Princess Yvonne & Doc Irving at The Skirball Museum

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

Postby Diego » 05/11/11 11:28 PM

I just came from The Skirball Museum and enjoyed both exhibits. Wonderful to see these performers from the past, so well presented for the public. A class act.
(The questionable drawing was in an area mostly ignored by the group I was with...it's small, 9x12 inches, and completely unneeded)

I noticed in room not part of the main exhibits, a few window cards on the wall, one of "Hardeen-Brother of Houdini" with "Princess Yvonne-Psychic Wonder"
This was for "The Houdini Show", that Yvonne's husband, Doc Irving managed.
Doc Irving, aka Irving Papkin, was from a Russian Jewish family of furriers. He married a Gentile woman, Mary Norris, (who became Princess Yvonne)but kept a Kosher kitchen at home.
They had a daughter who Doc quickly billed, "Baby Yvonne-World's Youngest Mental Marvel".

Walter B. Gibson said only Houdini had a greater instinct for promotion than Doc Irving....proven by the comfortable home and life he made for his family.
Like his friend Harry Usher, he made a LOT of money pitching astrology and dream books at the end of their mental act.
A long time presence in Atlantic City, he made money thru the years, while others faded away.

I believe the Jewish Magicians exhibit to be as good as the Houdini exhibit. Both worth seeing!
Diego
 
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Postby SquareCircle » 05/12/11 11:33 AM

Princess Yvonne-Psychic Wonder

Is this what is meant by, "Jewish Princess?" :confused:
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Postby Diego » 05/12/11 01:49 PM

More likely a Gentile Princss, as Doc treated her very well...they were partners together for 50+ years.

Referring to his nice home in a then fashionable Philadephia neighborhood, (with top line furnishings)he told his grandson years later, "Grandson, this was all paid for in CASH at the depth of The Depression, with quarters and dollars made from the sale of pitchbooks and 'scopes."
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Postby Frank Levine » 05/23/11 01:42 PM

my grandmother was anything BUT a "Jewish Princess"... she worked harder than any woman i know. i know you think you were being clever, but show a little respect.
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Postby Frank Levine » 05/23/11 01:53 PM

Hi Diego, sorry - forgot my manners. Hope you're doing well. Thanks for keeping in touch - i always appreciate hearing from you. We should get together again sometime soon.
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Postby Diego » 05/23/11 02:58 PM

Frank is right, those two worked very hard to survive and thrive: Traveling across the country as a top attraction in vaudeville, movie houses, nite clubs and more.

When these venues were no longer available to performers, unlike most who just complained, waiting for it to come back
someday, Doc and Princess used broadcasting, promotional tie-ins, and for years, did their mindreading act on the Altantic City Pier, in their, "Temple of Astrology", day in, day out, relentlessly pitching their astro and dream books.

They looked at what they had, decided what they had to do, and DID IT!
Diego
 
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Postby Frank Levine » 05/23/11 06:44 PM

thank you Diego...
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