Prof. Vertelli, a forgotten magician

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Postby MitsuMatsu » 05/21/06 07:46 PM

Does anyone have a photo(s) of Professor Vertelli or know his descendant to contact in order to allow me to be more familiar to him?

According to Sphinx Vol.12 Feb 1914, he was born in England in 1840 and moved to Australia in 1850. He was once a most renowned tightrope walker at that time in 1860s. Then followed magic work in which he was engaged almost exclusively for the rest of his professional career.
While he was in Japan around 1875 for more than one year, he appeared many vaudeville theatres in Yokohama and Tokyo and was very successful. Until then, no western magician had appeared at any popular downtown theatre in Tokyo because of many reasons. So, he is considered the most influential western magician in early Japanese magic history.
After staying in Japan, he moved to San Francisco, and then had toured many cities in USA for moir than twenty years. In his later year, he was stricken with paralysis of both feet and he turned his attention to astrology and card reading which then became his sole means of livelihood.

I have already identified that Vertelli's real name was John Morcom and his wife's name was Annie. It is said that he had 8 children and none living, however I think there is some descendant. He died in 1914. Their address was Berkeley City, Oakland, California.

I wonder if any of you has his photo because only his picture I have is from a children book on Vertelli.
Your advice would be very much appreciated in advance.

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Postby sabinechallis » 04/28/12 06:41 PM

His name was James.

See wikipedia article on his brother Samuel -
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Postby MitsuMatsu » 04/30/12 08:47 AM

The Wikipedia column you quoted tells as follows:
"Other members of the Morcom family also gained renown; brother James, under the name "Vertelli", became a famous wire walker in the United States,..."
But the original source didn't say James, but John.

Please see attached. (an upper half of "Sporting Families")

[img:left]"Sporting Families"&searchLimits=exactPhrase=Sporting+Families|||anyWords|||notWords|||l-textSearchScope=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||fromdd=14|||frommm=12|||fromyyyy=1923|||todd=14|||tomm=12|||toyyyy=1923|||l-title=41|||l-title=89|||l-word=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||sortby[/img]

Mitsu Matsu
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Postby MitsuMatsu » 05/02/12 03:09 AM

Sorry, this is the correct URL. ... earchTerm="Sporting Families"&searchLimits=exactPhrase=Sporting+Families|||anyWords|||notWords|||l-textSearchScope=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||fromdd=14|||frommm=12|||fromyyyy=1923|||todd=14|||tomm=12|||toyyyy=1923|||l-title=41|||l-title=89|||l-word=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||sortby
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Postby Beebee » 06/09/12 10:26 PM

The Wikipedia entry regarding James Morcom is incorrect. It was his brother John who performed under the name of Vertelli, as in the first post. This can be verified by viewing the articles in the South Australian newspapers at the time of John Morcom's death. His brother James was in Adelaide, SA, at this time and he states that he has received word of John's death in America. The articles also confirm that John Morcom was Vertelli. There is also an illustration depicting Vertelli performing a "Blondin" type of act. (ref: South Australian papers around the 19th of Februry 1914.) There are other newspaper articles about Vertelli freely available from "Trove" in Australia. The earliest from around the 1860s.
Thank you MitsuMatsu for the other lost bits.
Last edited by Beebee on 06/09/12 10:29 PM, edited 0 times in total.
Reason: wrongly placed "e" on Morcom
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Postby Bill Mullins » 06/11/12 11:42 PM

Fixed the wikipedia article.

Apparently John's brother James had a son, Richard Leslie Vertelli Morcom, who served during WWI. Perhaps researching his line would be useful.

This includes an engraving of Vertelli on a high wire; I doubt the likeness is accurate.
Bill Mullins
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