Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Milo Lum – “The Social Mystifier”

According to an internet dictionary that I use, a “Renaissance Man” is “an outstandingly versatile, well-rounded person”. If that term could ever be used for one of our subjects here on Propelled Pasteboards, it would be for Milo Lum.
Lum’s throw-out card is rather simple, what with the rabbit-in-hat design on the face and a common Fox Lake Blue back. Rather than get new cards made, Lum typed in that he was a “Past” President of the Hawaii Magicians Society, and typed in a new address and phone number. It also stated that he was a World War II USO Magician.
From the Honolulu Star-Bulletin for December 16, 1949.
In an article Lum wrote in The Sphinx for June of 1933, he calls himself “The Social Mystifier”. He writes about the formation of a new magic club in Hawaii.
A Sphinx article from June 10, 1933 and a newspaper photo from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
When I went to research him in the magic magazines, I found a number of references to him, but not anything of special interest. I felt that maybe there was not enough about him to have much, other than his card to write about. Well I was wrong about that!
I thought I would next try the newspaper database I use. When I typed in Milo Lum, which is not an ordinary name, I got 3,534 matches. So I thought I would narrow it down to his home state of Hawaii. I still got 3,511 matches! That was when I discovered Milo Lum made his name well known on the island state.
From the Honolulu Star-Bulletin for July 8, 1933 and March 1, 1947.
I could not even begin to read every reference to Milo Lum in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser as it would take days, if not weeks to do. Lum was constantly mentioned. There were articles on all of his various activities and endeavors. Besides being a magician, he owned a dance studio, managed a softball team, and was a member of many organizations. Not only did he perform USO shows for American troops during World War II, he also donated blood, and placed ads in the newspaper encouraging others to do the same.
From the Honolulu Star-Bulletin for April 15,1944.
When Milo Lum married in 1946, naturally there was a big write-up in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Over eight hundred guests attended the wedding, and at the reception, the magician Tenkai as well as other magicians from Honolulu performed a magic show. The marriage did not last however, and that was addressed in the newspaper too.
From the Honolulu Advertiser for May 11, 1949.

Milo Lum was born on April 15, 1909 either in China or Honolulu depending on which newspaper article you are reading. He died on November 6, 1990. His obituary in the Honolulu Advertiser was very short.

In his later years, Milo Lum was very active in writing letters to the editor of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. They were usually short comments on subjects he was concerned about, whether political, social, or just current events. I will end this story with a very nice final write-up by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin after his death. We should all be so lucky to live such an active and full life as Milo Lum, “The Social Mystifier”.
From the Honolulu Star-Bulletin for November 21, 1990.

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