Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Man Known as Ace -- and Other Names

Continuing to work through the treasures from the Swedish Magic Archives and, as promised in the post about Öberg's Playing Cards, I turned my attention to this wonderful piece, featuring another nice Öberg back.   Unfortunately, the card portrays an Illusionisten (Swedish for magician) identified only as "Ace."  As any magic historian can tell you, trying to search the word "ace" in a magic literature is a fool's errand.   So, I turned to Christer Nilsson, curator of the collection for more information.

Christer advised that "Ace" was a Swedish magician born in 1929. His given name was apparently Bengt Nilsson (no relation to Christer, but the two were friends) and, in addition to being known as "Ace," he began performing as "Big Ben," then "Lester" and eventually employed the incongruous moniker "Ken Miller." Christer describes Ace as "a great manipulator" who performed, beginning around 1970 as "The Millionaire and his Funny Money," and spent a year in 1974 performing in Asia, including Tokyo, Bangkok, Hong-kong, Singapore, Djakarta and Thailand.  Ace sold some effects to Tannen's and Davenports and published routines in several magic magazines.  The April 1972 issue of Magigram featured a routine called "Everything Happens for Ken Miller," with photos by Lewis Ganson.

A posting on Christer's website reveals that Bengt Nilsson died on August 27, 2009 in Stockholm.

Thanks to Christer for the chance to feature this interesting piece and performer!

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