Brief Biographies of Magic Inventors - Page A - B

Abbott, David Phelps
(1836-1934)
Magician and magic inventor who devised such effects as the Floating Ball, the Talking Teakettle and Spirit Paintings. He did not give public performances, but instead invited guests into his parlor, where he amazed them with his own original magic. He wrote Behind the Scenes With the Mediums (1907), considered to be one of the best exposures of the methods used by fraudulent psychics, and The Marvelous Creations of Josefy (1908). He also wrote The David P. Abbott Book of Mysteries, published posthumously by Walter Graham in 1977.
Abbott, Percy
(1886-1960)
Australian-born magician who emigrated to the USA. Having owned several magic supply companies in Australia in the early 1900's, he co-founded and operated the Blackstone Magic Company in Colon, MI with Harry Blackstone Sr. from 1929-31. In 1933, he opened Abbott's Magic Manufacturing Company with partner Recil Bordner. He was also publisher of TOPS magazine and creator of the annual Abbott's Get-Together Magic Convention.
Wrote: Comedy Magic, A Lifetime in Magic
You'll find many of his silk magic inventuions described in Rice's Encyclopedia of Silk Magic, and his rope effects in the Encyclopedia of Rope Tricks. A History of the Abbott Magic Company can be found HERE.
Adair, Ian
( 1943 - )
British-born magician, author and specialist in dove magic. General Manager of Supreme Magic until its closing several years ago. Inventor of over 3,000 effects; author of more than 150 magic books, including five volumes of the Encyclopedia of Dove Magic.

Some inventions of note: Chinese Folding Box, Dove-Van, Snow White Dove Production

Adams, S.S.
(1879- 1933)
Danish-born, Soren Sorenson Adams, founded Adams Magic Manufacturing (1906), which today still produces a large variety of inexpensive and easy to perform pocket magic tricks. Sam Adams, as he came to be known, invented over 650 joke shop items, including Sneeze Powder, the Dribble Glass, the Snake Can and the Joy Buzzer.
  Alan, Alan
(? - ?)
British-born as Alan Rabinowitz, he was a magician and escape artist as well as magic dealer. He invented the Burning Rope escape effect, the Decimated Coin Trick, Sharpshooter (c.1959 card trick) and more.
Alan, Don
(1926 -1999 )
Born Don Alan Mcwethy. Many magicians refer to him as the "father of modern close-up magic." He did not invent the form, but popularized it through his many TV presentations. Alan had his own television show, “Don Alan's Magic Ranch”, which aired from 1961 to 1962. It lasted thirteen episodes and had guest appearances by many of the professional magicians of the time. Figures such as Al Flosso, Richard Himber, Neil Foster, Karrell Fox, Jay Marshall, Jack Gwynne, Johnny Platt, Clarke Crandall, George and Betty Johnstone, Jimmy Reneaux, Sam Berman, Chan and Ralph Pierce, and Vic Torsbergall appeared on his show. Don took an invention of Chop Chop (Al Wheatley) called the Chop Cup, cut it down in size, and that version is now known as the Don Alan Chop Cup. He performed it on the Ed Sullivan show and suddenly magicians everywhere wanted the cut-down Don Alan version of the Chop Cup. Also created an original presentation for the Comedy Egg Can trick.
Wrote: Pretty Sneaky (1956), Don Alan's Professional Presentation of the Chop Cup ,Close-Up Time
Media: Don Alan DVD (Volume 28 - Greater Magic Series), Magic Ranch Video Tapes (13 episodes from 1961)
  Albenice, John
(1913-1957)
American club magician and author who specialized in magic with reels. He invented the Serpent Silk, and in 1941, wrote "Reel Magic." Created Rising Card Houlette on Ribbon. You'll find many of his silk magic inventuions described in Rice's Encyclopedia of Silk Magic.
Aldini
(1917-1989)
American magician (real name Alex Weiner) and author. Managed and owned magic shops from the late 1950's into the 1970's. Wrote Rough Stuff, Roughingly Yours. He invented the Aldini Bowl Production variation on the Westgate Bowl Production, Clock-A-Rama, Acroback Cards, Color-Shift, Improved Slate of Mind and more. He was a member of the Order of Merlin and I.B.M. Rings 138 (Santa Monica) and 21 (Hollywood).
Alexander
(1880 - 1954)
Claude Alexander Conlin , also known as Alexander, C. Alexander, Alexander the Crystal Seer, and Alexander the Man Who Knows, was a stage magician who specialized in mentalism and psychic reading acts, dressed in Oriental style robes and a feathered turban, and who often used a crystal ball as a prop. In addition to performing, he also worked privately for clients, giving readings. He was the author of several pitch books and New Thought pamphlets, as well as texts for stage performers. His stage name was "Alexander," and as an author he wrote under the name "C. Alexander."
Alexander was the highest-paid mentalist in the world at the height of his career, during the 1920s. He earned multiple millions of dollars during his career on stage and during his lifetime he may have been the highest paid entertainer in the field of magic.
In 1921 he wrote and published The Life And Mysteries Of The Celebrated Dr. Q , which has recently been republished. Dr. Q is a character invented by Alexander, to whom he attributes many of the effects he invented himself.

Invented many of the "Dr. Q" items produced mainly by Thayer Magic:Dr. Q's Spirit Hand, Dr. Q's Spirit Slates, Dr. Q's Visit of the Ghosts, The Master Mystery of the Whole World, The Alexander Wonder Coin Trick.

Also wrote: The Inner Secrets of Psycholgy (1924), and a booklet for his clients called Personal Lessons, Codes, and Instructions for Members of the Crystal Silence League (1925).

  Allen, Ken
(?-?)
American (New Jersey based) performer, magic dealer and inventor of Jumping Gems, Monkey-Bar, Robot Coins, Solid Brass Locket Release, Chinatown Quarter effects as well as the Soo-Zee fanning powder application tool.

In the 1940's Ken and Jim Reneaux ran a branch of the Abbott Magic Company in New York City for a brief time.

Wrote: Do It Yourself Lecture Notes (1957), T.I.P.S. (1959), What's New with Ken Allen? (1981)
Published: Allen's Attic Magazine (20+ issues between 1954 and some time in the 1960's)

  Allen, Lyman
(?-?)
American magic dealer. Inventor of Blok-Cord, The Novelty Box Selection (Jinx, 1936 summer)
Amac, Bill
(1890-1961)
A British magician who invented the Find the Lady illusion. His real name was Robert William Macfarland. Amac began to perform around 1916 in English theatres with standard feats. In 1921, he presented an original illusion, the "Elusive Lady." With this illusion, Amac toured in America for five years in Vaudeville theatres, and in 1929 made a European tour.
Anderson, Gene
(1941 - )
American magician best known for his version of the Cut and Restored Newspaper, and as an author of Newspaper Magic. He is a past board member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, and one of only six performers honored as lifetime members of the Magic Circle of Norway.
Anderson, Harry
(1952 - )
Born in Newport, Rhode Island. Although he grew up around professional gamblers and con men and early on showed an interest in magic, Harry's carrer didn't start until he caught the bug for working the three shell game around 1969 in San Francisco.Between working rennaisance fairs in the summer and hustliing on the street the rest of the time, Harry educated himself in a different kind of magic. By the mid seventies, he was working at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA. In 1980, he began working in Las Vegas, opening for musician Kenny Rogers. He is perhaps most famous for his role as Judge Harry Stone on the 1984-1992 television series Night Court.

Invented: The Last Monte, Gang of Four, The Shadow Card, The Monarch Monte (and Three Card Prince version), Cuff Links, Mish Mash Card.

Wrote: Anderson's Illusions, Eight Brass Monkeys (1982), The Shadow and Other Card Mysteries (1982), Games You Can't Lose - A Guide For Suckers ( with Turk Pipkin, 1989).

Media: HELLO, SUCKER! (Video 1985)
Book about Harry Anderson: Wise Guy by Mike Caveney, 1993

Andrus, Jerry
(1920 - 2007)
American magic inventor and author, most known for his Linking Pins, Zone Zero and The Miracle of the Yellow Ball, and many optical illusions. Author of Andrus Card Control.
Media: Jerry Andrus' A Lifetime of Magic (3 volume DVD set)

Video Link 1 Video Link 2

Andruzzi, Tony
(born Antonio C. Andruzzi 1925 - 1991)

From the 1950s to the early 1970s Andruzzi's performances were mostly comedy illusions. He adopted the name Tom Palmer and had his legal name changed to Thomas S. Palmer.

In 1970 he reclaimed Antonio C. Andruzzi as an alternative legal name. He started performing in a style known as bizarre magic. He also performed under the aliases Tony Andruzzi, Masklyn ye Mage, and Daemon Ecks.
Invented the "Satan's Seat" illusion in 1959.
Wrote (as Tom Palmer) Modern Illusions (1959), The Tie Pitch (1960), The Vampira Act (1960), Flea Act (1962), Cagy Doves (1962), The Comedy Act of and by Tom Palmer (1969).
Wrote (as Masklyn ye Mage) The Negromicon of Masklyn ye Mage (1977), Grimoire of the Mages (1980), The Legendary Scroll of Masklyn ye Mage (1983), Daemon's Diary (1984).

He was editor of the bizarre magic magazine New Invocation from 1981 to 1991.
Media: Bizarre (DVD)

Annemann, Ted
(1907-1942)

Born Theodore John Squires, adopted by Stanley Anneman, Ted added the second 'n' in 1930. Inspired at age 10 watching schoolmate do the Ball & Vase.Debut c1925 at age c18 with the Doc Kries medicine show. Invented "Window Envelope" by 1931 and "Flat Rabbit" in 1937. Pet publicity stunt: "Bullet Catching". Voted one of the 10 Card Stars in 1938, although he was uncomfortable with sleights. Voted into the New York 'Inner Circle' by 1940. Founded-edited The Jinx 1934-41 and The Sign of Exceptional Magic 1935-35 .

Best known for his contributions to the art of mentalism, he was an extraordinary card magician as well. Annemann was an extremely talented performer, but a very troubled person. Annemann was preparing an exhibition of the Bullet Catch when life became too much for him, and he committed suicide.

Manuscripts by Annemann:
The Master's Touch (1927), Card Miracles (1929), Mental Mysteries (1929), The Book Without a Name (1931), The Trick of the Month Club Presents: A Dead Name Duplication (1931), 101 Methods of Forcing (1932), Exclusive Secrets of Annemann's Conception(1932), Annemann's Test of the Tiber (1932), 202 Methods of Forcing (1933), Annemann Manuscripts (1933), Sh-h-h-h---! It's a Secret (1934), Annemann's Complete One Man Mental and Psychic Routine (1935), Annemann's Mental Bargain Effects, with Hewitt and J. G. Thompson (1935), En Rapport (1937). The Incorporated Strange Secrets (1939)

Edited posthumously:
Annemann's Full Deck of Impromptu Card Tricks (1943), Annemann's Practical Mental Effects (1944), Annemann's Miracles of Card Magic (1948), Annemann's Buried Treasures (1952), Annemann's Card Magic (1977), Practical Mental Magic (1983)

Biography:
The Life and Time of a Legend: Annemann by Max Abrams, L & L Publishing (1992)

Video Clip: http://tinyurl.com/q5o33

Anverdi, Tony
(1925 - 1995)
Born Antonius Albertus de Vries, he was a baker and amateur clown in the Netherlands, who turned his interests to magic. He first started a magic act with liquids, and later turned to using electronics.

Electronic Magic Inventions: Bolt of Lightning; Mental Die; Bionic Bunny; Talking Skull; Dial-A-Mental; Barking Dog; Poker chip Effect; Anverdi Key Box; Pad of Miracles; Surprise Box..
Liquid Magic Inventions: Wonder Tray; Universal Bottle; Wonder Ring Glass; Wonder Ring; Sigowi

Wrote: Miracles with Liquids (1965) ; Anverdi—50 Years of Magic Creation (1992)

  Armocida, Gastón
(?-?)
From Argentina (?)

Invented: Angel Killer, Armo Corner, Armo Ripper, Eraser, Ghost Hole, King Massacre, Mastermind, Soul Collector, New Flap Card System, Trap Box, Animated Revelations, Armo Box, The Lazy Joker, The King's Sword, Total Change, Card to Pocket Without Palming,

Informative Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0pVAyXdtyg

Artell, Count
(1913 - 1999)

Born Charles Glass, he developed a sophisticated style of performing magic and adopted the name (and title) of Count Artell, the Aristocrat of Magic. He started performing professionally in the 30’s in Vaudeville, later appearing with his wife Ann Lorey at leading theaters like Carnegie Hall.

Invented: Count Artell's Professional Ribbon Cut.

Published his Billiard Ball Routine in The Sphinx, December 1942. He can be seen on the videotape "Magic from MUM" where he performs and teaches a coin penetration.

  Arturo,
(1921 - 1987)

The stage name of Arthur Glen Babbs who built props for U.F. Grant and later exclusively for Abbotts. He invented Cutting a Lady In Sixths, The Mason Prediction Chest, and had patents on many others.

Astor (of Hungary)
(1962 - )
Born in Translyvania, Romania (that's right, the place where Dracula lived!) Astor now lives and works in Hungary. His first magic invention was inspired by seeing David Copperfield on TV performing the pencil through bill trick. Astor came up with his own original method and called it the Magic Pencil. His other inventions include: Astor Mental (2002), Astor Visual Ambitious Card (2004), Jumbo Mental Jackpot (2004), Zodiac Test (2006), Astor Epic (2008), and the Telekinetic Boxes (2008).

Astor has also come up with original routines and variations for: Firefly, Virtual Dice, Mental Cubes, and Magnetic Card Express.

Media: DVD The Astor Lecture- Live at FFFF 2008.

Video: Astor performs his Astor Mental effect: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaO5V_L7hB8&feature=related

Informative Web Site: http://www.astormagic.com/store/index.php

Auzinger, Max
(1839-1928)
German magician, born in Bavaria, who performed as Ben Ali Bey, and developed the Black Art act.. For seven years he was an actor in one of the Berlin theatres and as he could hardly support his family on his small salary, he looked around for something else, and seized upon the original idea of Oriental Magic. His Black Art invention was first shown in Berlin, in Castan's Panopticum where it received very little notice. Shortly afterwards the attention of Arbre was called to it, who visited the performances several times. He saw a chance of improving it and engaged Ben Ali Bey to tour with him. The first part of their performances was parlor magic. In the second part Ben Ali Bey introduced Black Art and in this representation he made his reputation.
"Ben Ali Bey's experiments were all entirely his own invention. An especially miraculous and amusing effect was produced by "The Magnetized Drawing"; in this, a skeleton drawn on a blackboard began to dance to music, and even when half of it was erased, the remaining half danced merrily on. Then there was "The Creation of Woman by the Gods of the Orient," in which a caterpillar drawn on a sheet of paper comes to life, and turns before the eyes of the audience into a cocoon from which finally a young lady appears, dressed as a tropical butterfly. An entrancing effect was "The Soap-Bubbles." Ben Ali Bey seemed to blow four gloriously-colored soap-bubbles of different sizes, which he caused by means of a fan to float hither and yon over the stage. As a conclusion, the bubbles formed themselves into a pyramid, putting a beautiful end to the effect.". - Ottokar Fischer from Illustrated Magic (1943)
Baker,Al
(1874-1951)

Legendary magician and magical inventor. He began his career in a medicine show, then later became renowned for his clever routines and ingenious magic ideas, especially in the area of mentalism. Inventor of the Al Baker Slates. Many of his silk magic effects are included in Rice's Encyclopedia of Silk Magic.
Baker , Roy
(1921 - 2006)
Stage name of Geoffrey R.H. Hursell, a British magician living in Kent, hypnotist and mentalist, also known for his comedy magic. Roy was also a magic dealer for many years, eventually selling his business to Supreme Magic in 1976.
Invented PATEO (Pick Any Two, Eliminate One) Force, Flap Doodle Bag (Tear- Apart Change Bag), Blindfold Discovery, The Big Clock, Ring That Bell, and many more.

His magic is described in the following books: Baker's Bonanza by Hugh Miller (1968) , Yell-up for Kids (1977), Baker's Brainwaves (1981), Baker's Capers (1983), Baker's Dozen by Hugh Miller.
  Balducci, Edmund Mariano
(1906-1988)
New York City magician for whom the popular Balducci Self-Levitation principle is named, and inventor of the Balducci Wallet.
Bamberg, David Tobias
(1904-1974) a.k.a. Fu Manchu
Seventh generation magician. Son of Theo (Okito) Bamberg. Born in Great Britain, raised in the U.S. Gained much of his experience touring with the Raymond show, doing a Shadowgraphy act. Later toured with his own show, as Fu Manchu, with most of his work in South America, particularly Argentina.
Many of his illusions were built by his chief mechanic and First Assistant, Edmund Spreer, and exactly who invented what is often confusing.
In collaboration with Edmund Spreer, invented the Isis Illusion (variation of Chung Ling Soo's Mahatma Illusion), The Chinese Strangulation Rack, Variation on the Book of Life Illusion, The "Little Stinkhouse", Fu Manchu Cremation, Modified Triangle Illusion, Fu Manchu Spirit Cabinet, Canvas Covered Trunk Substitution, The Monkey Cage (Gorilla Vanish), The Robot, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Fan Illusion, The Chinese Bazaar, The Girl Fropm the Light, The Geisha Illusion, Fu Manchu Duck Vanish, The Lantern Illusion (Atomic Woman).
Wrote: Illusion Show - A Life in Magic, published posthumously in 1991.
Bamberg, David Leendert
(1786-1869)
Third generation magician. Son of Eliaser. Holland-born. Began his career as assistant to his father, but later had great success on his own. Most known for his Egg Bag routine, with the climax being the production of a live chicken from the bag. He inherited from his father (Eliaser or Eliazar Bamberg) the vaulting figure automata made by Opre, with whom David was well acquainted, according to Houdini in his 1908 book "The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin."

Credit: Photo from Houdini's 1908 The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin, and sent to us by Mark Damon.

Bamberg, David Tobias
(1843-1914)
Fifth generation magician. Son of Tobias. Holland-born. Like his father and grandfather, he became court magician to Holland's Royal Family. Father of "Okito."
  Bamberg, Eliaser (or Eliazar)
(1760-1833)
Second generation magician Eliazer was the son of Jasper Bamberg, also born in Holland. His unfortunate loss of a leg during wartime turned into an advantage after he had his false leg specially fitted with secret compartments. He performed under the name of "Le Diable Boiteux", or "The Cripple Devil." He presented a vaulting figure automata constructed by a master magic technician of the era known only as Opre (who died in 1846).
  Bamberg, Jasper
(1698 - 1780)
The original Bamberg, born in Holland. Like many of his contemporaries, he not only performed sleight-of-hand magic but occult magic as well. In his day, he was considered an alchemist and necromancer.
Bamberg, Theo
(1875-1963)
Sixth generation magician. Son of David Tobias. Holland-born, named Tobias Leendart Bamberg. His wife gave him the nickname "Theo" because she didn't like people calling him "Toby." Became famous as Okito, performing a silent act as an Oriental magician to compensate for the fact that he was deaf. Also originated a number of magic effects, including the Okito Coin Box and the Vanishing Wand (using shells) 1887. He invented the vanishing wand trick at the age of 12 as a practical joke to fool his father. It has since become a standard.
Also invented Tray and Eight Glasses, Block Illusion, Okito Mat Production, Okito Duck Production, Okito Tea Canister Mystery, Multim In Parvo (not the liquid trick, but a box production by the same name), Okito Floating Ball (after David Abbott), Okito's Bowl of Gobi, Okito Card Mystery, Okito Handkerchief Tray, Scare Mask and Cabinet, Break-Away Casket, Disappearing Bowl of Water, Ming Toy, The Mandarin's Dream, Oho!, Barehand Silk Production, Silks and Soup Plate, Okito Glass and many others.
Wrote: (With Robert Parrish) Okito on Magic (1951)
Bamberg, Tobias
(1812-1870)
Fourth generation magician, Tobias was son of David Leendert. Holland-born. As was his father, he was court magician to Holland's Royal Family. His fluency in four languages made him very successful.
Belcher,Len
(1912 -?)
British magician and mentalist. Invented: 20th Century Sympathy, The Mixture, Do-It-Yourself Box, The Temple of Justice, Tombola, Wun Fang and His Golden Coin (1957) and many more.
Wrote: Best of Belcher (1980), Mixed-Up Menu, Len Belcher on Two-Person Mentalism (1974)

7/30/09 - Credit for discovering Belcher's connection to Wun Fang and His Golden Coin goes to Julie Thomas, of the Magic Cafe, who found his name on the original instructions. Apparently Harry Stanley was manufacturing them and selling them in England, and James Swoger was given the rights to sell them in the USA.

  Bennett, Doug
(? - ?)
American magic inventor of effects like Criss Cross Cards and BewildeRing; author.
Benson, Roy
(1914 - 1977)
Born Edward Emerson Ford McQuaid in Courbevoie, France, he was a proficient musician, a close-up magician and magical stage comedian. His mother was Dora Ford of the Four Fords and The Ford Sisters of Vaudeville fame. His father was Edward Emerson McQuaid of Vaudeville's Juggling team, Emerson and Baldwin.

Roy was a student of magician Nate Leipzig. He originated the long pour finish for the salt trick and was well known for his creation of the ball and bowl routine and an original Chinese Stick routine that made use of three sticks, instead of the usual two. He performed his Chinese Sticks Routine and the salt pour, on TV in 1955, available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOfzp4Wt-pE

Roy Benson by Starlight (2006), by Levent & Todd Karr, contains within it copies of Benson's book "The Second Oldest Profession," and "Benson on Magic" booklet.
Berg, Joe
(1902-1984)
At the age of 12, Joe Bergman arrived in Chicago with his family from Pinsk, Russia. He learned magic from famed magician Johnny Platt, and later became a semi-professional dealer in Chicago as Joe Berg. Partnering with Sam Berland and Harry Faber, he spent 26 years at the Princess Magic Shop in Chicago. Berg then moved to Los Angeles and opened a shop of his own on Hollywood Boulevard. Magician to the end, he was on his way to the Magic Castle in Hollywood when he suffered a stroke, dying five days later.
He was the inventor of several popular effects, including the Ultra Mental Deck (1937) , Patriotic Release, Ever-ready Lit Cigarette Production, Super Wallet , Giant Sucker Sliding Card Frame, Berg's Ambitious Nickle, and the Atomic Deck (1955). Many of silk magic his effects are included in Rice's Encyclopedia of Silk Magic.
Wrote: Berg's Private Card Problems (1933), Here's New Magic, Magic For Everyone (1983), The Berg Book
Bergeron, Bev
(?-?)
Famous for his appearances as Rebo the Clown on the CBS-TV show "Mark Wilson's Land of Allakazam" and for his many years of performances at Walt Disney'sTM Diamond Horseshow Review at Walt Disney WorldTM in Florida, Bev Bergeron is also a magic inventor of hundreds of props and illusions in use by magicians today.
Invented: Multiplying Magic Wands, the One Balloon Dog (1957), Utility Hat, Silk Gun

Wrote: Williard the Wizard (Bev toured with Williard in 1948), Rebo Nose Clowning, Entertaining Children with Magic, Tony Marks - Aristocrat of Deception (2000)

Informative Web site: http://bevbergeron.com/ Media: The Magic of Bev Bergeron - DVD, and Bev Bergeron: Comedy & Clowning - DVD, Bergeron, Bev: Masters Of Excellence # 3 (VHS), REBO: Nose Clowning - DVD, BEV BERGERON: On Tape! (DVD-VHS)

YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHX_ru8HRSo

Berland, Sam
(1907-1987)
Magic dealer and inventor of popular effects and routines, especially using thimbles and dice. Wrote: Amazing Tricks with Paper Cups (1942); Berlands Thimble Routine, Berland’s Tricks and Routines, Twenty Tricks with Wiztax
Invented: Sucker Cigarette Box
Many of his silk magic effects are included in Rice's Encyclopedia of Silk Magic.
Bertram, Ross
(1912 - 1992)
Born John Ross Bertram in Toronto Canada, he was one of the pioneers in the field of trade show magic. Bertram performed for nineteen continuous seasons at Toronto's famous Royal York Hotel, was a regular TV guest in both variety and chat shows, illustrated crooked gambling techniques and was featured in the Stars of Magic series.
Invented: The Welcome Mat, One Hand Card Change, Square Up Invisible Pass, Hold out Palm, Bill to Cigarette, One Bill Bill Tear, Egyptian Ball Routine, The Bertram Coin Assembly, Passing the Buck, and many more.
Wrote: Stars of Magic, Series 9 (1951) featured Ross Bertram on Coins, The Magic and Methods of Ross Bertram (1978), Bertram on Sleight of Hand (1983)

Media: Bertram's wife influenced him to perform and record most of the magic for which he had become famous on film, which today is available on a 2 volume set of DVDs: Ross Bertram's Legendary Magic - Volumes 1 & 2 from L&L Publishing.
Birch, McDonald
(1902 -1992)
Born George McDonald Birchin Ohio, he became one of the more successful American stage magicians. His greatest years were during the 30's and 40's, when most other stage magicians were struggling. One of his most popular effects was Princess the Vanishing Pony. Also invented the Silk Mirage act. In 1924, Howard Thurston made preliminary plans to make Birch the successor to the Kellar-Thurston "magic mantle"; Thurston, however, never got around to retiring, and Birch made a successful career of his own until he retired in the 1960s.
Biro, Pete
(1933- )

Born in Oakland, California, Pete's early mentors were Lloyd E. Jones and Emile Clifton. Awards: First prize stage performer SAM, National Convention and Grand Prix Winner, PCAM Convention 1968.

Invented Sneaky Pete's Pivoting Shell, Poker Chip Surprise, Cap in any Bottle (with Joe Porper), Ghostly Linking Finger Rings (with Joe Porper), Cocktail Surprise (with Joe Porper), Billion Dollar Bill Switch, Rising Cards from Envelope (with Bill Severn).

Wrote: Pete Biro Presents The Indian Cups & Balls; Thoughts, Ideas & Routines.
Media: Himber Rings (DVD) with Karrel Fox, Ted Lesley, Billy McComb, Pete Biro and Jonathan Pendragon.

Blackstone, Harry
(1885-1965)

Born Harry Bouton, he started as one half of a vaudeville comedy act with his brother, Pete Bouton. Along with his long stage career, he co-founded Blackstone's Magic Co. with Percy Abbott in 1929. He is credited with creating classic routines for the Dancing Handkerchief, the Vanishing Bird Cage, the Buzz Saw, and of course, the Floating Light Bulb. Many feel that he was the best example of what a magician should be. He was succeeded by his son, Harry Blackstone, Jr.
Also invented: Glamour Garter, Baffling Bulbs
Wrote: Blackstone's Tricks Anyone Can Do, Blackstone’s Magic: A Book of Mystery (1930)
Blaney, Walter
(1928 - )
American magician (Zaney Blaney) and inventor of the Blaney Ladder Levitation, made popular by David Copperfield, The Great Escape, Suspension 3001, and the clever Miracle Levitation Hoop.
In 1998, Walter helped create the "World Alliance of Magicians" and served as its first international president.

Website: http://www.walterblaney.com

YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1Lsdv7kuJs

Blitz, Signor
(1810-1877)
Extremely successful 19th century English-born but America-based magician. Using the stage name of Signor Blitz, his real name was Antonio Blitz. At the height of his career, at least 13 other magicians were performing under the name "Blitz" in an effort to capitalize on his popularity. Multi-talented, Blitz was an accomplished ventriloquist, juggler and bird handler as well as an entertaining magician. His favorite effect was the Bullet Catching act, though he stopped performing the feat after a number of malicious audience-induced accidents. He also performed for several years in the 1870's with a magic act involving more than 500 canaries. Author of Fifty Years in the Magic Circle (1871). His grave was recently "discovered" in New York by Benjilini, and has since been repaired and restored.
Bobo, J.B.
(1910-1996)

Born in Texarkana, Texas. He was inspired by seeing Eugene Laurant on the Chatauqua circuit. Taught first tricks at age 14 by Ed Reno, Eugene Laurant, and a travelling salesman. Studied the Tarbell Course in 1927. Worked as a close-up and kid-show stage magician since 1928, having given nearly 14,000 school assembly shows throughout the USA, but mainly in Texas and the central states. Won the 1978 AMA Literary Fellowship. Lectured at magic clubs throughout the States.
Wrote: Modern Coin Magic (1952), Watch This One! (1947), The Bobo Magic Show (1984)
He gives some of his magical performance advice in Rice's Encyclopedia of Silk Magic.
Bongo, Ali
(1929 -2009 )
Born William Oliver Wallace in India, this British comedy magician bills himself as Ali Bongo the Shriek of Araby (early 1960's). Author of several books on comedy magic, he is also an accomplished illustrator, drawing for a number of magic catalogs. Invented a variation of the Lu Brent Growing Hat, The Bongo Bag, and other comedy magic effects. Originated a routine for the Pompom Pole which is used by many magicians today.
Invented: Vodka Surprise, The Happy Medium, Wrong Ring, Plane Design, Pongoliasn Palette, Galloping Prediction, AliChemy, and more
Wrote: The Bongo Book (1966), Be a Magician (1979), Ali Bongo's Book of Magic (1980), Lecture Notes by Ali Bongo (1998).

YouTube Video of a performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbOwMc5paAw

Booth, John
(1912 - 2009)
John Nicholls Booth: pioneer travel film maker, 1930's night club star; author of 15 books, correspondent for major American newspapers, mountain climber on every continent, and noted Unitarian minister (1940). Invented Pull-Down (late 1920s) & Booth's Baffling Block (1928).

Wrote: The Fine Art of Hocus Pocus (1996), Conjurian's Discoveries (1992), Dramatic Magic (1988), Psychic Paradoxes(1984), Wonders of Magic(1986), Keys To Magic's Inner World (1999), Forging Ahead in Magic (1939), Marvels of Mystery (1941), Super Magical Miracles (1930), Magical Mentalism, Extending Magic Beyond Credibility (2001).

  Bosco, Bartolomeo
(1793-1863)
Successful European magician, born in Turin, Italy, most popular between 1830 and 1850. His most famous trick was the Cups and Balls. His apparatus was very simple indeed consisting only of tin cups and pasteboard boxes, some of which still exist. He was the first magician who made his experiments with simple apparatus, and declared them to be natural experiments. He was also known for appearing to exchange the heads of two live chickens, a black one and a white one. Robert-Houdin gained some unfair publicity for himself when in 1838 he publicly criticized Bosco for "animal cruelty" after seeing him perform a trick in which he appeared to exchange the heads of two live chickens, a black one for a white one. Robert-Houdin knew full well that the trick was an illusion, and was not harmful to the animals in any way. Bosco died in poverty on March 6, 1863, in Gruna near Dresden. In 1903, Houdini discovered Bosco's dilapidated grave. He purchased title to the plot, and deeded it to the Society of American Magicians, starting a tradition of fraternal grave guardianship that continues today, especially through the efforts of Benjilini. Bosco was so well-known that no less than five other magicians performed under that name after his death, in an attempt to capitalize on his fame.
  Bosco, Eugene
(1823-1891)
Son of Bartolomeo Bosco and a popular magician. Inventor of the Sand Frame. His career was cut short when he shot his right hand off in 1857. Like his father, he died in poverty. It is interesting to note that two other magicians using the "Bosco" name were victims of gun accidents.
Boston, George
(1905-1975)
Magician best known for his work as stage manager for Blackstone ,Sr. , Carter, Thurston and Nicola. Inventor of the Boston Box (a variation of the Okito Coin Box). Taught magic to Tony Curtis for his role in the 1953 movie Houdini.
Braue, Frederick
(1906-1962)

Born in California, USA. Newspaperman in Oakland. Semi-pro magician, specialized in card magic of which he was a master. Invented "Braue Addition", "Braue Reversal", "Rear Palm" (in 1935), "Homing Card" (1948), etc. Co-authored "Expert Card Technique" with Jean Hugard.
Braun, John
(1896 - 1988 )

Inventor of The Triple Tube Vanish. Braun was a mechanical engineer by profession in Cincinnati, Ohio for the Procter and Gamble Engineering Development Division. He became president of the [IBM]] (1946-1947) and editor of their Linking Ring magazine (1942-1949). Worked with J.B. Bobo in editing his Modern Coin Magic. Edited many other books, as well. Many of his silk magic effects are included in Rice's Encyclopedia of Silk Magic.

Breeds, John
(1943 - )
A telecommunications engineer by trade, British performer John Breeds took a keen interest in magic from the age of six. He started working seriously on magic in 1978. Although accomplished in Close-Up, he began Children's Shows in 1980. He is a past President of the prestigious Cotswold Magic Society in the UK.

Inventor of: Visible Magic Painting (1966), Don't Ring That Bell! (1976), Wacky Washing Machine (1992).

Wrote: How To Create Kids Magic and Triple Your Income (2009), Secrets of The Magic Business (2002).

Edited and Illustrated: World of Children's Magic (2011)

Informative Web site: http://www.johnbreeds.com/

Brent, Lu
(1903-?)
Born Boleslaw Lubrant, he became interested in magic through watching an older cousin perform, and began ordering magic catalogs just to look at. His father was convinced his interest in magic was the work of "the devil" and would burn his magic mail if he found it, but his mother hid it away and gave it to him secretly. After a stint in the Army, his interest in magic was born again and he visted magic shops, and met many famous magicians of his era. He was more of an originator than inventor, coming up with new ways to present other magicians' effects, and his books are filled with these ideas. Don't overlook his many cigarette tricks just because you don't smoke these days- the ideas can be adapted for many other possible effects.

Invented: The Growing Hat (pre-curser to the Bongo Hat), "Cig Ash" Trays - which won a 1954 Academy Award from Genii magazine, a Torn and Restored Newspaper variation, Classical Coin Act, Crazy Deck, Peek-O-Book Test, Diminishing Safety Pin, Blendo-Bills, U Find Your Card and many more.

Wrote: Novel Magic (1932), Lu Brent's TRICKS (1966), Lu Brent's Best Magic Tricks (Volumes 1-3- 1969 to 1980), Exclusive Card Mysteries, Fifteen Star Card Effects, Five Star Card Effects (1943), Torn & Restored Magazine Pages (1954).

Brooke, Ken
(1920 - 1983)
British magician and magic dealer but Ken Brooke wasn't just another magic dealer. When he sold someone an effect, many times it included his own instructions sheets, which reflected the real experiences of a performer who not only cared about how the tricks should be performed, but who also cared enough to provide information on the proper performance to those who bought his products. Even for those who do not do particular effects that were sold by Ken Brooke, reading these instructions sheets provided real lessons in magic.

Invented a version of "Chase the Ace," Fido (a card trick), "Squircle"(c. 1950), and may have invented "Professor Cheer's Comedy Rope" (at least he was the first magician on record who performed the trick at Glasgow, Scotland).

Wrote: It's Better Than Digging Roads which is a transcript from an audio tape Ken produced, published by Martin Breese in 1987 after Ken's death.
Ken Brooke - The Unique Years (1980)
was written by Ken Brooke and edited by Edwin Hooper.

Brooks, Herbert
(1873-1923)
British stage magician and inventor of the Brooks Trunk, an escape illusion.
Brooks began performing as a magician/ escape artist in England, then in 1903 went to America where he performed in the Vaudeville Theatres of the larger cities. In 1913 he returned to England, where he celebrated great success with his "Herbert Brooks American Escape". By now he was using a steel trunk, from which he could escape with the same ease as the wooden trunk.
Buckley,Arthur
(1890-1953)

Born in Sydney, Australia. Inspired at age 18 seeing Allan Shaw show in New Zealand. Learned from Down's Modern Coin Manipulation. Debut six months later (still 1908) as 'Young Dante, King of Koins'. Thence pro coin-cardman as 'Mysto' in Australia and New Zealand. Moved to USA in 1918. By 1925 also worked two-person mind-reading with partner-wife Helen. Invented the "Muscle Pass" (by 1948).

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