Brief Biographies of Magic Inventors - W-X-Y-Z

Wakeling, Alan
(1926- 2004)
Alan Robert Wakeling spent his formative years in Winslow, Arizona and there was introduced to magic. When his family moved to Los Angeles, CA, Alan discovered magic shops and worked for Merv Taylor, Floyd Thayer, and The Magic House of Charles. After his time in the Navy during World War II, he studied Drama at the Universiy of Southern California. About 1947, he made the decision to make magic his career, performing mostly in nightclubs. However, he also worked as a motion picture camera technician and photographer. In 1966, he joined Mark Wilson's company as Creative Director for Wilson's TV shows. Alan remained with Mark until he retired in 1988. Alan died in 2004.
Among Wakeling's inventions is distinctive version of the Sawing a woman in half effect, known as "The Wakeling Sawing." Wakeling also devised the "Double sawing in half" routine for Channing Pollock. Among the illusions he devised for Mark Wilson were Backstage, Girl Through Glass, The Spiker, and Excalibur. He was also responsible for Wilson's "Circus Act" routine, which involved the Gorilla Crush Illusion. He and Jim Steinmeyer collaborated on "Matrix Poker."
Informative book: The Magic of Alan Wakling, by Jim Steinmeyer.
Waller, Charles
(1854-1948)
Australian magician and illusionist. Invented: Elevator Illusion, Transmogrification, Silk Production From a Fan, The Enchanted Tubes, Visible Silk Penetration, Screen of Life.
Wrote: Magical Nights at the Theatre (published posthumously in 1980), For Magicians Only, Original Creations for Magicians Hitherto Kept Up His Sleeve (1920), Waller's Wonders (1927), Happy Magic (1932), Magic From Below
Walsh, Audley
(1894-1957)
Discovered the uses of zinc sterate as a fanning powder, invented Magician's Dream (c. 1938), The Rabbit Wringer (1942), the Dream Deck, The Long Distance Spinner, Mental Choice (with George Brand - 1955).
Wrote: Sponge Ball Magic (1940), A Treatise on the Sucker Effects of Three Card Monte (with John Scarne - c 1930), Dice Dexterity (1953),
Walsh,Russ
(1894 -1971)
After much experimentation, magician Russell Walsh found that coiled steel film two inches wide, used in the production of razor blades, created a strong, realistic, fast-collapsing cane for an impressive quickie effect. It was a re-discovery of the Vanishing cane principle, which had been used in Europe since 1899, but Walsh is credited with realizing that a silk could be concealed inside it, and receives credit for inventing the Cane to Silk. This use of coiled spring steel resulted in a number of Walsh inventions: Appearing Cane (1947), Cane to Table,Walsh's Cigarette to Silk, and the Flash Appearing Golf Club.
Warlock,Elizabeth
(
?-?)
Daughter of magician Peter Warlock (see below), Elizabeth was the youngest magician to win the IBM's British Ring Shield (1953) and also was the first woman to do so. In 2002, she won the David Berglas Award from the British Magical Society, once again, the first woman to receive the award.
Invented: Link Later (described in The Encyclopedia of Rope Tricks), Anti-Gravity Glasses

Wrote: One Hundred by Warlock (describing the magic and routines of her father, Peter Warlock) (2005), articles in Magic, The Magazine For Magicians , The Linking Ring, and Genii, among others.

Warlock,Peter
(
1904-1995)
Peter Warlock (born Alec William Bell), was a semi professional magician and publisher of "Pentagram" 1946-1959, "new Pentagram" 1969-1989. In 1952, he was awarded the IBM's British Ring Shield. His magician daughter, Elizabeth (see above) won the award in 1953.
Invented: Self Contained Milk Pitcher, Ringcord, Out of the Loop, Giant Size Triple Tubes, Silk Filter, Adhesive Glass, Cream of the Jest, Atomic Silk, Ring and Rope Release, PW Slip Cut
Wrote: Patterns for Psychics (c 1940), Bautier de Kolta Genius of Illusion, P.T. Selbit A Magical Innovator (with Eric Lewis), The Best Tricks With Slates (1942), A Haunting We Will Go, or Edison’s Box, The Complete Book of Magic, Walter Jeans, Illusioneer (1986) (with Eric Lewis)
Warner, Alan
(1935 - )
Born in Harrow, England, but by 12 had emigrated to Adelaide, Australia. He had visited magic stores in England, but found none available ion Australia, and so to continue his interest in performing magic, he began to make his own props. He returned to England in 1969 and discovered there was a market for the props he had been crafting from wood. He partially retired as a dealer in 1997, although he still stays connected with the business via his Web site from his current home in Cornwall, England.

Invented: School Daze, Maxi-Mental and Mini-Mental, Die 'N Dice, Cairo Coin, Pentra, Spirit Cabinet, Alphabet Antics, Voo-Doo, Do-Mini-O, Enigmatic, Scarab-a-scarab, The Pharoah's Curse, Horus-Scope, The Mummy, Jack the Lad, Sign of the Snake, Flight of the Falcon, Li Chang's Boxes... and many more.

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

An article written about Alan by Elizabeth Warlock appears in Genii Magazine, July 2003, Volume 66, Number 7. An on-line pdf copy of the article ca n be found here: http://warner.qualitymagic.com/?html=genii

Werry
(1925-2000)
Born Werner Geissler, Werry became interested in magic about 12 years of age, and began performing at home and at school. After World War II, he joined with Thedore Wolf in a magic store venture and also began publishing the "Magic World" periodical in 1952. In 1960, he invented The Transformer Trick.. and in 1970, the PK Spoon. Other inventions include Mental Monte, Silk Dream Tricks, Poltergeist (1989), Bewitched Disc, Flash Cocktail, Nucleus, Infra-Red Box, Pensation, Brunos Kristall-Zerfall (Star Crash), Fantastic Thimbles, Magic Bar (with Harry), and Paranormal.
Many of his effects are included in Ian Adair's Encyclopedia of Dove Magic.

(L-R) Arthur Emerson, Larry West
West, Larry
(1931 - 1989)
Born Gilbert Lorenzo West. Co-invented many card packet effects with Arthur Emerson .

Invented: Passing the Buck, Eight Ball Card Trick, Larry West's Four Card Trick, Invisible Wand Packet Trick (c. 1972 with Al Cohen), Six Mix,

Wrote: Tricks You Can Count On
(with Verne Chesbro) (1960) , Lecture Notes (with Arthur Emerson) c. 1980: A New Direction In Magic-New Surprises, Lecture 2 (1982). Larry West Presents Corner on the Market,

Books about Larry West and his magic: Larry West's Sleightly Subtle Swindles by Bill Wells; The Count Lives - Long Live the Count, by Ray Eyler;

Media: Video of Passing the Buck: http://www.instantmagicvideos.com/tricks/passing_the_buck/

  Westgate, Howard
(1921-?)
Invented The Westgate Bowl Production (in 1939, when he was still a high school student) and the principle by which it works. It was later adapted by Aldini so that it could be performed without an assistant.
  White, Brunel
(?-?)
Invented: Gloves to Doves tabletop, Rabbit Box, Master Table Flap, Skeleton Table,
Wrote: Original Mysteries for Magicians (c 1920), Modern Master Mysteries (1923) Brunel White Presents 'Would You Believe It?' by Louis Lam (1935)
  Wild, Rachel - See Colombini, Rachel Wild
Williams, Oswald
(1880 - 1937)
Invented a Magic Laundry routine (circa 1920) which was subsequently reworked and published (Linking Ring 1951 Vol. 31 No. 6) by Bruce Posgate into "The Magic Laundry" and later by Lewis Thomas into the commercial version produced by Supreme, known as "The Chinese Washing Machine."*
Invented the standard pear-shaped handkerchief pull and the repeat vanish routine made possible by its use. Invented The Merry Widow illusion, Tea Chest and Tea Boxes, The Pillars (fore-runner of the Chinese Sticks), The Dizzy Limit (forerunner of Grant's Bengal Net) and many others.

He was involved in a paranormal investigation into a "Haunted Rectory" in 1919, which, aided by detective work of his wife, proved that the "spirit manefestations" had been produced by a servant girl. Online Reference.

*Researched by Andrew Pinnard.

Wiz Kids, Inc.
(1980)

A magical performing arts organization which started as an after-school magic club known as the "Washington Wizards" (Washington Elementary School in East Orange, NJ). In 1981, it was incorporated as a non-profit organization, making the young members officers-in-training so that when they reached adulthood, they could take over the running of the corporation. The performing arts included magic, juggling, clowning, unicycling, ventriloquism, escape, mentalism, and music. Soon they added creative arts of photography, videography, computer programming and web design. Also added were related business areas like booking shows, financial management, advertising, and so on. The creator of The Wiz Kids was Jim Gerrish, who continues to participate as an advisor today. The official Director is Frederick Goode, but the concept of the Kids running their own corporation continues, with Wiz Kid Qua-Fiki currently serving as Assistant Director. The group is included in this list of Magic Inventors because of the magic inventions of the three people named above, and the additional inventions of Wiz Kid Eleazar Goodenough (aka Ee-Gee-Fiki) and his sister Wiz Kid Wilhelmina Goodenough.

The criteria for the inclusion of Wiz Kids into these pages of Magic Inventors is the requirement of at least three confirmed and published original magic inventions, whereas other magicians only need to have one major invention for inclusion.

Informative Web Site: http://www.wizkidzinc.com

Wonder, Tommy
(1953 - 2006)
Born Jacobus Maria Bemelman in Lisse, Holland, he took the magic name "Julian" (1973), "Jos Bema" (1973-78), and "Tommy Wonder" (since 1979).

Invented/Originated "The Ring, the Watch & the Wallet ," Two-Second Card Fold, Two Cup and Pom Pom Case Routine, Tamed Wild Card Routine, Lighter to Marchbox, Elizabeth IV, Tommy Wonder Diminishing Cards (1972) , Floating Bird Cage (1987) and more.

Wrote: Original Magic from Holland (1977), Wonder Material (1982), Books of Wonder (with Stephen Minch, 2 volumes, 1996), Misdirection Does Not Exist (2002), Building an Act (2005) . Books about him: Tommy Wonder Entertains, by Gene Matsuura (1983).

DVD: Visions of Wonder (3 volumes, 2003)
Note: There is an unauthorized DVD called "Wonderized by Wonder" which his estate considers an illegal copyright infringement of his works, and they request that dealers and magicians boycott it.

Yedid, Meir
(?-?)
Born in Israel, emigrated to the USA, where he became (1979) a magic dealer and manufacturer (Meir Yedid Magic) in Fair Lawn, NJ. Invented: Biting Sensations, Cardinal Cards, Divide & Conquer, Fadeout, Great Card Escape ,Predict-Perfect, Smiling Assassin, Total Destiny, Twist And Shout, Zinger
Wrote: Incredible Close-Up Magic, Magical Wishes (1987), Memorable Magic, Off The Wall Lecture Notes (1983), Stage Stuff
Media: (DVDs) Finger Fantasies; Live From London...It's Meir Yedid; Magic Of Gene Maze; Published & Unpublished; Stand-Up, Pop-Jump; Twisting Arm Illusion
Web Site
Yettmah, Cyril
(1880- 1942)
His magic takes up a section of John Northern Hilliard's Lost Notebooks, where we learn that Cyril Yettmah, the English Magician born in Hyde near Manchester, toured with Thurston from 1928-29. In Genii magazine, 1967, his Turban Trick and Thumb Tie were published.

Invented The Shadow Box or Lady From the Light (c.1920), Doves From Air, Chinese Snow Storm.

  York, Scotty
(1937-2012)
Scotty has performed as a professional magic bartender in the Washington D.C. area for many years.
Invented: Scotty's Kiss Trick, Scotty's Light Bulb, The Blow-Away Vanish, Quarter in Sugar Packet, A Ring Trilogy (Genii,V29,1975) and many others.

Wrote: Scott York: Coins (1975)

Media: Scotty York, The Silver Fox DVD.

Zarrow, Herb
(1925 - 2008)
Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Herb Zarrow became interested in magic through magic sets and magic books. Invented the Zarrow Shuffle (c 1940), and for many magicians, that's all they know about this creative magician. He also invented: Herb Zarrow's Switch Change, Herb Zarrow's Trapeze, Herb Zarrow Retention Pass, Zarrow Block Addition, Starfish Copper/Silver, Matched Revolvers, Universal Count Grip.

Media: Herb Zarrow on the Zarrow Shuffle DVD; Long and Short Spell, etc

You'll find more of his magic in The Tarbell Course, and also in J.B. Bobo's Modern Coin Magic. Video Link

Zens,Michael F.
(1877 -1952)
Michael F. Zens of Kenosha, Wisconsin, invented: "Zens' Miracle Pocket to Pocket Trick" , later revised as Improved Zens Cards and Envelopes. Also: “Quadruple Poker Deal” and more.
Wrote: Cardiology of Tomorrow by Michael F. Zens (c1941), What? Another Square Circle? (Published in Genii Magazine under Miscellaneous Props) by Mike Zens (Vol. 13, No. 1, Sep. 1948)
Zimmerman, Dick
(1937 - )
Magician and well known Jazz and Ragtime Pianist.
Invented: Linking Hula Hoops, Master Prediction System, Crystal Clear Card Box, Clearly Impossible, Zimmer Egg, Zimmer Stab, Sure Thing, Rough and Ready (Again), Plonk/Zimmer Shaker, Rattled, Digital Delusion.
Wrote: Shari Lewis presents 101 magic tricks for kids to do (with Shari Lewis), Creative Magic (Lecture Notes)

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