plain Sight
Take the PewDiePie path of becoming a YouTuber. It’s really not terribly hard to attain some degree of noteriety as a YouTuber. One of the big secrets for success is that you should post a new video each and every day on your channel.
The Possible Content of Your YouTube Channel
About what you may ask? About yourself of course. Your own magical story, if told truthfully and with feeling can be very interesting to others.
PewDiePie on Marzia Bisognin
Here’s what PewDiePie said about his marriage to Marzia Bisognin:
“I’m so lucky to share my life with this amazing woman.”
Leave Them Wanting More
He said it and it resonated with his audience. This could be you too if you jumped right in and began doing a video a day designed to keep people watching by introducing a topic of intrigue and usefullness that makes the viewer want to watch more. But you have to be specific about your audience. For example, are you going for the Market Your Journey demographic or the Manhattan Kids Guide group?
The Longer They Watch…
Why? Because YouTube likes it when folks make videos that the audience watches all the way through or at least close to it.
News, News, What is News?
It worked for YouTube’s biggest independent creator, PewDiePie, and now his tying of the knot with entrepreneur and long-term partner Marzia Bisognin is considered news!
The Art of Weirdness
Think about it, if you’ve ever seen PewDiePie’s work he does bizarre things with a manic editing style. It is clear that he puts a lot of thought and work into his weirdness.
Is Weirdness for You?
This doesn’t mean that you should be weird but it could help. Think about ways to continually draw you audience in.
A Win-Win Proposition
Let’s face it, magic YouTubers are not a big slice of the YouTube pie, which is in and of itself an opportunity to shine. You don’t have to know a heck of a lot in the beginning, just sheer output is what is important. You are in a sense marketing your journey. And don’t give up, because over time you will learn what to do to increase views and members to your channel. Why do this? Because YouTube can sell more ads that way and therefore make more money. It is a win-win situation. YouTube makes more money and you get more famous. What could be more simple than that?
Is Over the Top for You?!
You might even want to create an alter ego. For example PewDiePie’s real name is Felix Kjellberg. Manhattan Magician, the author of this piece, is also a stage name. Sometimes having a stage name can be a good thing because it may make you less self conscious and mean that on a certain level you give yourself permission to act over the top in a manner that draws in your fans.
YouTube as a Path to Romance?
And who knows, maybe in the process, if you haven’t already found love, you could find it via your YouTube Channel just like PewDiePie did with Marzia Bisognin. How did it happen?
A Love Story
Kjellberg and Bisognin first connected online. They began to email each other and it soon blossomed into a long distance relation shipe. She lived in Italy while he lived in Sweden, then moved to Italy. Star struck lovers via YouTube!
Get Them Stuck on You
Don’t underestimate your own story. Feed it to the public in compelling bite sized pieces with a beginning, middle and an end that has a payoff and maybe even solves a problem for your viewers as a way to reel them in!
It Can Help Your Conjuring Career
So get started today. It doesn’t take much. You can use your phone as your camera and free online video editing software to make it more exciting with lots of jump cuts and effects. Again, you’ll learn all the details of what it takes to be a successful YouTuber as long as you don’t give up. And who knows, through this process YOU could become the next big thing in online magic!
I’d like to thank the manager of the blog entitled Harry Potter Fan Club NYC for arranging for me to have the opportunity to do an experiment with popular spells from Potter himself. I’d also like to thank the host of Harry Potter Fan Club NYC who is named Spaceman and who graciously included me in his blog post as seen here.
Magicians Deserve Respect
Magicians of the tricks kind (not fictional characters like Harry) are not always given the respect they deserve. They are made fun of by the media and in Hollywood films. It’s really too bad because it takes an extraordinary amount of energy, initiative and talent to put together a magic act.
Many Creative Hats
Magicians have to wear many creative hats. They are the “director” looking a themselves in the mirror while practicing, much like dancers do, making sure that every move is right. But unlike most dancers, they don’t benefit from a choreographer and have the taxing job of being both the performer and the eyes of the audience during rehearsal.
Magicians are Actors
Magicians are also actors. The famous French Magician who Houdini got his name from, Robert Houdin (Houdini added an “i”) was known to have said something along the lines of “A magician is an actor playing the role of a magician.”
Magician’s Are Writers
Magicians are also writers. Most of the time they write their own “patter” (what a magician calls the dialogue that is spoken).
Magician’s are Marketers
But that’s not all. In addition to being writer/director/actors, they must often also be the marketer and publicist. That is one of the reasons why I am grateful to the Manager of Harry Potter NYC and the host of the same. It’s nice to get a little boost when not asking for it.
Thanks to USAcreate.com
So I am feeling particularly lucky at the moment. And as long as I’m on the topic of “thank yous,” another person who I owe thanks to is the blogger on the USAcreate.com. He calls himself a fan of mine, which I am certain is really him being nice, but it is affirming nonetheless.
Vertices on a Triangle
So at the moment the three of us are like vertices on a triangle including HarryPotterFanClubNYC.com, USAcreate.com and our site, ManhattanMagician.com. And it is also coincidental that a triangle is my most favorite shape!
There are those who claim he is an authentic oracle. But he says he isn’t supernatural but is merely an entertainer. Experience his show and then you decide!
Magic or Marketing?
Manhattan Magician: Mystic of the Mind, whose day job is doing websites and marketing, does not claim to have any otherworldly abilities. But instead he describes himself as a performing artist or practitioner of Mentalism Magic. The word “Magic” of the term “Mentalism Magic” refers to conjuring and magic tricks performed by Mystic of the Mind who incessantly emphasizes he isn’t an actual cosmic soothsayer but rather an illusionist entertainer.
Entertainment experiments that are explored live and alphabetically by Manhattan Magician include Astral Projection, Clairvoyance, Cold Reading, Divination, Energy Healing, ESP, Hypnotism, Mediumship, Mind Control, Mind Reading, Precognition, Psionics, Psychic Powers, Psychometry, Pyrokinesis, Remote Viewing, Spiritualism, Telekinesis, Telepathy and X-Ray Vision. Clearly he has something…in mind!
Illusion or Real?
Coming up these feats of Mentalism Magic will be performed by Manhattan Magician, who despite making it known he is just a prestidigitator and not a clairvoyant still has followers who believe that he possesses mysterious powers from the other side. As this mental magic act unfolds, ask yourself, “Are the effects performed illusion or real?” You decide! And now, a warm welcome please, for the man who is going to fill us in on the meaning behind the terms – Manhattan Magician: Mystic of the Mind!
Astral Projection Astral projection is a term used in esotericism to describe a willful out-of-body experience that assumes the existence of a soul or consciousness called an “astral body” that is separate from the physical body and capable of travelling outside it throughout the universe.
Clairvoyance Clairvoyance is the alleged ability to gain information about an object, person, location, or physical event through extrasensory perception. Any person who is claimed to have such ability is said accordingly to be a clairvoyant.
Cold Reading Cold reading is a set of techniques used by mentalists, psychics, fortune-tellers, mediums, illusionists, and scam artists to imply that the reader knows much more about the person than the reader actually does.
Divination Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultist, standardized process or ritual.
Energy Healing Energy Healing is also known as energy medicine, energy therapy, vibration medicine, psychic healing, spiritual medicine or spiritual healing which are all branches of alternative medicine based on a pseudo-scientific belief that healers can channel healing energy into a patient and effect positive results.
ESP ESP or Extra Sensory Perception, also called sixth sense, includes claimed reception of information not gained through the recognized physical senses, but sensed with the mind.
Hypnotism Hypnostism is a human condition involving focused attention, reduced peripheral awareness, and an enhanced capacity to respond to suggestion. The term may also refer to an art, skill, or act of inducing hypnosis.
Mediumship Mediumship is the practice of purportedly mediating communication between spirits of the dead and living human beings. Practitioners are known as “mediums.” There are different types of mediumship, including spirit channeling.
Mind Control Mind Control is a kind of brainwashing in tandem with the concept that the human mind can be altered or controlled by certain psychological or cosmic techniques.
Mind Reading Mind reading in parapsychology is the transfer of information between individuals by means other than the five senses. The illusion of telepathy in the performing art of mentalism. Thought identification, the use of neuroimaging techniques to read human minds.
Precognition Precognition, also called prescience, future vision, future sight is a claimed psychic ability to see events in the future. As with other forms of extrasensory perception, there is no accepted scientific evidence that precognition is a real phenomenon and it is widely considered to be pseudoscience.
Psionics Psionics is the study of paranormal phenomena in relation to the application of electronics. The term comes from psi and the -onics from electronics. It is closely related to the field of radionics. There is no scientific evidence that psionic abilities exist.
Psychic Powers Psychic Powers are believed by some to be had by psychics who are people who profess an ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses through extrasensory perception (ESP) or are said by others to have such abilities.
Psychometry Psychometry, also known as token-object reading is a form of extrasensory perception characterized by the claimed ability to make relevant associations from an object of unknown history by making physical contact with that object
Pyrokinesis Pyrokinesis is the purported psychic ability allowing a person to create and control fire with the mind. There is no conclusive evidence that pyrokinesis is a real phenomenon.
Remote Viewing Remote viewing is the practice of seeking impressions about a distant or unseen target, purportedly using extrasensory perception or “sensing” with the mind. Remote viewing experiments have historically been criticized for lack of proper controls and repeat ability.
Spiritualism Spiritualism is a movement based on the belief that the spirits of the dead exist and have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living. The afterlife, or the “spirit world”, is seen by spiritualists, not as a static place, but as one in which spirits continue to evolve.
Telekinisis Telekinesis or Psychokinesis, is an alleged psychic ability allowing a person to move objects without touching them as well as influence a physical system without physical interaction. Psychokinesis experiments have historically been criticized for lack of proper controls and repeatability.
Telepathy Telepathy is the purported vicarious transmission of information from one person to another without using any known human sensory channels or physical interaction.
X-Ray Vision X-Ray Vision has little to do with the actual effect of X-rays. Instead, it is usually presented as the ability to selectively see through certain objects as though they are invisible or translucent in order to see objects or surfaces.
It is a magician’s rule to never reveal her or his secrets. In fact, it’s a pledge you have to take when joining the Society of American Magicians. So even though I am about to reveal something that has to do with conjuring, I’m not going to expose the behind the scenes of performing legerdemain. Instead I’m about to share with you something that has to do with the subject of illusionary arts.
Developing a What?!
What is it? Drum roll please…It’s the news that I have started developing a magic act! It has been more than three decades since I worked professionally as a prestidigitator. The exception to this is the fact that I have in the recent past performed in a school classroom setting for whatever grade my 10 year old daughter was in at the time.
Magic Neighbors Theater Company
Except now she’s going from the fifth grade into Middle School and she professes she’s too old for that kind of thing. And another form of magic performance I have done more recently is working with the Magic Neighbors Theater Company (see image) and pulling rabbits out of hats (allegorically) with the group in various branches of the New York Public Library.
Magic for Grownups?
All of this has been done using Kid Magic, magic tricks that appeal to children. But now, probably due to attending S.A.M. meetings, I’ve gotten bitten by the bug to perform magic for grownups. Also, I’m getting my Master’s Degree within the next month so the present is a good time to start on a new adventure.
Don’t get me wrong, I may never actually perform, let alone plan out the details of the act. Constructing a magic show is a very time consuming activity especially due to the reality (or illusion) that it’s been over 30 years since I’ve really seriously been an entertainer.
Marketing Tip of the Week
Among magicians it’s almost a clique for someone planning a new program to do so in the realm of mentalism. And yes, that’s exactly where I may end up (or not!). Which brings me to this week’s marketing tip: don tell people what you are going to do before you do it. It’s always the best policy when planning a marketing campaign or some such thing, that you keep your lips sealed about it.
When you talk about what you’re planning, you run the risk of people giving you all kinds of advice. They mean well of course, but it can be awfully distracting and even make you question your goal. Plus, in all things marketing, it’s best to deliver surprising and fresh content. So again, to hit the point home, keep it to yourself and…Don’t do what I’m doing!
For my recent birthday my wife and our 10 year old daughter gave me a wonderful book on Houdini which brings us to our Marketing Tip of the Week.
Choose What You Wish to Be Known For
The tip is to, if possible, focus on one main thing in conjunction with your business or career. Harry Houdini did this with escape magic and look at what it did for him. It became the thing that he is known for. In my own little sphere I’m known for being an online marketer, media educator and website creator who’s also a magician. Still needs some tweaking. Maybe marketer magician?
Figure Out Your Brand
As many of you know I’ve often said that Houdini was a master marketer. Even though he died in 1926, the mere fact you likely know who I’m talking about is proof of this. He is a true household name and is so primarily because of his focus on escapes and the way that he used this focus to generate publicity.
Figure Out Something that can Go Viral
When arriving in a town for a performance Houdini would go to the local authorities and challenge them. The authorities would could handcuff him and sometimes even put him in a jail cell to thwart his escaping. And 100% of the time the great escapologist would free himself from the shackles and imprisonment. I did my own publicity stunt as a teenager (covered by the local school paper) which was to ride my bike to school while blindfolded.
Social Media is Your Friend?
All of this would of course be covered by the local press (the Social Media of yesteryear), thereby perpetuating his brand. You can do this too. Not escapes (unless that’s what you do), but rather finding something you can be known for and running with it.
Repetition is Key
Focus enables you to focus your brand like Houdini did. It is easier for someone to remember you if you’re known for something specific and then add to that thing with notoriety again and again.
The Annual “Salute to Magic”
And speaking of Houdini, the 110th Annual “Salute to Magic” performance is this Saturday the 30th at the Abrons Arts Center at 466 Grand Street, New York City (Manhattan).
See You at the Show!
It is being presented by the same Assembly (Chapter) here in NYC that Harry Houdini himself used to be the president of. Come celebrate with us. Tickets are available by clicking here. Hope to see you there!
First it’s this week’s ArtisticPreneur.com Marketing Tip and then hey presto, it’s magic show news. And now here’s the latest tip:
Work With Your Community
Especially back in our full throttle Lights Camera Read days, we used to talk a lot about community. And community is still very important to us which brings up this week’s ArtisticPreneur.com Marketing Tip which is: Work With Your Community.
It’s not necessary to be an enourmous corporation if you think locally. What is going on in your immediate community? How can you create a win-win scenerio and both help your community while leveraging it from a marketing perspective? This could be things like taking out ads in community theater programs (which likely will not cost much).
Partner with Your Local Library
Print bookmarks with your logo and company name tastefully integrated into the bookmark’s design. Then ask to have the bookmarks placed in your local library. And speaking of libraries, if you are thespian inclined, libraries can be a great partner when it comes to doing things like putting on a puppet show or comedy improv performance for kids.
The Library Becomes Your Theater
You can do the performance right in the library and likely the library will promote the show in advance directly to their library going parents with kids. You can design and print postcards that describe your business briefly but mostly focus on the performance you are participating it.
And when it is showtime, make sure to mention your business integrated cleverly as a magic word used or as part of a talk about community businesses of which you are one. Be sure to get the head librarian’s permission to do all of this. Now go and put on your extravaganza!
An Extravaganza Segue
And speaking of extravaganzas there is one coming up soon. Let’s begin at the beginning of our magic news.
Society of American Magicians
As you know I’m a member of the Society of American Magicians which has hundreds of assemblies (chapters) all around the globe. Within the SAM organization I am a member specifically of Assembly #1 here in the city.
It has a lot of history including being the first assembly to be created and at one time had as its president (as I’ve said before), Harry Houdini. Also, it’s the group where a young magician of just 12 years old named David Seth Kotkin used to attend to learn tricks from the other conjurers. He grew up to be David Copperfield.
Upcoming Magic Performance
Ever since 1909 the Society of American Magicians has been producing an annual performance that is open both to magicians as well as the general public. This year’s show is being put together by SAMPA1 member Herb of Herb’s Magic. He is doing a terrific job and we are all looking forward to attending this wonderful shindig of prestidigitation on Saturday March 30th.
Salute to Magic Show, 2019. The 110th Annual Magic Extravaganza presented by the Parent Assembly of the Society of American Magicians. Saturday 3/30/19 at 7:30 PM. To order tickets CLICK HERE or call 866-811-4111.
Are you a magic learner? Do you believe that learning is like magic in the way it can empower people? Do you ascribe to the belief that we should always be learning new things? Do you think that you can achieve your dreams with the right education? If so, you’re going to enjoy this edition of the ArtisticPreneur Newsletter, featured this week on the Manhattan Magician website.
Learning by Doing
As some of you know I am a marketer, educator, NYC magician and student who is in my last semester of grad school. I am getting a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration. In the past I have had success with doing “How To” videos, so for one of my final project for school (as a part of an “Independent Study”) I am creating a web class on the topic of making an online course and then promoting it.
The Learning Venture is, as of this Post, Entitled:
“The Online Course Method:
How to Create a Profitable Online Course
Plus Market and Sell it Using Low or No Budget
Internet Guerrilla Marketing.”
The key concepts here are “Online Course Method” and “Internet Guerrilla Marketing.”
Would You Like to Make and Promote Your Own Online Course?
The final project won’t be completed until I graduate in late May. I am weighing the possibilities and might then decide to release it to those who can benefit from it. Why? Because I believe that if you are someone who has an expertise of some sort or if you know someone who does, developing an online course can be a great way of building trust with your audience. And of course a little bit of magic.
Do You Perceive Yourself as an Expert on a Topic?
Featured in the course will be you or your designated expert. When you finish creating your learning experience you will then be able to promote it through a series of marketing campaigns. This is a terrific way to not only help people but to make a profit while doing so. Also, through the viewing of the course you are simultaneously promoting yourself and/or your products and services. It truly is a win-win situation.
Uncover Your Audience
So let’s say you wanted to create your own online course on a topic you are passionate about, how would you go about doing it? First and foremost you need to uncover whether or not there is a market for it.
Define Those Who You are Trying to Reach
Who is your audience and why do they need your course? What problem are you solving? It’s helpful if you are filling a gap in the market. Or, in other words, offering skill building that folks want to learn but no one is really providing to that niche. Yet.
Will You Be Featured or Someone Else?
Once you have your topic, you need to then decide who will be featured in the course. Will it be you? Or someone you know? This is an opportunity to become visible as an expert. Because the perception is that someone who is spotlighted in a course really knows her or his subject matter. And if you are providing a solution to a problem that can be solved with your consulting and/or your products and services, all the better.
A Technique for Getting in Front of Your Audience
So let’s say you’ve finished creating your course. Your market research has shown you that there is a niche audience for it. But now the challenge is getting your course in front of your demographic. We believe the best way to do this is through low or no budget Internet Guerrilla Marketing.
No Social Media Needed
Internet Guerrilla Marketing is totally different than offline guerrilla marketing. This is because the cyber world poses certain challenges of reaching your audience. For example, people are getting frustrated with social media as a marketing method because its reach is getting smaller and smaller, seemingly because the social media provider is trying to get you to purchase ads.
The Magic of Internet Guerrilla Marketing
Thank goodness Internet Guerrilla Marketing does not involve social media. It has instead 10+ digital marketing tools to choose from. And the magical thing about Internet Guerrilla Marketing is that it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Plus, “Abracadabra” just like that, it can get you results in the form of online course sales and as well as making additional income through your consulting and/or products and services.
2 Not 1 Income Stream(s)
Remember, being featured as an expert in an online course can entitle you to charge higher fees for whatever it is that you do. If you’ve got the knowledge you can convert it into profitability for your business as well as sales from the course itself.
If This Resonates with You Please Reach Out
At this point I’m not sure if I am going to release this course in May or later or at all. If this sounds like something that could be useful to you, please let me know. Again, I am in a very early creation phase regarding making and promoting the course.
I’m Doing as You Might Do
And finally, just like you will need to do if you decide to make your own online course, I am currently in the market research stage of course development. In fact this email is kind of a form of market research. Why do I mention doing market research? Because I try to practice what I preach! That’s all for now magic learners! I hope to hear from you!
This is an update on what the Manhattan Magician has been up to for the last several months. For one thing he is now a member of the assembly (chapter) located in Manhattan which is the one that Houdini was the president of for a number of years. The Manhattan Magician finds the monthly meetings and other activities to be quite delightful as he is enjoying being around so many conjurers at once.
In other related news he is working on a top secret magic project which, if the choice is made to fully implement it, will then be revealed to the public!
In response to the question “Why join?” there are many benefits and perks for becoming a member that can be found on the national website. And it is no small thing to become a part of the history or this organization as can be found in this excerpt:
“The Society of American Magicians, founded on May 10, 1902, in Martinka’s famous magic shop in New York City, New York, is the oldest and most prestigious magical society in the world. For over a century it has promoted the ideals shared by Kellar, Houdini, Thurston and more than 47,000 others world-wide who have held membership in the society. Those ideals include the elevation of the Art of Magic, the promotion of harmony among magicians, and the opposition of the unnecessary public exposure of magical effects.”
The First Step to Join the S.A.M.
Full discloser: I, the Manhattan Magician, have been accepted into S.A.M. National but am in a pending status for my local NYC assembly (chapter).
That said, joining the Society of American Magicians can itself be challenging. Thankfully I had the help of Sterling who does a terrific job for MagicSAMpa1 (Manhattan Assembly) as a webmaster and a kind of communications director updating MagicSAMpa1’s website and sending email subscribers information on the latest happenings in the magic world, especially in New York City.
Presenting Yourself as a Magician
As far as joining S.A.M. goes you need to present your magic bio to them and then get cleared by the secret panel. And submissions don’t always end with a positive result. Why? Because true magicians and magic bloggers (like myself) have a certain way that they communicate that can be recognized by other conjurers.
If you don’t pass this prestidigitator test you won’t be admitted into the national organization. But once you do make it through this phase you will be sent an official document as well as a tie clip and a membership card that has your ID number on it. Again, I thankfully had the help of Sterling to guide me through this process.
Once you have been admitted as a member of the national Society of American Magicians you then have to go through another procedure to actually gain admission to your local assembly. This can be even more difficult than getting into the national organization. Why? Because during this stage you have to actually prove your abilities as a sleight of hand artist live and in person.
On the Path
Again, true practitioners of the wizard trade will be able to tell if you’re not a genuine magician. They know the way your fingers should move and your body language should express, including the use of misdirection and more. I mention all this because I am at that very place on the path.
Manhattan Magician’s Experience of Becoming a Member of a Local Assembly
I’ve been admitted to the national organization but have yet to be accepted to my local assembly. And since I’m the Manhattan Magician, meaning I live and work in the city, the assembly I seek membership of is the very first chapter to exist, MagicSAMpa1. In fact, Harry Houdini himself was the president of this chapter from to June 1917 until his mysterious death on October 31, 1926.
Where is the Manhattan Magician Now in this Process?
I recently attended a meeting of MagicSAMpa1. It was a very positive experience which included interacting with magicians who were showing each other magic and sleight of hand as well as culminated with a performance by Bruce Kalver.
The Top Secret Part of the Meeting
While at the meeting I was recognized as an inductee so during the top secret part of the get together, I and another inductee, Zachary, were asked to go into a sound proofed adjacent room. Zachary and I talked extensively about magic, and about a half hour or so later were both readmitted to the meeting for Bruce Kalver’s performance.
Appointment for Proof of Being a Magician
Also while at the MagicSAM1 meeting I met a gentleman named Stephen with whom I need to contact soon to do my “Magician Proof” with him. So that is where I am now in the process. After I meet with Stephen I will then need to get four magicians’ signatures to finally be accepted to my local New York City assembly.
In closing I’d like to say that my experience with the national organization and local assembly of the Society of American Magician’s has been great. Stay tuned for the next phase in this adventure!
It’s probably a bit too ambitious on my part to attempt to put together a list of my top 10 favorite magicians of all time given lack of time due to other work. But the folks listed here really formed who I am today. Most of them lived in the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. I read books upon books upon books about them. 793.8 (if you’re a magician you’ll recognize that Dewey Decimal number) and the biography section were my destination at libraries across the country for ten years.
10. David Devant
David Devant is my 10th favorite magician of all time. The reason he is my last pick is because he popped up in my book reading less than the others. Though, I was quite taken with his collaborations which resulted in new magic tricks and stage illusions (magicians call big apparatus items “illusions”).
The information that I got on David Devant most recently was from Wikipedia which described him as an English magician, shadowgraphist and film exhibitor. They talk about how he was born David Wighton in Holloway, London. He is regarded by magicians as a consummate exponent of suave and witty presentation of stage illusions. According to American designer of magical illusions and theatrical special effects, Jim Steinmeyer, Devant was “England’s greatest magician — arguably the greatest magician of the 20th Century”.
9. William Ellsworth
Now here’s a guy who has quite an interesting story. I actually read a book about him very recently. He presented himself as Chung Ling Soo, a Chinese conjurer. When reading the biography about him I was struck by his passion (maybe even obsession) that those in the illusion arts often share. In short, Mr. Ellsworth spoke almost exclusively about magic in his interactions with other people. And of course what makes him most memorable today is that he did the bullet catching in mouth trick. As Chung Ling Soo he never spoke on stage. But on one – and the final – occasion that he performed the bullet catch in teeth feat. The bullet killed him. He called out in his own voice: “Oh my God. Something’s happened. Lower the curtain.” A the curtain was lowered, those were the last words of William Ellsworth.
Britannica.com had some information on Ellsworth which talks of him beginning his career as a performer in the United States using the stage name William E. (“Billy”) Robinson. While in England in 1900, he modeled himself after Ching Ling Foo, an authentic Chinese conjurer who had recently made a successful American tour. Accused by Ching in 1904 of being an imposter, Chung admitted to the masquerade, but his public admired him even more for his clever impersonation. Campbell was still playing Chung Ling Soo in 1918, when he was accidentally shot to death while doing a bullet-catching trick.
8. Alexander Herrmann
My interest in Alexander Herrmann had a lot to do with my intrigue regarding his wife, Adelaide Herrmann, who after Mr. Herrmann’s death went on to have her own successful career as a magician.
My research on Alexander Herrmann was mostly done at Wikipedia.org which spoke of his first setting eyes on Adelaide who of course became his wife. The scene was set in 1874 upon Alexander’s return to America by boat. On the boat, he saw the young dancer Mademoiselle Scarcez that he had met in London. The titian-haired, bilingual Adelaide had been planning to marry an American actor. Before the ship docked, she changed her mind.
“In Manhattan on March 27, 1875, the Mayor of New York performed the ceremony marrying Alexander and Adelaide. Herrmann was known to do spontaneous tricks. Even on his wedding day he could not resist; he produced a roll of bills from the mayor’s beard.”
7. Harry Blackstone Sr.
Those of us of a certain age remember Harry Blackstone Jr. the son of Harry Blackstone Sr. His son became known for doing commercials involving magic for Jiff Pop Popcorn. I tended to be partial to Senior over Junior because he popped up a lot more in my readings described as a compelling performer.
According to Wikipedia.org Blackstone was born Harry Bouton in Chicago, Illinois. He began his career as a magician in his teens and was popular through World War II as a USO entertainer. He was often billed as The Great Blackstone. As mentioned his son Harry Blackstone Jr. also became a famous magician. Blackstone Sr. was aided by his younger brother (2 years younger) Pete Bouton who was the stage manager in all his shows. Blackstone Sr. was married three times. Blackstone Jr. was his son by his second wife.
I like Talma so much that I used her image that was included as part of The Comedians de Mephisto Co. on one of my blogs. Talma worked closely with her husband when performing as a magician.
Wikipedia.org discusses that as a performer, Mary Ann Ford adopted the name Mercedes Talma but was generally known just as Talma. Talma was taught magic by Le Roy and although being an assistant she was known for her own coin tricks including the “Out of the ear” trick and “Talma’s travelling coin.” Eventually she was known as “The Queen Of Coins.” She formed a long-running stage partnership with her husband and their colleague Leon Bosco. They named their act “The Comedians de Mephisto Co” but they were much better known as Le Roy, Talma & Bosco.
5. Harry Kellar
Harry Keller was another of the magicians that would show up in biographies I was reading of other magicians. He had a great impact on legerdemain. An interesting fact about Keller is that his successor was Thurston, who will be highlighted coming up. Genii Magazine, which I used to read as a kid magician, describes the passing of the torch:
“The Mantle of Magic is an honor which started on May 16, 1908 when Harry Kellar bid farewell to the stage with Howard Thurston at his side. With his retirement, Kellar began the tradition of what has become to be known now as the “Royal Dynasty of Magic” This Royal Dynasty is often given as Kellar, Thurston, Dante, Lee Grabel and currently Lance Burton.”
There’s a mention of Lance Burton in the Genii quote. Lance is is great contemporary magician with whom I, several years ago, was fortunate enough to have a several hour conversation with while in Vegas. Lance and I spoke at great length on the art of magic as well as where magic was going in the future. If I was doing a modern day list I would definitely have picked him. Interesting that he is in a way connected to Kellar.
Magician.org talked about Harry Kellar, being known as the “Dean of American Magicians.” They went on further to note that Keller enjoyed both public recognition and financial success. His was the largest and most elaborate stage illusion show touring during the late 1800s and early 1900s. He is best known for his spectacular version of the Levitation, in which a girl mysteriously rises up from a couch, floats across the stage to the audience, then disappears into thin air. Upon his retirement in 1908, Kellar chose to spend his remaining years in Los Angeles.
4. Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin
My interest in Houdin had much to do with the fact that Houdini gave himself the name “Houdini” by taking the name “Houdin” and adding a letter “i” at the end. Hence the name went from “Houdin” to “Houdini.” And from what I recall, Houdini’s name, because of the “i” at the end, took on the meaning “Like Houdin.” Houdini idolized Houdin while growing up.
As long as we’re on the topic of Houdini, another Houdini story is that while in France he tried to visit Houdin’ widow but she rejected him. So as revenge Houdini wrote a negative account of Houdin entitled “The Unmasking of Robert Houdin.”
The thing that fascinated me about Houdin was that he was also a clock maker. So he was able to create magic using his knowledge as such.
Biography.com details the account that while living in Paris, Robert-Houdin began to fuse his interests. He sought the company of other magicians and visited magic shops to learn the latest tricks and gadgets, while also employing his mechanical expertise to build new inventions, some of which he would later incorporate in his performances. One of his creations was a writing automaton that was ultimately purchased by American showman P. T. Barnum.
3. Adelaide Herrmann
While Alexander Herrmann is my #8 pick, my #3 choice is his wife Adelaide Herrmann who was mentioned in Alexander Herrmann’s piece earlier. Adelaide worked for quite a while as an assistant to her husband and then after his death went on to do a traveling magic show of her own.
Geniimagazine.com describes the situation as being that during her marriage to Alexander she was the chief assistant for him. She continued his show after his death with his nephew Leon Herrmann. She later created and starred in her own act. Adelaide died in 1932 in the Community Hospital, 8 St. Nicholas PL, New York City, of pneumonia. She was a “Manhattan Magician” herself!
2. Howard Thurston
Thurston is another favorite of mine. A read a book about him recently and learned more about his life than I knew as a kid magician. Thurston was living on the edge for quite a while before his breakthrough as a conjurer.
Britannica.com describes Thurston as originally being a card manipulator who toured the world (1904–07) with a full-evening show. He returned to the United States to become successor to Harry Kellar, the leading American magician. For more than 20 years he toured with a three-hour show and became best-known for his large stage illusions, such as the “floating lady.” In 1931 he shortened his program to appear as the stage attraction at motion-picture theatres.
1. Harry Houdini
Okay, this is where you’re going to have to curb my enthusiasm. Houdini was my idol as a kid and teen magician and still is today. I think what I admired him most for – as well as what I learned from reading many-many biographies about him – was his amazing insight into marketing and publicity. I wrote an article about Houdini in May for this, the blog you are reading right now. I saw him as being the ultimate “ArtisticPreneur.” A side note is that one of the blogs we manage actually has as its domain name ArtisticPreneur.com.
Houdini’s career was remarkable and took him through many incarnations of himself. First he was a card manipulator then an escape artist followed by being a spiritual medium exposer and even a filmmaker. I made the transition from being a magician to a filmmaker (briefly) because I was inspired by Houdini.
TheGreatHarryHoudini.com describes that in Houdini’s later years he took his talent to the film arena, where he both acted and started his own film laboratory called The Film Development Corporation. Years later, Harry would receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
So those were “Manhattan Magician’s Top 10 Favorite Magicians of All Time.” There actually were several other magicians who I wanted to include, including magicians from today. But the magicians who have made the biggest impact on my life were the ones that I read about as a kid and teen magician from age 8 to 18. Thank you for reading. This is Manhattan Magician vanishing in a puff of smoke.