Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Schertz, Saredo, and Darnell

The title of this post sounds like it could be a law firm. On the contrary however, it was all the same man! When I found a throw-out card for Saredo, and realized it was the same performer as another throw-out card I had for the name Schertz, I became intrigued.  Both cards are identical with the exception of the name change and telephone number. The performer’s portrait is in an oval with “Good Luck” and matching address on the face, and the back is blank on both. They are on heavy card stock.

Joseph Louis Schertz was born in Saint Louis, Missouri on June 16, 1917. I found a lot of references to him on Ask Alexander. He had been a long time member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, beginning in 1937.  He was a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Industrial Engineering. When World War II broke out, he served as an officer in the U. S. Army, achieving the rank of Major.
As a young man while still in college, he was mentioned in The Linking Ring in March of 1940.
In the same issue, Joe Schertz (Saredo) was included as one of the local magicians that were “playing clubs, schools, and organizations with a fair degree of regularity”. After Schertz went into the Army, you could follow his rise as an officer in The Linking Ring. For August of 1944, it stated that he visited the I.B.M New Orleans Ring No. 27, and had this to say. “At our July 7, meeting we had as guests Capt. Schertz of the St. Louis Ring and Cpl. Duncan of the Youngstown Ring. Capt. Schertz’s wife and mother paid us a short visit, and we understand that the Captain’s mother is a Magigal;  this was the first visit of a Magigal, so the members feel highly honored”. As a bit of trivia, I am pretty sure Cpl. Duncan from Youngstown was Everett Duncan, a magician I saw perform twice when I was a teenager, some thirty years later.
Everett Duncan Brochure
During this time, Schertz also entertained the magicians of New Orleans with a ventriloquist act, and his dummy was dressed up as a GI, and was “full of wisecracks and army slang, and certainly must make a big hit with the boys”.
Upon returning to St. Louis after the war, Schertz served for a time as president of I.B.M. Ring No. 1. In 1952, The Linking Ring ran a photo of Schertz along with a brief bio that included a new name change.
From The Linking Ring for April, 1952.

By March of 1958, The Linking Ring reported on the annual banquet held by Ring No. 1. “Show’s highlight was the appearance of Joe Schertz, known as “Darnell”, opening his act with cane vanish to confetti, glove to dove and dove vanish; billiard balls, dove pan routine and temple screen production, finishing with a huge rabbit”.
In later years, Schertz and his family moved to Florida where he worked in the Engineering Department of NASA at Cape Kennedy. He was then a member of Ring 170 in Orlando, Florida. Joseph L. Schertz, aka Saredo, aka Darnell, passed away on July 18, 1983, and was buried in Burgaw, North Carolina.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Joseph McBee “Merry Mystifier and Komedy Kardist”

Columbus, Ohio originated a lot of magic history. It was the birthplace of Howard Thurston, the famous magician, and his brother Harry Thurston, the infamous magician. McDonald Birch was  born there, before moving to southern Ohio. It was also the home of two well-known magic dealers, U. F. Grant/MAK Magic, and Nelson Enterprises. An annual magicians’ convention, the Columbus Magi-Fest has been going strong for over eighty years.

Magicians' convention held in Columbus, Ohio in 1931.
The following throw-out card is for another Columbus magician a little less known, by the name of Joseph McBee. He called himself “The Merry Mystifier and Komedy Kardist in Vaudeville”. The front of the card has McBee’s image in an oval portrait, and the reverse of the card is a Bicycle Red Lotus back.
In the magic magazine The Sphinx for May of 1913, the Columbus magic club “The Mystic Ring” mentions that “Joseph McBee ‘Assisted by a Pack of Cards,’ mystified the audience with his clever manipulation and a number of his original card tricks.”
In October of 1913 McBee was elected president of “The Mystic Ring” in Columbus. The Sphinx for November, 1913 stated that “Mme. Herrmann appeared at the Broadway (a theatre in Columbus) week of September 29, presenting her beautiful act of illusions”. “The following week came our own Joseph (McBee). His act consisted of his splendid manipulation with cards and balls. When it comes to handling the cards, Mack is there”.
Broadway Theatre in Columbus, Ohio
When I began researching McBee, I assumed that maybe his claim to being in Vaudeville was a little inflated, as I had never heard of him. It seems I was wrong however, as I was able to find several references to him playing Vaudeville houses in several cities in the U. S. The Lumberg Theatre in Utica, New York ran this ad in the Herald Dispatch for February 8, 1916.
Newspaper ad with Joseph McBee billing.
Ladson Butler writing from Buffalo, New York in The Sphinx for March, 1916 said that “Joseph McBee, card manipulator played the Olympic Theatre the week of  March 7. His work was very smooth and absolutely clean, though a little fast. We had several pleasant meetings with him”.
Joseph McBee was a charter member when Columbus Ring No. 9, of the International Brotherhood of Magicians was formed in January of 1929. On February 5, of the same year the newly formed Ring held a banquet honoring Howard Thurston. At this banquet, according to The Linking Ring, Syl Reilly the vice-president announced “that the local organization had been named the Howard Thurston assembly (or Ring) No. 9 of the brotherhood”. Mention was made that McBee “did his clever card tricks” for the gathering. A pin back button was created for the banquet, and I have been fortunate in finding one of these with the name of a charter member of the Ring, Stanley W. Coulter.
From information I found, Joseph D. McBee was born on January 24, 1883, and died on May 29, 1967 at the age of 84. It appears that with the exception of when he was on the road performing, he lived most, if not all of his life in Columbus, Ohio.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Great Zelmo - “The Man Who Keeps Them Guessing”

The subject of the following two throw-out cards took me quite a while to discover his history. The two examples of The Great Zelmo’s cards have the same information on their faces, and early variant examples of Bicycle Playing Card backs.
Great Zelmo Throw-Out Cards with Bicycle Lotus and Wheel No. 2 Backs
I found a number of references to Zelmo on the Ask Alexander search engine. The earliest ones were from The Sphinx for 1910 and 1911. In June of 1910 it states, “The One and Only Ozarra Zelmo, ‘the man that keeps them guessing’ called at the office of The Sphinx a few days ago and informed me that he would soon take out his own show again.  Zelmo is one of the cleverest manipulators of coins that I have seen for many a long day”. For March of 1911 it says, “His ‘World’s Prayer and Easy Money’ is a combination act in which he catches silver money from the air and is immediately changed in his hand to bright new crisp paper money. He also demonstrates an electric device by which he produces a bright electric light without the use of wires”. Both of these tricks are mentioned on the front of Zelmo’s throw-out cards.
From The Linking Ring for January of 1957
It appears Zelmo stayed busy as a magician as he traveled over a large part of the U.S. doing shows. Dayton, Ohio magic dealer Carl Lohrey, speaking of the late Zelmo,  said about him in The Linking Ring of January, 1957, “The man worked 52 weeks in the year, and could do more with a pack of cards, with his left hand, than some of the boys do today with two hands and a stripper deck”.
Lohrey also mentioned the trailer Zelmo traveled in. The Billboard magazine for August 26, 1922 referred to it as “a specially constructed auto truck that is fitted up with all the comforts of home”. The Billboard included a photo of the auto truck/trailer as did The Linking Ring for February of 1930.
The Linking Ring for February of 1930
In April of 1957 in The Linking Ring, magic historian and world renowned collector David Price submitted this story.
I had trouble finding an Emil Buckheim that matched the data Price had given. It turns out there was a typo as to the spelling of Zelmo’s real name. It was spelled Buchheim. I then found him on Find-A-Grave as Emil G Buchheim. He was born on April 27, 1871 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and he passed away on February 19, 1941 and was buried in his hometown of Sheboygan. He was 69 years of age.
One last thing about that trailer. The Linking Ring in May of 1939 had this amusing blurb. “Zelmo had a truck built like a Pullman, and knocked down the stoplight in Richmond, Ind., and was chased over into Ohio by the cops”. I guess Zelmo was always on the move!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Claude Noble and “Gypsy’s Party”

This little round “Good Luck” card is not exactly a throw-out card, but it is on heavy card stock, blank on the back, and who’s to say that they were not thrown like a “Frisbee” out to an appreciative audience. I acquired this card many years ago, and I believe it was a purchase on eBay. When I tried way back then to find out who the “Gypsy” was of “Gypsy’s Party” I hit a brick wall.

That was before the creation of the fantastic Ask Alexander database. My posts on this blog would be a single paragraph if it were not for Ask Alexander, and the access it gives to so many magic periodicals from the past, and the history contained in them.
What drew me to this card was the statement that this “Good Luck Card was touched by the Magic Wand of Howard Thurston”. The card was given out by Claude Noble who I knew to be a good friend of the late Thurston. As a matter of fact, Noble would travel from his home in Detroit to Columbus, Ohio for many years on the anniversary of Thurston’s death and hold a little ceremony at the great magician's crypt, where he tried to make contact with Thurston’s spirit. He would hold a wand in his hand and hope that Thurston’s spirit would strike it to the floor. For all of the years Noble tried, he never made contact. Below is a photo of Noble with Thurston’s brother William from the 1937 ceremony.

Claude Noble with wand, William Thurston standing.
In The Billboard for August 21, 1943, there was a mention that "Mysterious Lawrence and Claude Noble helped entertain the kiddies at Edward C. Little's 15th annual Ice-Cream Party".  Further research led to many mentions of Ed Little's annual parties in Wabash, Indiana.  In The Linking Ring in September, 1942 it stated that it began "as a neighborhood party.  Through the years it has grown to be a city-wide affair".  There would be a flag raising by members of the American Legion.  There would be a talk to the children on safety by the local chief of police, and of course there would be a magic show by various magicians over the years.

I mentioned that “Mysterious Lawrence and Claude Noble entertained at the event related to the above “Good Luck Card”.  In the May, 1972 issue of The Linking Ring this article was written.

All that is left to discover is who was Gypsy? Well Gypsy, otherwise known as Gyp was Ed Little’s small dog. “In theory it’s Gyp’s party, and the children are Gyp’s guests. Of course, the grownups come along, too, just to see the children enjoy things”, so The Linking Ring stated back in 1942. The parties went on for so many years, that when the first Gyp passed away, Ed Little continued on with the celebrations with Gyp II. Here is a photo of Ed, Gyp II , and Gyp’s guests.

From The Linking Ring for September, 1942

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Rehco – Magician Extra Ordinary

This throw-out card for a magician named Rehco has always fascinated me. The reason being, it has “Good Luck” written on the face of the card three times. On the back of the card is an advertisement for a funeral home! Is that not an interesting contrast?

When I went to research Rehco, I could find nothing on the massive magic database Ask Alexander. So I thought I would do a Google search for the funeral home as I know most funeral homes are around for years if not decades. Sure enough, this business in North Tonawanda, New York is still around and has been since 1947 and is still in the same location, and even the last four digits of the phone number are the same! Wow!
I could not find Rehco however. Then I remembered a free newspaper database that a friend told me about. It is Fultonhistory.com and has a search engine for New York state newspapers. Putting in “Rehco magician” got me two hits, and a door was opened.
North Tonawanda New York Evening News for April 3, 1953
Not only did this newspaper story tell us about a Rehco performance, but “Everyone attending will be presented a 'good luck' Rehco card”. It is not every day that a throw-out card makes the papers!
Another Tonawanda Evening News story from October 5, 1985 had an interesting article about a North Tonawanda Public Library exhibit of magic memorabilia that had belonged at one time to a deceased man whose “name was Roland Hauck and worked professionally under the name of Rehco”.
Looking up Roland Hauck gave me a number of items from several New York State newspapers. In March of 1962, this story ran which had a photo that included Roland.
From the Tonawanda Evening News for March 26, 1962.
It is amazing what was considered to be newsworthy back then. In a different story under the topic of “Fire Calls”, Mr. Hauck fainted while at church in August of 1962, and the fire department had to be summoned and Hauck was given oxygen. The story gave his age, address and lots of personal details that might be considered an invasion of privacy today.
Going back to Ask Alexander and searching for the name Hauck gave me a couple of references for a Ron Hauck being a guest of the Rochester, New York assembly of the S.A.M. This clipping for M-U-M for May of 1972 had this to say:
From what I have been able to find online, it would appear Roland E. Hauck was born on October 21, 1898 and lived most, if not all of his life in North Tonawanda, New York. He passed away in May, 1976, at the age of 77.
I did find an obituary for Roland Hauck’s wife who was named Irene. She died at the age of 64 in 1973. Her funeral services were held at a funeral home in North Tonawanda…. the same funeral home as on the back of Rehco’s throw-out card from years before.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Graupner – Gone But Not Forgotten

An interesting aspect about throw-out cards of magicians of the past is that the card may be the only surviving memento of the performer. When I decided to do some research on this particular magician named Graupner, it became quickly apparent that there wasn’t much to go on except for this simple, yet stylish throw-out card. 

Theodore Graupner was born on March 11, 1870 in Saint Louis, Missouri. From what I have been able to find, it looks like he may have had his ups and downs in his pursuit of being a magician.

In the magic magazine Mahatma for July of 1900, we find the below ad where he wants to sell some of his “Magical Goods”.

However in August of the next year, he has an even bigger ad offering a large amount of goods, and states, “Am going to quit the business”. It does not look good for Graupner.
Moving forward to September, 1904 a small blurb in The Sphinx shows he is back at it in St. Louis. It is hard to give magic up once the bug has bitten.

I found an interesting reference to Graupner from a book entitled Punch and Judy in 19th Century America: A History and Biographical Dictionary by Ryan Howard. Apparently Theodore Graupner was working as the “side show manager, orator, magic, ventriloquism, and fire act” for George W. Hall’s Two Ring Circus, Museum, and Menagerie. There is a quote: “We are in our sixth week of success. Everything is lovely around the show, and we have lost but one night on account of rain”. It looks like this quote was from The New York Clipper from June 14, 1902.

I found several more appearances in The New York Clipper of Graupner working in circus shows, even as far back as 1893. How long Graupner did side show work is anybody’s guess. However, in April, 1917 he ran another ad in The Billboard advertising “Six Side-Show Banners – Used three days: Fire King, Magician, Punch, Ventriloquist, Mind Reader, Snake, and Annex Door: complete with guy ropes, etc. They pack in a large trunk that is used for ticket stand. Price, $30, $10 cash, balance C. O. D. THEO. GRAUPNER, Valley Park, Missouri.”

Outside of these occasional advertisements in which Graupner was selling off his apparatus and effects and a few reports of his circus days, I have been able to find little else concerning his involvement with magic.

Theodore Graupner died on December 27, 1945 at the age of 75. He was buried in St. Charles, Missouri. If it had not been for Graupner’s throw-out card in my collection, it is possible that he might have been completely lost to magic’s history. I for one am glad that he was not.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Harry A. Weitzel – “America’s Leading Thimbleist”

This throw-out card is about a magician who was known for a particular specialty. I have always found it interesting because as a playing card, it is slightly smaller than average, but it has a great look to it with the image of the performer and the sewing thimbles on each side of it. The manipulation of sewing thimbles was what this magician was remembered for more than anything else.
Throw-Out Card of Harry A. Weitzel
When I started to look into the magic career of Harry A. Weitzel, I found many references to him in magic periodicals on the Ask Alexander database. He was mentioned frequently as a member of the Pittsburgh Association of Magicians during the late teens of the last century, and into the nineteen-twenties, acting for many years as their secretary.
From the Billboard for September 25, 1920
Two things about Weitzel really came through about his involvement with magic. He was very good when it came to the manipulation of thimbles, and he was incredibly shy when it came to showing it. In The Sphinx for June of 1918, the Pittsburgh Association held an annual show and they had this to say: “Next on the bill was without a question the biggest surprise that the association has ever had.  Our esteemed most bashful brother, Harry A. Weitzel, made his appearance and did several mechanical tricks, one of which was the production of a cake a la Hoover, then Harry made the hit of his life by some very clever thimble manipulation that was well worth the gracement (sic) of the Palace, New York.  Harry had them all guessing and made an appearance that would be hard to equal.”
From the Billboard for December 31, 1921
Weitzel was variously known as “Harry Thimbles”, “Baron Thimble”, and Weitzel of “Nimble Thimble” fame. Charles J. Colta referred to him as “America’s Leading Thimbleist”. The Sphinx even said about him that he “does thimbles so much that his head is getting shaped like one”. It also said that he used “the regular Woolworth Red Celluloid Thimbles”. Perhaps the oddest comment in The Sphinx stated: “Incidentally, Weitzel is still single and it looks as if he will be for some time as he spends more time practicing thimble manipulations than he does making love”. I thought that was an odd and maybe inappropriate comment for a magic magazine in 1922!
While Weitzel’s prowess with the thimbles was well documented, trying to find out anything about his personal life outside of magic has come up empty. The Harry A. Weitzels I have found in my available resources, I could not confirm for sure which one was really him. I guess Weitzel, as a magician, left us with one last mystery to ponder.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Richards the Wizard – He Truly Deceived

The art of magic is all about mystery and deception. The life of Ralph Richards is somewhat of a mystery, and he took the deception part a little too far. He did have a great looking throw-out card however, as can be seen in the two variant examples below. The cards were glued into a scrapbook and as such, I do not know if they are identical on the back of each card, or if one might have been blank. I am going to assume they were the same.
Richard’s life and career has fascinated more than a couple of magic historians, probably due to the fact that so little can be found on him. His real name was either Ralph Alanson Ennes/Ennis or Ralph Bruce Ennes/Ennis. I have found references to both names. I don’t know when he was born, but it looks like maybe he was from Detroit, Michigan from the following clippings from M-U-M for membership in the S.A.M.
From M-U-M magazine for June 1919

From M-U-M for May 1921
In The Sphinx for October, 1914, T. J. Crawford states: “Recently I had the pleasure of meeting and witnessing the performance of “Richards the Wizard”. He has the largest exclusive magic show that has been through the South since Thurston’s tour two years ago.” J. P. Ornson of Buffalo N. Y.  writing in The Sphinx for June, 1922 had this to say: “Richards the Wizard was here and is gone, but he left a wonderful impression. His advance agents plastered the entire East side with devils, ghosts, question marks, and flashy paper announcing the coming of Richards”. “When he made his first bow to a Buffalo audience at 8:15 that evening every seat and available standing room was occupied.” Ornson also stated: “His Crystal Gazing completely mystified his audience”.
Window Cards and a "Pitch" Book for Richards
Richards enjoyed a period of success with his two hour show composed of Magic and Crystal Gazing. The late Tommy Windsor from Marietta, Ohio wrote an article on Richards in the Linking Ring for March of 1969. Tommy stated: “I thought then (and still do) that he was one of the great magicians of the world”. According to Tommy, when Richards appeared in Marietta in 1929, Richards was having health issues, and his show was attached for back salaries for his assistants. “Richards bid them a fond adieu and walked out leaving his show on stage”.
From the Linking Ring for March 1969
Richards evidently retired from touring his show, but he was not done. This is where he decided to take the art of deception to a new level. Marquis the Magician writing in the Linking Ring in December of 1934 mentions that “Richards retired from the road to broadcast his mental act over the Mexican Station XER”. The book Border Radio written by Gene Fowler and Bill Crawford states that it was actually XEPN out of Piedras Negras, Mexico. Richards did what a lot of other fortune tellers did in those days. By broadcasting from Mexico, out of reach from U.S. law, he could have a mail-order business and listeners would send in money to have him answer their questions. He added a Dr. to the front of his name, and Ms.D., Ps.D. after it, and persuaded people to invest in numerous money-making schemes.  George Marquis added another story in the Linking Ring for August of 1936.

By now Ralph Richards was doing nothing more than running various confidence games, the promoting of the oil land above being one of them.  He tried to stay one step ahead of the law in the U.S., but of course in this case justice won out in the end. After the feds caught up with him, he did two stretches in federal prison. After Richards was released, he did one last trick worthy of his status as a great magician. He just vanished. No one seems to know what happened to him, where he ended up, or when he died.
I am going to leave you with these final words written by Tommy Windsor in that article from the Linking Ring way back in March of 1969: “Of course, Richards flourished before magic clubs really got started, but still, it seems to me that there should be more literature… or more information available on this man who had such a big show.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Uncle Ed Reno – “It’s all in the Stick”

I recently acquired this throw-out card for magician Ed Reno. It has as its back, one of the ads for the Tarbell Magic Course that is seen on a number of throw-out cards here on this site. Because it was glued into a scrapbook at one time, it has a fair amount of paper loss, and looks a little shabby. As you will learn in this post, the look of this card fits Reno rather well.
Reno was born Edward Munn Burdick on August 23, 1861 in Baldwinsville, New York. Like so many others, he got his start in magic while young by apprenticing to a magician. Reno was paid about a dime a day, and learned the ropes of being a magician. By the time he was fifteen, he was on his own as a performer, and even did tours of Australia and England, with a prestigious stop at London’s famed “Egyptian Hall” magic theatre.
Chautauqua brochures for Ed Reno
In time Reno decided to go into the Chautauqua and Lyceum field. Chautauqua was known as “Culture under Canvas”. It was a form of entertainment that traveled from town to town, setting up under a tent, presenting a week’s worth of lectures, concerts, plays, and vaudeville type entertainers. There was a different presentation each night. Lyceum was essentially the same thing, but was done in theatres in the winter. Reno went into this field and remained in it for many years.
A Chautauqua poster for Ed Reno (Author's collection)
Life on the Chautauqua circuit was not easy, as you were constantly travelling to the next town, setting up and tearing down your show, and always on the move. While many magicians excelled at this life, it would seem that it was a little tougher for Reno. While everything I have read says Reno’s magic shows were excellent, they were not without their issues. It was said that Ed Reno’s personal appearance and his apparatus were somewhat shabby. His clothes were often unclean and unkempt, and his props were beat up and looked like he made them himself. Instead of a magic wand, Reno used a rung from a chair and called it his stick. When asked how he did his wonders, he replied, “It’s all in the stick”. One report said that at the end of his performance, he would set his suitcase under his table and sweep his props into it with his arm!
All indications though, seem to reflect highly on his ability to give a good show, and he was well respected by his peers in magic. Magicians liked him so much, that he was fondly referred to as “Uncle Ed Reno”. One of his featured tricks was the “Egg Bag” trick in which an egg mysteriously appears and disappears in a cloth bag. Reno’s egg bag exists to this day, as I was able to purchase it at a magic auction several years ago.
Ed Reno's Egg Bag
Ed Reno died on April 2, 1949 in Kankakee, Illinois where he had lived for many years. He was 87. I am indebted to magic author David Meyer who wrote a fine article on Ed Reno in July 2013 in the pages of Magic magazine. I learned a great deal about Reno from his story.
I feel that the beaten and worn throw-out card above is a fitting remembrance of the rough and tumble career of the man who had such a long and strenuous journey as a professional magician…. “Uncle Ed Reno”.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Grover George – What Might Have Been

This story is about a magician who was on the cusp of greatness, but was thwarted by the man behind the “Wonder Show of the Universe”. Because of that, original stone lithograph posters of George are some of the easiest to find today. I will not go into great detail on the life of Grover George, as many others have done an excellent job on the internet and elsewhere, but here are a few pieces of trivia.

A brochure used by Grover George
Like so many other magicians before and after him, Grover George had a throw-out card. On heavy card stock, it has a blank back. While not overly elaborate, I’m sure the card served its purpose well. It wished everyone “Good Luck” too!
Grover George Throw-Out Card
Grover G. George was born on August 18, 1877 in Zanesville, Ohio. I have a particular interest in George, as I live between Zanesville and Columbus, Ohio, which was the birthplace of Thurston the magician. More about Thurston in a moment.

It looks like George developed an interest in magic at an early age. Unlike most, however, he parlayed that interest into a professional career as a magician. He met with success as can be attributed to this remembrance by M.S. Mahendra in The Linking Ring of April of 1939: “George sells his magic with a capital S. Here is one of the best magic acts on the road today. The marvelous thing to me about George is the way he works big magic and illusions, with only his wife to assist. Twenty years ago I saw Grover George at the National Theatre, Chicago, with a full evening show. This was before he toured South America. He has the most beautiful equipment ever.”
George doing thimble magic and a broadside for his show
Somewhere along the way, George decided to attempt the big time. He contracted with the Otis Lithograph Company to have a series of beautiful posters made proclaiming himself, “The Supreme Master of Magic” The posters stated it was his “Triumphant American Tour” with “18 People” and a “Car load of Scenic Effects” He attempted to contract with the leading theatres to showcase his illusion show, and that’s when Thurston stepped in.
Otis Lithograph posters for Grover George
Thurston was the biggest name in magic in America at the time and he proceeded to threaten the theatre managers who booked George. He told them that if they took on George, then he would not perform in their theatres. George attempted, with the help of his father (who was an attorney) to fight Thurston legally, but he was no match for the “World’s Greatest Magician”. So instead of continuing the fight, George decided to switch continents. He traveled to South America. Grover George went on to become fairly successful in South America, so much so in fact, that he moved there for the rest of his life.

Due to his move to Latin America, he was not able to use those beautiful Otis posters, announcing that American tour. They languished in a barn in Berlin, Wisconsin for many years until being bought up and dispersed to dealers and collectors around the world.
Grover George, the “Supreme Master of Magic” from Zanesville, Ohio, died in Sao Paulo, Brazil on September 14, 1958. He was 71.


From Billboard, 1930: