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Blackstone, a Magician’s Life

Blackstone, a Magician’s Life: The World and Magic Show of Harry Blackstone, 1885-1965

Blackstone, a Magician’s Life  by Daniel Waldron is a well-researched biography of Harry Blackstone Sr. — from  interviews with surviving members of Blackstone’s shows, as well as written records. In addition, it’s also a very readable biography — not dry, but easily read and enjoyed.

Blackstone, a Magician's Life: The World and Magic Show of Harry Blackstone, 1885-1965Editorial review of Blackstone, a Magician’s Life courtesy of Amazon.com:

This is the story of the world and magic shows of Harry Blackstone (1885-1965), who entertained theatre-goers for over 50 seasons. Gifted with an electric presence, a magnificent voice and a master magician’s mentality and skills, he played everything from showboats to vaudeville to television. Blackstone’s extravagant productions advertised “1001 wonders” and “an enchanting array of beautiful girls.” Waldron’s vivid and thoroughly researched narrative, enhanced with first-hand accounts by those who worked on the Blackstone show, presents an unforgettable portrait of a unique showman. Illustrated throughout with photographs.


Table of contents for  Blackstone, a Magician’s Life

  1. Beginnings
  2. First Shows
  3. Harry, Pete and “Straight and Crooked Magic”
  4. Harry Bouton becomes Frederik the Great
  5. Inez joins the show and Frederik the Great becomes Blackstone
  6. The Upward Climb
  7. Kellar sets the seal
  8. The Big Show
  9. Illusions of the 1920’s
  10. Ned Alvord and the Corn Palace
  11. Colon and Blackstone Island
  12. I.B.M., Percy Abbott, and the Blackstone Magic Co.
  13. The Great Blackstone
  14. Illusions of the 1930’s
  15. Three Perennials (make that four)
  16. Inez departs, Harry Jr. arrives
  17. Gorgeous girls, handsome boys
  18. George Johnstone’s memoir
  19. Pete and Millie
  20. Animals
  21. Advertising
  22. Advance
  23. Decatur fire, divorce, U.S.O.
  24. Nick Ruggiero’s memoir – part 1
  25. Nick Ruggiero’s memoir – part 2
  26. Final marriage, last tours
  27. The end
  28. Epilogue


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