Robert Heller

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Postby Guest » 06/23/06 12:57 PM

I've come across references to the death of Robert Heller in an 1856 publication, and in one from 1878. Both accounts refer to Robert Heller, magician and musician, from the Washington area.

Were there two Robert Hellers (perhaps father and son)? Or do I (or my sources) have some date problems?
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 06/23/06 01:13 PM

Based on the info here , I'd guess that there were two Robert Hellers. Specifically the info about his magic career starting in 1858. Granted, Wikipedia isn't necessarily accurate, but it'd be worth checking out the references given.

-Jim
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 06/23/06 01:49 PM

The 1878 date definitely seems to be correct (specifically, November 27, 1878), according to a newspaper published the following week. It states that he died suddenly in Philadelphia. Several other newspapers in early 1879 refer to "the late Robert Heller", which would indicate that he had died not long before that.

If you have a firm death notice for the 1856 date, then I would assume that there were two. It's doubtful that they were father and son, since Robert Heller was not his real name (it was actually William Henry Palmer).

-Jim
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Postby Tom Klem » 06/27/06 11:07 AM

Bill Mullins

My information on Robert Heller is New York City based. Heller had his own Theater called "Heller's Wonder Theatre" according to the program. It was in lower Manhattan. One of the programs states "510 Performances given during the Seasons of 1876-1877-1878" at his Theatre.

I have read of another Heller as well and when I return home tonight I will find where i saw the information. It might be in "Magic Old and New" if I have the title correct.

Tom Klem
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Postby Tom Klem » 06/28/06 12:43 PM

Dear Bill Mullens

I checked The Old & New Magic by Henry Ridgely Evans and there is a nice bio of Robert Heller running from page 191 to 193 but my memory was not right. There is no mention of another Heller. Sorry.

Evans states Heller was born in Canterbury England in 1833 and Died in Philadephia on Nov, 28 1878 which Jim Maloney has already stated. Another perhaps useful fact is that Robert Heller's wife's name was Haydee Heller who did a second-sight mystery as part of his act. This may be useful if you find an obit and find a different wife's name as the widow.

Best,

Tom Klem
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Postby Guest » 06/29/06 08:27 AM

This is only speculation but many magic histories list instances where another performer latches onto the name of an established artist to secure a better living.

At that time there was no "real" way to know what Heller (et al) looked like exactly and news travelled very slowly. There is a chance someone was making a living off of Heller's rep.
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