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Topic: Floyd G. Thayer - Seeking Biographical Info
Message: Posted by: tjmagic (Jul 11, 2006 12:18PM)
Hey Magic Historians,

I am seeking stories, knowledge, facts, anecdotes, and general information regarding the life and times of "Magic's Master Craftsman", Floyd G. Thayer and the Thayer Studio of Magic originally doing business here in Los Angeles. There is a total lack of historical and/or biographical information available with respect to Thayer on the internet as far as I'm able to source. I really do require your assistance in finding background information on Thayer's contributions to magic and the Thayer Magic Studio in general.

David Charvet posted an interesting bit of information on another topic:

"Thayer once sold high-priced illusions with their "Pay As You Show" Plan. You'd send them a down payment for the illusion and then pay as your high-priced engagements inevitably (?) came rolling in from your new prop. Needless to say, this idea was quickly discontinued."

This is the type of information that makes for an interesting overview of someone’s past.

I am constructing a webpage about famous Hollywood Ring 21 members called “Celebrated 21s” and their claims to fame, work, contributions to magic and notoriety.


Can you help me or direct me to a good historical source?

I would be most indebted to you.

Message: Posted by: cromano (Jul 11, 2006 12:49PM)
These books have a wealth of information on Thayer.


Good luck with your research.

Best Regards,
Chuck Romano
Message: Posted by: tjmagic (Jul 14, 2006 11:07AM)

Thanks for your kind reply. The Owens books can be a bit pricey though. Any other tips for sourcing out background information on Thayer and this ilk?
Message: Posted by: Clay Shevlin (Jul 14, 2006 09:35PM)

Power to your project! As yet, no coherent history of LA magic per se has been done.

A thought with all due respect: yes, the Keep The Wheels Turning books are not cheap, but they are well produced and hold their value. Why reinvent the wheel (so to speak)? You asked for a good source of info, and those books are indeed good sources. If your time is worth anything to you, these books will save you a lot of time and money doing research. Well worth the $$$, IMHO.

Message: Posted by: Damon (Jul 15, 2006 03:27PM)
I couldn’t agree more with Chuck and Clay. You asked for the best source for Thayer info, and it was given. Believe them when they say it is money well spent (and invested). The books are first class and I doubt if you will be disappointed (loads of historical information). If for some strange reason you are, or just don’t want that much money invested in two books, you should have no problem selling them and recouping your investment.

Nice job with your website! I see under members that there are quite a few. Do any of them have the books?

Good Luck, Mark Damon

Posted: Jul 15, 2006 5:17pm
Hi Tim,

I did some quick research in old issues of the Linking Ring. Came across three nice articles on Floyd, Jennie and the shop. They are listed below.

I could send you scans if you would like. Send me your e-mail address.

Regards, Mark Damon

June 1933 – Thayer’s New Studio of Magic – By: C.A. George Newmann

May 1951 – Floyd and Jennie Thayer – By: Dell O’Dell

Sept 1959 – Floyd G. Thayer: Quality Craftsman – By: M. Bidwell
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 15, 2006 07:34PM)
I must also agree that the information in [i]Keep the Wheels Turning[/i] is absolutely necessary to this project. When you are researching something as important as this with as few available sources, you need to use every bit of information you can find. You also need to be prepared to shell out a few shekels.

Since the books are a limited run, they do cost a bit of money; however, if you take care of them, you can sell them when you are through using them.

Since you are in Los Angeles, you should be able to access the library at the Magic Castle. I'm sure there is a huge amount of material available there. William Larsen, Sr. was once a partner in Thayer's, so I'll bet there will be a lot to access there.
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Jul 15, 2006 08:08PM)
If anyone knows Thayer's date of birth and date of death, I could use that information to complete the brief biography I have on line for him:


and scroll down to Thayer. I would also appreciate if anyone notices any errors or ommisions in the information about him that I have already posted on-line.
Message: Posted by: Damon (Jul 15, 2006 09:12PM)
Here is the information on Thayer from Bart Whaley's Who's Who in Magic.

Thayer, Floyd G[erald]
(Jacksonville, Vermont: 18 Jul 1877-29 Jul 1959) Inspired by & learned around age 8 when bought a box of tricks. Brought by father in 1891 to Pasadena, California, where he began doing semi-pro club shows as "Gerald". Pro dealer-prop maker in southern California as, successively, The Magic Shop of the West 1902-12, Thayer & Christianer 1912-16, F.G. Thayer 1916-1917, Thayer Studio of Magic 1917, Thayer Manufacturing Company 1917-1933 when sold to the Owen brothers, and Thayer Magic Studio in Hollywood 1933-1942 when sold to Bill Larsen and retired. IBM member #248 (1923). SAM Hall of Fame.
Wrote several booklets. Bio is included in Richard Buffum, "Keep the wheels turning..." (1977) & Les & Gertrude Smith, "Keep the wheels turning...", V.2 (1992, 372pp). See Glenn Gravatt, Thayer Quality Magic (4 vols).
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 21, 2006 11:38PM)
Floyd Thayer could turn a set of multiplying billiard balls and a shell without using any gauges. Also, when he built illusions, all the legs of the illusion could be placed in any position on the illusion. This is not true of the present people at Owen Brothers. Everything fits, but you have to number the legs.
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Jul 22, 2006 11:12PM)
Thanks for the information, Damon. Every bit helps!