Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Davis “The Man Who Mystifies”

Richard Davis, “The Man Who Mystifies” left quite an impression on his fellow magicians during his magic career. He was known for his novel presentations and unique methods in the performance of his effects. According to the write-ups in the magic magazines of his day, the reason for his methods to his tricks was due to the fact that when he got his start in magic, he had never read any magic books. He did not know how many magic tricks worked, and had to figure out how to do them. Many times, his method was a whole new way of doing the trick. Richard Davis was nothing if not clever.

From The Menasha Wisconsin Record for January 9, and The Decatur Illinois Herald for October 27, 1923
Richard Davis (1875-1933) was born and lived in New Hampshire. I found many references and ads for him in newspapers around the country. He was best known as a Chautauqua and Lyceum magician. Like all of the other magicians featured on this blog, Davis had a throw-out card. He had several as a matter of fact.
All of the above cards are on heavy card stock, and do not utilize playing card backs. The card on the top left however is laid out like a playing card, as it is reversible. It advertises the Coit-Alber Lyceum Bureau. The two cards on the top right depict one of the Harlan Tarbell cards, which have been used by many other magicians as seen on this site. The two cards on the bottom left mention the Affiliated Lyceum and Chautauqua Association on the back. The card on the bottom right is blank, and is more like a business card.
Davis passed away at the age of 57 in 1933 after a long illness that had stopped his performing. In his obituary written in The Linking Ring, they paid him the utmost compliment by saying, “Davis always performed any of the old tricks a little different with some new wrinkle or entirely new manner which marked him the genius he was in figuring out new ideas in his chosen art”. From everything I read about him, and the praise he received from his peers, it seems that Richard Davis was truly, “The Man Who Mystifies”.
From the cover of The Linking Ring for October, 1926.

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