Its amazing the roads this stuff takes you to. I thought I had a winner with Daphne Lucille Barnett (also known as Lucille Barnett and sometimes just Lucille). The picture of her on the Internet shows her to be a brunette, but that was easily changed in those days. She seemed to fall into the correct age bracket and a 1968 Abracadabra
mentions that she emigrated to the United States sometime before WWII. By all the accounts I have read thus far, she was a very skilled manipulator.
This paragraph, written by Milbourne Christopher in the September 1954 issue of Genii
, carries a most interesting comment which I have highlighted in bold text:
Lucille Barnett an attractive English girl began her career at six tutored by her father, a dealer in rare books and pictures. She created a sensation when she first appeared before a London magic club. Horace Golden predicted a brilliant future for her. She played the leading British theatres made several movie shorts and was televised when she was still in her twenties. During the war she entertained British and American troops with Ensa and USO Camp Shows.
She wrote a short piece in a 1938 issue of Genii
. She was possibly
in the US by then (after all, Genii
while an International magazine was (is) indeed American.
However, a 1938 issue of Goldstons Magician Monthly
has her in London, and just 14 years old. At first I thought that it could be a typo, but the context of the piece made me wonder:
We present to you this month the youngest magician to appear under "Magicians You Read About." Daphne Lucille Barnett, a name to conjure with, has recently appeared before the London Magical Societies and has created a sensation among the profession. Lucille's act includes billiard ball manipulations; and colour changes, card manipulation, fans, shuffles with gloved hands, a rope routine and torn and restored paper. The latter item is presented as it would be performed by a Mayfair girl, a French magicienne and a Hollywood film star. Lucille, although only 14 years of age, has been filmed by Pathetone and has recently had auditions before prominent West End booking agents.
piece she wrote certainly seems more adult than 14. Ill let you be the judge:
Ever so long ago and way back in the dark foggy days of a London September, I was bitten by the bellicose bug of an itch to write; see how I've come up to the scratch
Dad surrendered his magicana and I got to work. The wonder girl manipulator entered the fields of dealer and Caveat Emptor, but this did not apply as I sold books, not costumers. Merrily I sailed on, producing catalogues, one, two, three, four, and then came the dawn. An inundation of professional appearances has left me very little time to carry on. My bookings carry me right through the Summer and catalogue five seems as distant as the Milky Way. But like the boil on the back of the cellist's neckit will come out.
Remember, her father was a dealer of antiquarian magic books as noted in the 54 Genii
Then, in a 1940 Sphinx
I found one of her ads with a London address.
Then, in 1944, this ad by one Reg Conklin of Milwaukee:
The Collection of DAPHNE LUCILLE BARNETT of London, internationally known collector and magicienne was recently purchased at auction by my agent. Due to arrive in the United States in early September. Duplicate titles in the collection will be offered to American collectors of books on conjuring. If interested, write promptly. First come, first served!
I found an obituary for her father (Jack) in the April 1946 issue of The New Conjurors Magazine
I think its clear that this talented girl didnt come to the US until well after this film was made. Oh well.
As I read through this material (most of which is on Ask Alexanderto which I owe a great amount of gratitude), one thing I am discovering is that there were more women who were manipulators than I think we might otherwise believe. So the search goes on.