A Tribute to Harry Blackstone, Sr

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Guest » 06/02/05 01:17 PM

I should like to pay a tribute to Harryy Blackstone -- (Senior, that is, not TGLYMWG.)

In his later years Blackstone lived near the Magic Castle. The Larsens sent a car for him every evening and he reigned from his special chair. The room ws later known as The Blackstone Room. For those of you who knew "Uncle Harry" only for his staage show let me say that he could astound some of the more jaded of us with rather wonderful close-up.

I want, however, to tell of the most amazing trick I ever saw him pull. It may have been one of thelast times that I saw him and was on a Sunday afternoon when youngsters were at the Castle. A fair number of them were in the main room . Down the stairs from the dining room came a very old and world weary man. He got to the landing, turned and saw that room full of boys and girls.

The old man vanished.

Harry Blackstone came down the rest of those stairs into that room.

Now that I have reached the age that Harry was that day, I wish I had learned the secret from him.

tonga 6/2/05 1316

Postby Guest » 07/31/05 07:51 PM

Great story, but I have to ask (and show my ingnorance), what does TGLYMWG mean?

Postby Guest » 07/31/05 07:52 PM

Great story, but I have to ask (and show my ingnorance), what does TGLYMWG mean?

Postby Guest » 07/31/05 10:19 PM

Dear Kirby R.,
Fear not you are not showing your ignorance -- your youth, perhaps. In the days of old when Harry Sr reigned supreme and Jr was just a youth in the wings a prominent magic magazine consistently referred to him as "The Good Looking Young Man With Glasses" -- usually using only the initials as I did. I thought that a fitting appellation and so have always so called him.

Postby Kevin Connolly » 07/31/05 10:21 PM

There's similar story like that of Dunninger at Flosso's. Those who saw it, thought it was magical.
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Postby Pete Biro » 08/01/05 01:03 PM

When Blackstone played the Vaudeville house in Oakland (FOX?) I went to all 12 performances and volunteered every time on the committee with the rope tie... he soon recognized me and I became an unofficial stooge, handing him my wristwatch so he didn't have to cue me as he always did with non-regular volunteers.

Once I had a pal with me and we both went up. I had LOADED (NOT SET MIND YOU) a mouse trap into my pal's pocket... and when Blackstone picked his pocket it got more than a laugh... the byplay was great as my Pal said "I didn't know that was in my pocket." He never figured out that I had loaded him.

The production of the Donkey as a kicker to the Drum that Can't be Beat knocked me out of my seat... and the Princess Without a Middle had me baffled for years.

He was maybe the best on stage illusion performer I have ever seen.
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Postby TomEwing0973 » 08/01/05 01:52 PM

Kevin is correct. I have a tape that Bob Lund and Jay Marshall recorded of Dunninger giving his reflections on famous magicians. Bob noted that during their previous conversation, the now ill Dunninger's voice was normal but weak. When Bob turned on the tape player Dunninger's voice magically transformed into that booming authoritative voice that captivated radio audiences in the 1940s.

Also, I never knew Blackstone Sr., but was very friendly with Jr. Once as I awaited outside of the theater in Atlantic City, I heard a voice whisper, "Hey Tom, come here." It was Harry and he wanted to know if I'd do the shirt pulling stunt in The Committee. Of course I said I'd be honored. We went to his dressing room, set the gag and it went off perfectly. Only problem was after it was over I had to sit for the rest of the show in my undershirt and suit jacket. I did it without hesitation.
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