Monday, June 19, 2017

Millo the Mystic

Meandering into the “M’s” of my accumulation, I came upon two cards for Millo the Mystic that were very charming. So who was Millo and why was he mystical? I turned, as always, to Ask Alexander and wasn’t disappointed.

Millo the Mystic was Charles Mills who operated the Alladin Studio in Canton, Ohio. It was apparently a magic shop and the first reference we have of Mills was in 1919 when it is noted that he helped form a club called the Magic Crafters which apparently was interested in sorcery and black magic. The club had 75 members and was associated with other clubs with a similar interest.

He had two scaling cards and they were substantial, thick-ply cards. Each featured a Roterberg back in black. In the one with the subhead “Mysteries of the Temples,” Millo is dressed in Middle Eastern garb and conjuring playing cards from a smoking brazier. On the one with the subhead “Egyptian and Hindoo Magic,” Millo is presented in a more traditional tuxedoed garb.

In 1934, Mills was involved in coordinating the Central States Magicians Convention and Picnic, a two-day affair with the usual magic lectures, stage shows and lots of parties and drinking. In fact, it seemed like there was more drinking and partying than magic. In May of 1950 The Billboard announced that Mills was assisting Jean Shepherd who headed a unit called the “Rhymettes” in putting out a 12-girl spook show. He was both designing the show and performing magic apparently.

In 1939, Mills was touring with the Buckeye State Shows and was down in Mississippi. After that tour closed he hopped over to Florida to do school shows. The only other reference to him was found in a catalog from Mario Carrandi in 1997 that lists the two cards above for $15 and $20 respectively. Mills is just one more example of a local magic fanatic who gave his all for the art.


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