Looking for those that knew Dr. Jaks

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Postby DrJaksCousin » 01/19/10 10:22 PM

Hello,
I am new to Genii Forum. I am cousin to Dr. Jaks, and I am looking for those who knew Uncle Jak; or knew those who knew him. It was quite a long time ago that he died, approximately 1960, so I don't know if there is anyone out there who knew him in person.

I have had the good fortune of making contact with one or two or you; I am hoping there might be more of you.

My mother, his first cousin, was very close with him, as was her mother (his aunt). They made the black silks for his blindfold routines, and I remember sponge bunnies from when I was little.

He was always just Uncle Jak to us, and I never thought much about it. I did not realize until a year or so ago, when my mother gave my older son a poster from one of his shows, how well known Uncle Jak had been in his time. It was a fun surprise, as my son, Sam, without the benefit of the knowledge of the family legacy, grew into an accomplished beginning magician of his own, now performing close-up magic at local restaurants, much in the tradition of Uncle Jak.

My mom is 82 now, and I am looking to find others that knew Uncle Jak/Dr. Jaks.

Thanks so much,
DrJaksCousin
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Postby Richard Hatch » 01/19/10 11:46 PM

I believe Charles Reynolds knew him fairly well. But not sure he is active on this forum or any others...

There are at least two books in German about him and his work (one fairly recent). A proposed book in English about him by Robert Bluemle has been "in the works" for about 20 years now...
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/20/10 12:10 AM

His notebooks are being auctioned off right now on Martinka.com
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Postby Jack Greenberg » 01/20/10 10:56 AM

You should contact Robert Bluemle. I believe that he was writing a book about Dr. Jaks several years ago. Unfortunately, I don't have Bob's address, but I think he moved from Arizona to New England about seven or eight years ago. Perhaps somebody on this forum can help you to locate him.
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 01/20/10 11:35 AM

I knew Dr. Jaks fairly well. I've written some things about our experiences together. HARRY LORAYNE.
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Postby Don Hendrix » 01/20/10 11:39 AM

Barry Schor of Presto Magic Studio in Scottsdale, AZ is still in contact with Bob Bluemle. If you Google Presto Magic you will find his phone and email.
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Postby Gerald Deutsch » 01/20/10 12:16 PM

I knew Dr. Jaks when I was very young. We all used to meet at "the cafeteria" on 41 St under Tannen's (which was then at 120 W 42 st) and I always thought him to be a very nice and polite gentleman.

I attended his lecture at the Magicians Guild and he fooled all of us and I remember the highlight was when he had a woman assistant and he performed the sponge balls ending with what looked like 50 sponges coming from the shocked woman's hand when she opened it.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 01/20/10 12:33 PM

Harry Lorayne wrote: I knew Dr. Jaks fairly well. I've written some things about our experiences together. HARRY LORAYNE.


Hi Harry,

Where might we find those things you've written that mention Dr. Jaks?

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Postby Harry Lorayne » 01/20/10 04:29 PM

Hi Jon: You know, I don't know, and I don't have time to research it now. I do remember writing up the time there was a four-page exposure of nail writers in Look or Life magazine and Stanley called me in tears saying that he was going to kill himself! Because his act was built around that prop and he thought his life was over. I said "Stanley, do me one favor. Do your act one more time - see what happens - before you kill yourself." He said, between sobs, "Okay, Harry." He called me a few days later to tell me that he did the act - it went over the way it always had, no problem, and so forth. And, he didn't have to kill himself! This is a short version of the incident I wrote up somewhere a long time ago. HARRY L.
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Postby mrgoat » 01/20/10 04:44 PM

Harry Lorayne wrote: Hi Jon: You know, I don't know, and I don't have time to research it now. I do remember writing up the time there was a four-page exposure of nail writers in Look or Life magazine and Stanley called me in tears saying that he was going to kill himself! Because his act was built around that prop and he thought his life was over. I said "Stanley, do me one favor. Do your act one more time - see what happens - before you kill yourself." He said, between sobs, "Okay, Harry." He called me a few days later to tell me that he did the act - it went over the way it always had, no problem, and so forth. And, he didn't have to kill himself! This is a short version of the incident I wrote up somewhere a long time ago. HARRY L.


Great story Mr L!
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Postby David Alexander » 01/20/10 05:11 PM

Dr. Jaks' handling of the Brainwave Deck was published in Genii late 1940s, early 1950s.

Al Mann published a detailed account of a performance for lay audiences witnessed and written by Gene Grant. I believe it is still available.

As I recall, nearly all his effects described in the show were predictions except for his holographic homology.

My old friend the late Ray Hafler was a friend to Jaks and spoke well of him.
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Postby Joe Pecore » 01/20/10 07:10 PM

David Alexander wrote:Dr. Jaks' handling of the Brainwave Deck was published in Genii late 1940s, early 1950s.

Dr. Jaks' "Mystery of the Scarab" was in Genii October 1949.


Here is what was said about him in the same article:

"Most magical, and artistic, of modern day table workers is, undoubtedly, Dr. Jaks, formerly of Vienna and now resident in New York City. In constant demand at the better hotels, Dr. Jaks is a real magician; a purveyor of baffling illusions in miniature; a true master of the art of deception. In his entire repertoire there's not a single item that couldn't be listed as magic. His laughs come from situations; not gags and gadgets.

For more than twenty years I've known the basic principle of fast forgery. But it remained for Dr.Jaks to develop it into a baffling trick of a mentalistic nature. That it has impressed thousands is attested by the beautifully bound autograph book which he carries wherein his work is enthusiastically eulogized by the great and the near great, including, in the former category, most of the royalty of Europe.

In Dr. Jak's capable hands card tricks become more then that. Each one is a tiny miracle, enshrined in artistic presentation. His wand isn't just a wand. It's a graceful tapir of teakwood with a diminuative carved ivory Buddha at the top. He doesn't use props or gadgets; he uses gems.

I spent more than two hours at the table with the wondrous Dr. Jaks. During that time he conjured constantly. Yet I could not help but notice that he did no more than skim the surface of the tricks that he had available in the book-like box which he totes from table to table. Cups and balls, sponge balls, coins, cards, envelopes, pocket dictionariesall came in for his deft treatment.

To me, Dr. Jaks is, at the table, what Howard Thurston was on the stage."
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Postby DrJaksCousin » 01/20/10 11:01 PM

Dear Folks on Genii Forum,

I am verklempt at the wealth of responses offered to me by your kind community. And, in such a short time. These are treasures; the stories, the memories, the references of written material. Thank you so very, very much.

Thank you, Joe, for the excerpt from the Genii 1949 article. What a precious piece.
Thank you, David, for the magazine reference, the mention of Gene Grant; I will try to find that, the mention of his type of magic, and passing on the kind references of your and Jaks' old friend, Ray Hafler.

Harry, that is an amazing story; thank you so very much for your practical advice to Uncle Jak; it was indeed a life saver. I'm glad Uncle Jak had you to turn to.

Gerald, thank you for the picture you paint of meeting in the cafeteria in NYC, I can just see it in my mind's eye; I remember my grandmother talking of cafeterias. And, the memory of the show as well. It is so sad that we lost Uncle Jak so young.

And, thank you to those who directed me to Robert Bluemle. I am pleased to say that I did make contact with him, sometime last year, and he is as kind a gentleman, as you all describe of Uncle Jak. He has been most generous with his time and memories, and I hope to meet him someday soon, as well as introduce he and my magician son to each other.

And, yes, thank you Richard, for the heads up on the auction. I am watching it closely and hoping I can obtain those books and put them back into my mother's hands, where, as far as my heart is concerned, they belong.

I had asked Ted at Martinka to send my request to the seller to see if I could buy directly from him, but I don't think that has happened.

So, I will keep my fingers crossed and hope that the auction angels are with me.

Thank you again, so very much to all of you.

I am happy to hear more from you, or from others that end up reading my posting.

Sincerely, and Respectfully,
Dr. Jaks Cousin, Chris
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Postby David Alexander » 01/22/10 01:55 AM

Chris,

You might also look at Ted Annemann's "The Jinx." Your cousin contributed a number of pieces to it.

As I understand it, he used the title "Dr." as an honorarium as he wasn't a "real" doctor.

What he had, from those who've told me, was CHARM. He was a good artist and did a great self-characature. Being an artist also was the secret to his success with the Holographic Homology.

There is an interesting story about his "Book of Mysteries" and how the word that is on it came to be. Bob Bluemle who can tell you about it.
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Postby David Alexander » 01/22/10 02:01 AM

Chris,

A bit more for you: the Al Mann book can be found here: http://www.lybrary.com/incredible-stanl ... p-551.html

The Magic-Pedia listing has the following:
Dr. Jaks
From MagicPedia
(Redirected from Dr. Stanley Jaks)
Dr. Stanley Jaks (July 26, 1903 - January 5, 1960) was born Herbert Siegbert Jaks in Germany, but grew up in Switzerland.

Stanley saw Okito at the age of 15 which sparked his fascination with magic. He went to school to become an illustrator, before deciding to try his luck performing magic for a living. In his early 1930s, he performed with a partner, Jolowitz, in a comedy magic act billed as Jax and Jax.

In 1934, still living in Switzerland , he was performing his close-up magic as "Jack Stanley" for international figures as the King of Yugoslavia .

For many years Jaks corresponded with Ted Annemann, sending him material for his magazine The Jinx. Ted added the "Doctor" to his name and printed the effects under the name "Dr. Jaks." When Jaks came to America, his agent suggested he be booked under that name.

He carried his magic props in a big red leather book that he called "The Book of Mystery". The front contained pages of autographs of famous people for whom he has performed. After these pages, it contained compartments from which he removed his props for his routines. He also used the book as a close-up mat (the back side being black).

Jaks' close-up case shaped like a book (and much of its contents) is currently in the collection of Ken Klosterman. The case is photographed and described in Ken's book Salon de Magie.

Dr. Jaks first tried to come to the United States in 1938 in hopes of a new market for his talents with the help of his friend Max Holden. But World War II made the trip impossible. It was not until after the war in September of 1946 that he was able to finally secure a visa. In November, 1946, Dr. Jaks gave a command performance for President Harry Truman. Jaks became an American citizen in 1951.

Dr. Jaks spoke German and French fluently and occasionally would grope for words when speaking English, "How is it you say it?"

Eventually he started performing mentalism routines and put together his "Curiosities of the Mind" act which he performed at supper clubs with success. His biggest feature was the blindfolded duplication of anyone's signature, while writing upside down and backwards.

He was a contributor to many magic magazines and illustrated several books, including One Man Mental Magic, Conjuring With Christopher and Bruce Elliott's Classic Secrets of Magic.

He appeared on such television programs as "To Tell the Truth".

He died of a sudden heart attack in his apartment in New York. He was cremated and his ashes were sent to his native Germany.

Robert Bluemle has been in the process of writing an biography about Dr. Jaks for a number of years.

Books
"Dr. Stanley-Jaks und seine Geheimnisse" [Dr. Stanley-Jaks and his Secrets (German)
"Die mentalmagischen Experimente des Dr. Stanley Jaks" Volume 1 and Volume 2 (German)
The Incredible Dr. Stanley Jaks by Al Mann
The Incredible Dr. Jaks (audiorecording) by Stanley Jaks & Sid Lorraine

Retrieved from "http://www.geniimagazine.com/wiki/index.php/Dr._Jaks"
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Postby DrJaksCousin » 01/23/10 12:23 AM

David,
Thank you so much for all of this wonderful information. You have really given me alot to follow up on. Thank you so very much. How do you come to have so much information?
Dr.JaksCousin, Chris
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Postby Joe Pecore » 01/23/10 08:45 AM

Most of the information on MagicPedia comes from stuff written about Dr. Jaks in various Magic Magazines over the years. He was and is quite well known in our little community.
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Postby David Alexander » 01/23/10 11:22 PM

Chris,

I simply cut and pasted from the Dr Jaks section of MagicPedia as noted at the beginning of my post.

If you are near Los Angeles or New York City you might check with the Museum of Broadcasting to see if they have a tape of Dr. Jaks on "To Tell The Truth." The production company still exists as Mark Goodson Productions with Goodson's son Jonathan as President. You may be able to buy a dub of Dr. Jaks segment if the company allows such things.

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Postby Joe Pecore » 01/24/10 12:11 AM

Just an FYI, I'm not sure if this was his only appearance on "To Tell the Truth", but here is a description for the December 3, 1959 episode from Hugard's Magic Monthly (January 1960) [Just before his death]:

"Dr. Jaks was one of the three men from whom the panel had to chose the real [Yousuf] Karsch, the noted Canadian photographer, on the TV show 'To Tell the Truth.'"
Last edited by Joe Pecore on 01/24/10 12:13 AM, edited 0 times in total.
Reason: typos
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Postby DrJaksCousin » 01/24/10 01:15 AM

Thank you Joe and David for the information about MagicPedia and To Tell The Truth. My mother, his 1st cousin, had told me about that, but when I tried to research it, I didn't come up with much. So thank you for a suggested direction to follow.

Once again, I am Very thankful for your input.
I imagine that Uncle Jak would be pleased and perhaps surprised to know that so many still remember him and appreciate his work. I am glad that he managed to get out of Germany. So many of our family did not.

Dr. JaksCousin, Chris
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Postby Joe Pecore » 01/24/10 09:04 AM

Philippe Billot just updated MagicPedia with the fact that Dr. Jaks was on the cover of the October, 1949 issue of Genii Magazine.

Chris, feel free to add update MagicPedia yourself, with any facts you find out about your cousin.
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Postby SteveP » 01/24/10 01:00 PM

Also at Lybrary.com is an audio download that features a short interview with him as well as an audio excerpt from a live appearance in which he presents his upside-down and backwards signature duplication and his Brainwave Deck presentation:

http://www.lybrary.com/incredible-jaks-p-778.html

Sid Lorraine has provided a well balanced and interesting introduction to this master mentalist. The tape includes an interview made in the 50's plus two live show extracts which enable you to hear exactly how Dr. Jaks gained his impact. Plus as a bonus, Sid has been kind enough to release for the very first time an effect shown to him by Dr. Jaks and never previously made available to magicians.
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