Magical Blast From The Past

Flipped through an old magic book the other night, The Phoenix, V. 1, a bound collection of newsletters produced by Walter B. Gibson and Bruce Elliott, and found this clipping stuck between pages. Magic legend Harry Blackstone, Sr., and Walter B. Gibson, visiting with the Hamilton Magic Club.

Meet-up was Oct. 1/47, Spectator page date noted as Oct. 8/47 on other side.

Harry Blackstone Sr., roughly speaking the David Copperfield of his time, was in Hamilton for a performance. Blackstone was likely performing at The Capitol Theatre (formerly known as Loews) or possibly The Palace Theatre (formerly known as Pantages) or, less probably, The Century Theatre (previously The Lyric). OK, OK, just showing off a bit, don’t get me started on the smaller rooms!

Gibson was a prolific author, magician and most famously creator of The Shadow, a wildly popular radio crime drama from 1937-1954. Elliott was no slouch himself with several magic books to his credit; all with a place on my magic bookshelf.

I remember getting “The Bird” (as it was affectionately called in the biz) at a magic auction for not too many clams way-back-when. Guessing I’m its third owner over these many years.

Never met Blackstone or Gibson but many many years ago I did meet Inez Blackstone, Harry’s first wife, at a magic convention. Had a sweet chat with her. She would have been in her early 90s at the time.

And speaking of being in their 90s… The young man at left in the above photo, Gordon Precious, is as keen about magic today in his late 90s as he was at the time of this photo 75 years ago. Proof? Here’s a video I shot of him performing at his 90th birthday party hosted by the Toronto Magic Club. His exuberance obvious in every frame!

Proud to have him as magical friend and mentor since I was a kid magician myself.

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