Thursday, November 22, 2018

Harry Baker

Harry Baker was born in Chicago and raised in the entertainment field. His father was a professional acrobat. Baker was once known as the “White House Magician” in the late 1930’s as well as performing for President Harry Truman. Baker received the rank of army captain and earned a Commendation for his knowledge in the U.S. Army Film Laboratory. He was the past president of the Washington Assembly No. 23, an active member of the Magicians Guild (He is the first member of the Guild to win an "Oscar" in magic), and a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the past president of the Magicians Alliance of the Eastern States. Baker was also the President of the Magic Dealers Association, Atlantic Regional Vice President of S.A.M., and a chairman of the S.A.M.’s 1946 conference in Washington DC.

He won the "Caryl Fleming Trophy" with his original "Mind Reading Rabbit" effect in which, a live rabbit in an Indian basket produces a previously chosen card instead of the snake. His style of comedy and magic was original entertaining. Performed in various states on the east coast as far south as Florida and Georgia. He was always pitching the International Brotherhood of Magicians club.
Baker owned a magic shop in Washington, D.C. at 924 17th Street N.W. that he opened in 1947. The magic shop was a popular place for fellow performers and friends to drop in see Baker and his able assistant (and “Miss Magic of 1948”) Dolly Snow. The shop was a favorite spot for master magician Harry Blackstone. During one of Blackstone’s performance in D.C., magicians were always at a loss when they attempted to visit him at the theater. They would call on him and the stage manager would have to let them know, he wasn’t there. Baker finally had to tell his disappointed friends where the elusive master performer disappeared to once the show was reset for the next performance. While performing in D.C. Blackstone would drop by Baker’s shop to not only talk magic, but also was Baker’s best magic demonstrator.

Baker was known throughout the magic community for his performances, his articles (check out the article in The Conjuror’s Magazine in the 1940’s like “Eggs – Act ­– Ly), and his involvement in magic as a whole continued to fulfill his life. In 1950, Baker had a weekly fifteen-minute kid’s show sponsored by the local dairy television show on WMAL-TV, Washington. Harry Baker passed away in 1961. Baker’s assistant and “Girl Friday” Dolly Snow kept the shop open for business after his passing.

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