Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Blogger reports that after nearly four years, and more than 200 high-quality posts with beautiful illustrations, Propelled Pasteboards has garnered more than 100,000 views. Pretty amazing for our little corner of the web. Thanks to all of our readers for stopping by so often. Please let your friends know to stop by and look around sometime.
Below are our dozen most popular posts at this time, along with the number of hits on that page, in descending order. It's a wonderfully eclectic mix -- there is no accounting for taste. Who would have thought, for example, that Leslie Guest would come in at number one, garnering more than twice the number of hits as Harry Houdini? But each is special in its own way, and all are worth a second look.
You can click on any of them to view the posting. And please remember there are hundreds of other pages on the site, so make sure to look around a little!
Monday, July 27, 2020
|Possibly the earliest (and only) playing card Karrell used to advertise.|
|Karrell and Duke Stern searching for another laugh at Abbott's Get Together Conventions in Colon, Michigan.|
|Kornfidentially...everybody loves Karrell Fox!|
|Here are few samples of Karrell's early advertising|
|Karrell "Kornered" the market on Korn!|
|Zounds! Yet, another persona! Yes, indeed!|
Monday, June 1, 2020
This item, though not a throwing card, is close enough for the story I'd like to share. Printed on cardstock with rounded corners and a poorly-superimposed image of the performer wielding the famed billiard balls and a contemporary magician's table, it is a promotional children's show ticket, presumably given out for free (but the parents would certainly have to pay to get in). Thanks to my friend and fellow historian Michael Claxton, I know that the featured performer, Frank Owens Harrell was born in Georgia in April 1867, and settled in Waltham and Newtonville, MA.
In 1906, The Sphinx noted:
F. O. Harrell, the Musical Magician, of Waltham, Mass.,has worked his magic wand to good advantage, as he has just completed four handsome houses of two flats each in Waltham. Mr. Harrell issues a very attractive announcement of his entertainmentAdditionally, I found several a few Chautauqua-type references to Harrell. But those halcyon days would come to a halt when the nation fell into the depths of the Great Depression. The other piece I acquired was the following letter typed on cheap onionskin. The accompanying photo appears to have been clipped from a two-color brochure. Yet, it is the most poignant piece in my collection, and its threadbare appearance is part of its story:
Harrell died on Halloween 1945 - three years after typing that letter.
Even for those capable of working wonders, the world can be a tough place.
Sunday, May 17, 2020
And, yet, no one has ever heard of him. Go ahead, look him up in some magic reference books. I'll wait. . . .
November 1942. Young Norwegian Anne Eriksen returns to a small boarding-house in Dalsland, Sweden near the Norwegian border, where she has spent the summers during her childhood. The boarding-house is run by Ruth Lind and her helpful but unfortunate son Evert. It is very close to the German occupied Norway and the surroundings are far from peaceful and quiet. Who should you trust, who should you distrust?
A few episodes are available online. Research reveals that Martyn appears in episodes 4, 5 and 6. Notwithstanding my inability to understand Swedish, I was able to scroll through several episodes and find the real-turned-pretend conjurer producing a playing card, as captured in the screen shot below:
|Topper Martyn (right) as Harry Hadley, producing a |
card during an episode of "Rød Snø."
Another mystery solved!
Interestingly, IMDB reports that Martyn appeared in two other Swedish productions in the early 1980s, as well as 1957 BBC sitcom about a stagehand entitled "Call Boy," which also had an episode featuring British magician David Berglas.
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
I always associated him with escapes since that was the image that I most frequently came across but he was much more. He was inspired in his magic by Neil Foster and Karrell Fox who both suggested he become a generalist magician rather than a specialty act. He also became close friends with Doug Henning, Gene Anderson, Abb Dixon, Ormand McGill and David Copperfield.
His skills and abilities ranged from performing excellent close-up magic, illusions, fire eating and escapes to name just a few. Loomis wrote a monthly column in M-U-M "A Magician Prepares" than ran from January 2009 to January 2013. He also wrote a column about Doug Henning titled, "The Skinny Kid With the Overbite."
He traveled extensively doing school assembly shows and his first performance came in 1959 while still in high school himself. He continued to perform all types of magic and escapes while attending college and graduated with a double major in English Literature and Psychology. Loomis also appeared with Foster, Monk Watson and Wayne Wissner at the Ramsdell Theater in Manistee, Michigan in a show called "Cavalcade of Magic. Not fond of the Vietnam War, Loomis graduated and spent time working in a medical center to avoid the draft.
He became a full time magician in 1970 and offered his own show, appearing mostly in the Michigan area. Eventually he moved west and ended up working with Stan Karmien and his Magic Capades show. Later he bought the show from Kramien and toured it himself from 1977 to 1979. Apparently he also had a lucrative side business running concession stands for fairs and festivals. He published a book on Cups and Balls and also sold illusion plans.
Loomis passed away April 26, 2013 at the age of sixty-nine. Dale Lorzo, then the California Deputy for the the S.A.M. conducted the broken wand.
The previous January he appeared on the cover of M-U-M with an accompanying profile which credited him for his contributions to magic. Content for this posting comes from his obituary written by Dale Lorzo, Mike Close, former editor of M-U-M, and Monk Watson in TOPS.
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Take, for example, this fine specimen for "Gordon Wesley & Co.", a magic troupe with a "Booker" named Edith Wesley. Some collector used a pencil - yes, that old technology - to record the name "Waite" on the face of the card, which helped significantly in figuring out this item's significance.
Billboard reported in 1938 that "MR. AND MRS. JOHN W. WAITE and sons, Cortland and Richard, of Gloversville, N.Y., have built and routined an hour’s show which they are presenting in New York State churches, schools and clubs under the billing of Gordon Wesley and Company." Seems like we're onto something.
In January 1938, Linking Ring also reported this information, adding that the show, ran an hour and, as reflected on the card, was called "Modern Miracle." "Mr. Waite and son Cortland are the performers, Richard Waite stage assistant, and Mrs. Waite pianist," Linking Ring reported. "The show has plenty of flash, and is being booked constantly." Later that year, Linking Ring announced that
"the Waite family was going to Los Angeles, California to make their home" and they'd be billing under the Gordon Wesley moniker.
Hugard's Magic Monthly reported in 1956 on 19th New England Magic Convention where "Dick Waite" was deemed the Best of the Acts presented. Intermittent reports in the late 1950s through early 60s about Dick Waite, often referred to as Boston's "bundle of atomic energy," performed in various nightclubs and magic venues, did a turn in the army, offered children's matinee performances at theaters running Bugs Bunny cartoons and worked at Holden's Magic Shop.
In 1974, MUM contained an Assembly Report indicating:
At a recent Assembly meeting in Boston, for the after-business meeting entertainment, there they were on stage all lined up, the equipment seemed very familiar, could it be??? Yes, it was Dick Waite’s old props but with the son of Dick Waite on stage center waving his wand and making the milk vanish, the silks change, and of course the same two Hippety-Hop Rabbits just as they were back some 20 years ago. . . . Dick Waite, Jr. you did fine in your premiere performance before the Assembly. Keep up the good work. . . .
Friday, April 3, 2020
Bowyer was borh in Wolverhampton, England June 15, 1902. He died in Toronto, Canada November 25, 1949, and during his short 47 years on earth he accomplished a great deal. Perhaps his dearest friend was Sid Lorraine, Canadian magician and magic icon. For more than 26 years they carried on a constant relationship both in writing and in person discussing magic, designing magic, debating magic and arguing about it, but never with rancor but always with kind friendship. His scaling card features a coat of arms with top hat, wand, cane and a playing card with a ribbon beneath that reads, "Deceiver Deluxe." It also promotes Vogue playing cards and especially the 831 back design of a black scotty dog in plaid scarf and tam.
Tom Bowyer Sid Lorraine
Bowyer came to Canada at a very early age with his parents and his first job was as an office boy for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Vancouver. Lorraine didn't know when his friend first became interested in magic but speculated that Bowyer's friendship with Allan Lambie, another well known Canadian magician set the hook. A 1921 issue of The Sphinx noted that (let's call him Tom from now on) Tom was reported to be the secretary of Vancouver Society of Magicians. Sid and Tom first met in 1923 after Bowyer traveled east to Montreal and then on to Toronto.
The local Toronto magic club was called "The Order of the Genii" and when Tom turned up there he wowed club members with a polished 10-minute act featuring cigarette manipuilations followed by an hour of close up magic. While in Toronto Tom met a lovely young woman named Margurite Warren and when she moved to Winnepeg, Tom moved after her and they married March 29, 1924.
It was as a book reviewer for The Linking Ring that Bowyer was best known and for years he reviewed books with his monthly column titled, "Book Reviews by Number Eleven." According to Sid, Bowyer was particularly good at reviewing submissions because he actually read every word of every book and actually learned the material and tried it out on audiences and other magicians to determine if the effects played as well as the authors promised.
Tom published a number of great effects which ran in The Linking Ring and many of them were designed to be performed for children. He also contributed articles to The Jinx, Hugard's Magic Monthly, and others. His "Tom Bowyer Repeat Bill Trick" was carried by magic dealers everywhere. Perhaps his most famous creation was "The One Man Impossibility" a card/mental effect that was sold by Thayers and directly from Tom.
In this effect, any spectator is summoned on stage, placed in a chair and blindfolded. A large sheet is placed over them and spectators in the audience select ten different cards (free choice) from the deck. Tom would then ask the covered spectator to name the first, second, third cards and so on until he or she had "mentally" identified each card. The medium under the sheet was not a stooge and was always 100% correct.
Tom appeared on the cover of The Linking Ring in January 1933 and was featured in a nice write-up. In 1933, Billboard Magazine magic columnist Bill Hilliar noted that Tom had just concluded 41 weeks of 15-minute programs over radio station OKY in Winnepeg. During the show Tom taught simple magic tricks and offered puzzles. He challenged anyone concerned with exposures to prove the tricks and puzzles he offered rose to that level.
Sometime in 1947 or 48 he sufferd a breathing attack that sent him to the hospital. Apparently he had Emphysema and needed lots of rest. Sid visited Tom in the hospital. Entering the room he found a steaming tea kettle beside his bed (to help with his condition) and always a joker and ever with the positive quip, Tom explained it was a new idea he had for reading sealed envelopes. Eventually his condition worsened and he breathed his last November 25th.
Writing his obituary in The Linking Ring, Sid Lorraine said, "Magic has lost one of her most loyal fans and I have lost the best friend I ever had." A quote from Tennyson closed the obituary - "God's finger touched him and he slept."
Monday, March 30, 2020
Schreiber was born in 1885 and there is no record of how he became interested in magic but the lively Minneapolis magic scene with its various magic shops and slew of local magicians must have swept him up. He was one of those magic enthustiasts who, when you search for him on Ask Alexander, comes up with pages and pages of "hits" for his appearances at local magic club meetings and shows. In "real life" he owned the Schreiber Company, a printing and loose leaf manufacuring firm.
I originally thought he had a scaling card but it turns out one was business card and the other a promotional giveaway. The business card shows Schriber doing a card trick in tuxedo and top hat and advertises his contact info and the informative note, "Alive in Minneapolis, Ask Any Policeman."
The revserve offers his services for all types of dates and asks, "Your Next Entertainment Why Not a Magician?
Of a bit more interest was his Diminishing Card Giveaway which appears as a large ace of hearts with his booking info on it and with the pass of a hand, turns into a much smaller version of the card. It came with instructions on the back for performing this miracle.
Instructions for the Diminishing Card.
For over 25 years he was a feature act with the Shrine Merrymakers as well as performing at local clubs and lodges. He was a member of various Masonic bodies, the Society of American Magicians, The Academy of Magical Arts and Sciences and the Houdini Club of Wisconsin. Although not a member of the I.B.M. he was a big supporter and frequent performer on the local club shows. He was also an early and avid attendee at Abbott's Magic Get-Togethers.
According to magazine reports, Schreiber had a very large collection of magic and theater in his home. During a June 1950 visit to Minneapolis by Jay and Francis Marshall, Francis wrote, "If there is anything in magic that Bill doesn't have in that basement theater of his, we couldn't name it." This included lovely bound volumes of magic magazines which he bound himself at his company.
According to one report, Schreiber must have levitated the famous actress and TV star Arlene Dahl, although it must have been when she was a youngster as her pay was only $5.00. The article noted she likely wouldn't admit to the levitation if asked at the time.
Throughout the early 1940s he appeared both as himself as as "Chin Low, Chinese Magician," a portrayal of Asian magicians that many consider inappropriate today, but which was in great fashion years ago. In February 1946 he sent a the TOPS Magazine, a photo of a 24-sheet billboard announcing his appearance in Winnepeg. It was likely a billboard for the Shrine show and not his personal billboard. In 1942 he registered for the draft as World War got underway. At the age of 57 it is unlikely he served.
Schreiber died January 22, 1957 at the age of 71. Obituaries appeared in The Linking Ring and TOPS Magazine and remarks about him were glowing. In TOPS they wrote, "Magicdom lost an enthusiastic devotee in the passing of William G. Schreiber. Known to many Magicians all over the country for his bubbling personality will be missed at the various magic conclaves he was wont to attend. Particularly will this be true of the Abbott Get-Togethers where he was one of the "regulars."
In The Linking Ring, a friend, noted, "many magicians will remember him for his shirt and cap made of playing cards and mouth organ, string of dollar bills with uncutting scizzors, three-foot long stocking pocketbook and his work at conventions when called upon." A one-column feature on his passing appeared in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Survivors included his wife Selma, three daughters and four brothers. After his death, his entire magic collection was purchased and put up for sale by Bert Forsythe who operated The Magic Center magic shop at 1411 West Lake Street. He placed an ad to this effect in The Linking Ring.