Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Taking Stock

This posting is about the elder statesman of Cincinnati, George Stock who, during his colorful career was the spark plug for magic in the Queen City and led a colorful and fulfilling life. He also had two scaling cards (at least in my collection) and they are presented for your enjoyment.

 New Fan (Introduced 1892)

Racer No. 2 ( Introduced 1906) 

Stock was born about 1865 and there is no record of how he became interested in magic but when he did, he went into it with a passion. Stock’s name first pops up in magic magazines in September 1907 when Houdini’s Conjurors Magazine reported that at a meeting of Cincinnati magicians, the subject of forming a Cincinnati Society of Magicians was discussed. The group included Stock, Marcus Shopper, Weismann, Schwendler and others. The result was the club was formed with Frank Lindsley elected president, Stock elected vice-president, Gustave Schwendler, secretary and Mr. Weisman, treasurer.

Stock next surfaces in April 1909, when The Sphinx references him performing magic at Sedamsville, Ohio. He was identified as one of Cincinnati’s greatest magicians. At some time Stock took over the presidency of the club and held that position for 34 years. Accounts of club activities showed him to be a very active performer and organizer.

He has the distinction of being one of a very few magicians who got to present a full-evening show to Thurston. This took place April 2, 1920, at the Lyric Theater in the city. Stock had his photo taken with Thurston congratulating him which he featured on one of his scaling cards. It also advertised his availability for stage parties, smokers, conventions, drawing rooms, etc.

When Sawing a Woman was all the vogue in the 1920s with Goldin and Selbit trying to outdo each other in the theaters, Stock came up with his own unique approach called “Sawing a Girl in Two in a Barrel.” When magician Alvin Plough was the public relations director for radio station WLW, he had Stock present the illusion on the air before a live audience. Plough described for listeners what was taking place. The illusion was later featured at Coney Island, Cincinnati’s local amusement park on Toepfer Day, July 29, 1922. Plough was the publicity director for the park and promoted it widely. On the day of the presentation, the park experienced its biggest one-day crowd.

Stock also had a column in The Sphinx in the 1920s called “Cincinnati Notes” where he reported on all things magical in the city. In July 1933, Stock resigned as president of the club and he returned to his business of manufacturing amusement devices, toys and magic apparatus. Records show he was also superintendent of the Newsboys’ Protective Association. In 1940, Stock and his wife Mary retired to the Masonic Home but he kept busy with his magic as well. Apparently his father was a well known magician in Germany although I have no details on that. He passed away January 6, 1957 at the age of 91, another colorful character in our crazy quilt of magic.


1 comment:

  1. Stock was doing magic well before that. The Cincinnati Enquirer of 2/14/1891 describes a program at a Knights of Pythias meeting: "Mr. George W. Stock was the last on the programme. He is Cincinnati's prestidigitator, and his tricks were simply marvelous. His mind-reading and slate-writing tricks were loudly applauded."