Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Loring Campbell

Alexander Loring Campbell was born on March 19, 1905 in Sapulpa, Oklahoma where in just a few short years, the senior A.L. Campbell and his wife Byrd closed the drug store, packed up their belongings, and had their son comfortably set up in the back seat of the family car for the long trip to Southern California. Loring’s first exposure to magic was watching a group of Japanese performers known as the Ten’ichi Troupe of magicians. It wasn’t long after that Loring tapped by the “Goddess of Magic” and she didn’t let go.

  Whether it was entertaining classmates, or working a summer performance in full make-up in a polka dotted suit being billed as “Cambello the Clown”; Loring was fulfilling his destiny to become a full-fledged, professional magician.
After his schooling, Loring captured the attention of the managers of the Redpath-Horner Chautauqua circuit. He was contracted to work a twenty-five week tour. The only condition he had to agree to was being billed as magician Jack Gwynne. Gwynne wasn’t able to complete his contract and it was too late for the management company to alter the advertisements that were in the hands of every place Loring was to perform. So, taking everything in the old adage “the show must go on”, Loring Campbell was “Jack Gwynne”.

 A little known fact in magic history was when in 1929, Howard Thurston was searching for “one more traveling company” to take another one of his sponsored shows out along with his own show, and the Dante and Tampa show; Loring was also in the running. He readily declined, just as McDonald Birch, Werner "Dorny" F. Dornfeld, George Marquis and  Jack Gwynne. This time, Thurston has decided the name for the magician under the Thurston banner would be "Faust the Magician". All declined for the similar reasons; they wanted to keep their name and they their own performance style. When the International Brotherhood of Magicians was founded, Loring joined and was member number twenty-two. He did all that he could to find more members to join this newly established society of magicians wherever he traveled. Loring wasn’t alone in this life adventure, his wife Kathryn was at his side working in the show, on the show, and keeping the show going for many years. Kathryn kept the bookkeeping details kept the rabbits fed, and made sure Loring was on top of his game wherever they performed.

They toured throughout the United States dozens of times. Audiences and managers alike praised their magic shows. Loring included numerous effects from sleight of hand, to a presentation of the guillotine, and he would also include escapes. Their two-hour show would change every year and Loring would keep in touch with magic dealers and include whatever the latest effects were popular. He would also update his brochures and posters making sure he would keep the attention on the idea of fun for the entire family. 

How could you pass up
seeing this show?
       Whether Loring was performing his noted ventriloquist act with his sidekick, Johnny Applewood, or he stepped up to the artist’s easel and created wonderful rag pictures for all to enjoy; Loring had found his life’s dream and it did come true. He was a member of Los Magicos of Hollywood, Society of American Magicians, and he was a member of the Hollywood Comedy Club. 

           Loring wrote a column for the Tops Magazine titled “The Campbell Caravan” that was enjoyed by all its subscribers. He was elected into the Society of American Magicians Hall of Fame. Loring wrote two books This is Magic in 1945 and Magic That Is Magic in 1946. He retired from the stage in 1955. Kathryn passed away in 1958. Loring continued his interest in magic always there helping other performers and keeping in touch with magic friends he had met for the many years he was on the road. Loring passed away on January 11, 1979.

No comments:

Post a Comment