Franks obituary can be viewed here:
http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/toledo ... =135734696
Also this article appears in the Tuesday Toldeo Blade:
Article published Tuesday, November 10, 2009
FRANK RADTKE, 1940-2009
Inventor revered for props used in magic
DELTA - Frank Radtke, a retired toolmaker who was known worldwide as the inventor of high-bounce silicone balls that have been favored for many years by famous jugglers, died Sunday in Flower Hospital. He was 69.
A longtime South Toledo resident who recently moved to Delta in Fulton County, Mr. Radtke came up with the idea for the prized prop while seated at his kitchen table in 1970, his son Randy said.
Products made by Mr. Radtke, who operated The House of Fakini, were featured in movies, including Disney's The Prestige, about two rival magicians.
One of the magicians, said Mr. Radtke's son, uses a Fakini ball special-ordered by Disney. Other orders came from famous magicians, said Randy, recalling the day he walked into his father's shop and David Copperfield was on the telephone with Mr. Radtke.
Dennis Weigel, owner of Glass City Magic in Toledo, who knew Mr. Radtke for many years, said, "Frank was internationally known because of his juggling balls. Frank was a magician, and he was a very creative individual. He became an international provider of juggling equipment for many, many professional jugglers around the world.
"Everybody who was a terrific and professional juggler used Fakini's balls," Mr. Weigel said.
Mr. Radtke came up with the idea for the specialized silicone balls "because he had knowledge of molten plastic. He was a plastic tool maker for a living. It took him years to come up with the formula," said Randy, a magician for 22 years.
Mr. Weigel said Mr. Radtke developed a certain chemical within the silicone that "made an interesting reaction on stage. The balls would react a certain way, and jugglers would understand how they would bounce."
For years Mr. Radtke had a magic shop in his garage. "A kid would come in and buy a $2 trick and dad took two hours of his time teaching the trick to the kid," his son said. "That's how it was with dad. He was such a great guy. He helped so many people in the magic community, thousands of people, with his products."
Mr. Radtke performed at magic shows in Toledo and surrounding states for many years under the name of Fakini, the Fat Fabulous Fascinator. "Dad weighed in at 360. He made a joke out of it," his son said. "Everything dad did was comedy."
Other products made by Mr. Radtke included Fakini's plumes, feathered flowers of changing colors, which Mr. Weigel said were favorites of magicians: "They were so sophisticated, so beautifully done."
Mr. Radtke often attended the annual four-day convention in Colon, Mich., known as the Magic Capital of the World, Mr. Weigel said, noting his friend was introduced to the world of magic by Ted Carrothers, who ran a magic shop in Toledo for 40 years. Mr. Carrothers taught magic to young people at the Boys and Girls clubs in Toledo, Mr. Weigel said, "and Frank was one of them."
Mr. Radtke, an avid knife collector and knife thrower, was a member of International Brotherhood of Magicians Ring 68 and Society of American Magicians.
Magicians will gather at the Walter Funeral Home in Toledo to participate in a Broken Wand Ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday, Randy Radtke said. After the ritual, the wand pieces can be placed in the casket or, as with Mr. Radtke, cremated with the body, he said. Mr. Radtke died of pancreatic cancer.
He is survived by daughters Melanie and Susan, sons Frank, Edward, Randy, and Michael, sister, Nora Roundell, 27 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 2 to 7 p.m. Friday in the Walter Funeral Home. The family suggests tributes to Promedica Hospice.