Blackstone Days

Magician Harry Blackstone Sr.

John with Harry Blackstone Sr.

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Blackstone Days part 2

Blackstone Tour Booklet

His Lovely Assistants

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Zombie Ball

Zombie Ball circa 1970

A photograph from an article about my business in the St. Louis Dispatch.  Actually it was the biggest “article” I ever had.  I got the entire cover of the entertainment section.  It did bring some business and a letter from a representative of a Croatian lodge in St. Louis wanting me to join them.  They recognized the my name was a derivation of a Croatian name, which it is. I answered them, but never joined since it would be another day away from home.  I spent too much time traveling and away from home as it was.

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Puffed Wheat

Puffed Wheat

Puffed Wheat

Quaker puffed wheat and puffed rice invited me to appear on their Contest Carnival show from Philadelphia.   The TV show was broadcast live nationwide on Sunday mornings.    I watched every Sunday morning, wishing I could be on it.  Well, so far, nobody told me I couldn’t so I thought I’d ask them.  I contacted them and in about a week, they contacted me asking me to write a description of my act.  I knew I could pull silks out of a variety of boxes and/or tubes but they all started the same and ended the same.  It was just the amount that mattered, at least to magicians.  I owned a trick silk producing box and a silk producing tube and realized, after I wrote it down and looked at it on paper, that I needed some variety in my act.  I suppose I could have come up with a routine by producing the silks from one box and vanishing them in another.  Another problem, I only owned 3 good silks that had not been damaged from cramming them into secret compartments.  If I produced only two silks  from the tube and vanished them in the box, there would be wasted space since it could hold 3 silks.  So, I decided to show the box empty, produce two silks and put them into the tube.  Now, to show people that I owned 3 silks, I could pull it out of my pocket and wave it over the box and tube.  This would show that I owned 3 silks but no wand.  When it came to actually practicing this trick, I realized that I started with an empty box and ended up with an empty tube and nothing to show for it.

So as an alternative I thought that I could do the asrah levitation, where the girl rises into the air and disappears.  Normally this is not done surrounded, in full light with no set up time, but then I never tried it.  Also, I didn’t own the illusion.

But I did own an Abbott’s Magic catalog which sold them.  Of course I didn’t have the money to buy it and my Dad certainly couldn’t buy it.  It would be at least a month’s wages.  But so far, none of this was a problem, since I had not been booked, yet.  Once again, I got out their catalog and hand wrote the catalog description of the trick, word for word, and mailed it to them.  Within days, I got a call from asking me to appear on their show in two weeks. To review, no levitation trick, no money and no time.  And even if I had all of the above,  there’s no way that trick can be performed in full lighting, surrounded and without the usual 1 hour or more set up time.  Well, actually there was a way–it could be performed very poorly.  But then we found another way, a much better way.  (more to come)

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The Linking Ring Magazine

Linking Ring Magazine

Linking Ring, November 1967

Linking Ring, January 1967

I was on the cover of Linking Ring Magazine twice.  I was supposed to be on it for a third time, but they changed the rules.  The Linking Ring Magazine, which is the official publication of the international Brotherhood of Magicians, always put the new president of the Magic Dealers Association on the cover each year.  I was the first 3 time president, and they didn’t know what to do.  Besides, I was running out of photos.  I had the cartoon one and a more serious one which was on another cover. Now I have another photo, just in case.

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