Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The “E’s” of Writing About Throwing Cards

Sometimes it’s not so easy. I took a stroll into the “E” section of my collection looking for something interesting to write about and came upon two cards. One is for Everetto the Magician and the second is for The Great Ellar. Their cards are pictured below. 

Of course I went immediately to the Conjuring Arts Research Center’s “Ask Alexander” and searched for Ellar. I came up with nothing. So, I searched for Everetto and what did I discover…nothing again. So, undaunted I went out and asked the Internet. Still nothing on Everetto except a reference to a Civil War soldier whom I’m sure wasn’t doing card tricks while dodging Yankee or Rebel bullets.

On Ellar, however, I got a hit – several in fact and one that just appeared this past weekend! One of the lots from the recent Potter & Potter auction of items from the John Henry Grossman and Nelson Nicholson collections was an 8” x 10” photo of “The Great Ellar” in a full-body photograph of him chained and handcuffed. A little further clicking and he came up again during a past Martinka auction where his business card was offered, once again featuring him in chains.

Nowhere on his scaling card does it mention escapes. In fact, this self-proclaimed “Master Magician” touted as one of his attributes, “Advertising.” Advertising? Well, there’s “Entertaining” too, and of course, he was a “European and Oriental illusionist.” Who wasn’t? Readers will probably not be surprised to learn that I appeared before Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral Castle back in the 1890s and so, from now on, shall henceforth be referred to as, “Blogger to the Queen.”

The front of Ellar’s card features Poseidon (I suppose from the trident) with little devils cavorting amidst magic tricks. The back is a typical bridge card design of a lovely young woman in hat and short skirt. Everetto’s on the other hand, features a front that squeezes every possible magical image on to the card while an angel waves her magic wand. It does not feature a playing card back but rather a puzzle in which the holder can determine the opposite of what he or she would expect their wife of husband to be. It didn’t work for me but readers may try it themselves and if you solve it, post it on the site. And, the riddle clearly places this card prior to 1914.

If anyone has more information on either of these folks, jump on in, the water’s fine.



  1. Terrific post, Tom! I was fooling around with the names and I found something that might be a clue. The Sphinx for Dec. 1917 carried an effect entitled "Everetto's False Shuffle" written by some named Clayton W. Rosencrance, who apparently invented and perhaps even manufactured some effects in that period. Could Rosencrance be Everetto?

  2. During my tenure at Tannens in the early 19080's a young lady walked in the shop and asked for the manager. I showed up. She showed me pics of her grandfathers Magic, The Great Ellar, that had just passed away. The collection consisted of 3 very large fireglobes, some early handcuffs and publicity material. Of course I quickly dispersed it then