Thursday, January 10, 2019

John Siems “The Little Siems”

Johannes Siems was born in Copenhagen, Denmark on June 25, 1883. He was called “The Little Siems” because of his small stature. That did not slow him down when it came to a career in magic however. It was claimed that he performed for over forty million people during his lifetime. He said he did four performances at Buckingham Palace, as well as 78 weeks in four of the best known theatres in London.

A postcard of John Siems.

A review for John Siems in The Magical World for 1913.

As a young man, Siems had a number of throw-out cards produced. The following four cards all have the same back. Looking at the back of one of the cards, the cities and theatres that Siems performed in makes for quite an impressive resume.
Siems also had this card below produced which proclaims him the “King of All Mystery”. On the back of the card are four black hearts.
Siems eventually settled in the United States, and his successes continued. The Linking Ring for June, 1944 had this write up about him. Alongside it is one of Siems postcards showing some of his productions.
By the middle of the 1950’s, Siems was performing as a clown with the Shrine Circus, billing himself as “the greatest clown magician on earth”, and “who makes flowers grow right in the circus ring”.
From what I have discovered in my research, John Siems’ health began to deteriorate. In August of 1956 in Hugard’s Magic Monthly, it states that “John Siems is taking the cure at Saranac Lake”. When I looked up Saranac Lake, I discovered that it was home to a sanatorium for entertainment industry people afflicted with tuberculosis. Siems evidently never left the hospital there, as when I found his final resting place, it said that he had died on September 14, 1957. He is buried in Pine Ridge Cemetery in Saranac Lake, New York.
I will end this post with these final words from The Magician Monthly for May, 1918.
“Siems, at the Palace, Burnley, has been showing them the meaning of ‘legerdemain’, and that, in his hands, at any rate, a thing is not always what it Siems—I mean seems!”

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