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Topic: Icons of escape
Message: Posted by: CARNEGIE (Jan 9, 2005 01:30PM)
In Card Magic there was Vernon and Marlo. In Manipulation Magic there was Cardini. Dove Magic there was Channing Pollack. Illusion Magic you had Thurston, Blackstone, Kellar, Henning and more. In escapes you had Houdini.

I believe we need to revise the list of escape icons and ad Steve Baker/Mr.Escape and Norm Bigelow to the mix. Their contributions to the art are enourmous both on the stage and behind the scenes.

Can you think of anyone else that would fit? I was considering performers, who have retired or passed on, that have been inspirational to the world of escapes. Modern Day working performers though popular, don't count, at least not yet.
Message: Posted by: SANTINI (Jan 9, 2005 01:42PM)
James Todd, aka "The Great Toddini". One of the greatest jailbreaking Canadian escape artists ever and very possibly one of the most skilled EA's of all time bar any country of origin.

Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Jan 9, 2005 02:17PM)
Since your making a list:

Alex Sandrini
Joe Brady
La Hovery
Envoy Hutton
Leon Hormoni
The Great Alvin
Percy Abbott
The Great Reno
Hinie man of mystery
The Great Van Tone
And of course Harry, Oudini and the other carbon copies of Harry.

The Bakers and Bigelows are relative newcomers compared to these, and although they are great in their own arenas, they don't share the common thread of 'being dead.' No doubt they should join the list at the time of their demise though.

This is the very start of the list when you are comparing to the Thurstons, Blackstones, and Kellars and so on.

Well, now you know, I have been doing my homework over the last few years.

From the list above, we need to add folks like Toddini and other national and regional greats and I'm sure many more that language translation has been a problem in gaining information about.
Message: Posted by: SANTINI (Jan 9, 2005 02:36PM)
Hi Mike,

I imagine you know, that I have a great many promotional materials from these very people in The Escaporium collection.

Perhaps that is the very source for the above listed names.

I would also like to add the name of "Dan the Great", the only vintage African American escape performer I personally have ever heard of.

We have one pic of him and also two of his playbills. Judging from his printed promotional material, he seems to have been a very diverse and unique performer indeed!

Of course, were people to get along better here and network in an atmosphere of respect, the names and histories of these long gone performers would probably have been more readilly shared by now.

Steve Santini
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Jan 9, 2005 02:47PM)
Hi Steve,

I didn't know you had this type of material , let alone having displayed it. I regret very much not seeing the collection first hand, but it has been a trade off between having either themoney or the time.

I could not remember Dan, but should have as he was an important performer of the time period. I also forgot Mariano Palhinha, Lee Jacobs, and John Novak.
Although of those only Mariano did early formative work.
Message: Posted by: CARNEGIE (Jan 9, 2005 03:49PM)
OK, I'm going to test your homework skills King. :) For the sake of those of us who haven't heard of some of these folks,can you give some insight into what some of these folks did?

I think that this kind of information sharing is definately the positive side of the Café. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Message: Posted by: SANTINI (Jan 9, 2005 04:07PM)
A pop quiz?

Answer? "They escaped"!

And many of them before we were born.

Some came during Houdini's time and some later but they all deserve recognition for doing their bit to keep the art alive and in the public eye.

Too often Houdini get's his due and also the usual suspects who are still with us but may have retired.

However, there were many others who are deserving of recognition and whose efforts kept escapes out there after the flame of Houdini was extinguished.

In my mind, I do not feel it matters if one or the other made a significant or recorded contribution to the art that we can remember today.

What is most important is that they all escaped!

Steve Santini
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Jan 9, 2005 04:18PM)
The Great Murray
The Amazing Randi
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Jan 9, 2005 04:22PM)
You can add, Marlo, Alex Lyall, and Arthur Coghlan all from Australia.

Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Jan 9, 2005 04:23PM)
Cunning The Jail Breaker. To me, the closest to looking like in Houdini. He was around circa 1915.
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Jan 9, 2005 04:42PM)
For the most part they were all performing escape artists. A couple were also magicians, but yes they all did indeed escape. I have mostly come across written references or single pictures. I never have had the good fortune to see playbills and things like were mentioned. There are a series of very expensive postcards and photos on ebay right now with some of those folks depicted.

I think if there was someone who really wanted to dig around and collect the info there is an equal history in escapes as would be found in any branch of magic, they just didn't get the recognition Harry did.

50 years from now most of us will pass without leaving much behind. A good reason to get involved in the WEAR and similar things. Never before in history have we had the chance to leave behind a snapshot of the entire group of escaoplogists and escape artists at one time. We could leave that behind.

There have to be at least 3-4 times as many as I have come across. Don't think for A minute that I'm not writing down the ones other folks are mentioning.

Carnegie, Will you compile all of them in list form here? That would be nice.
Message: Posted by: SANTINI (Jan 9, 2005 05:01PM)
One escapist who I have a picture of and who I think had one of the oddest names in the biz was a guy named "Captain Jack". Of course there are many others from the 1910 - 1920 period including Nicoli, the Mysterious Kings (a husband and wife act from Houdini's day where the wife actually did a straitjacket, the first reference I have ever seen to a woman doing the jacket), and tons of others.

I wish I was not going by memory and instead had the inventory list for The Escaporium at hand. If I did I could add even more.

Steve Santini

Two others from the early part of the 1900's just came to mind...

"Bodini" and Hicko".

Then of course there was also Trudel, Pop Reno, Hardeen Jr., Doc Weiss, etc, etc, etc.

Steve Santini
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Jan 9, 2005 05:11PM)
I'd like to add David Deval to the mix too. A great inventer of escape equipment as well as being an excellent performer and genuine nice guy.

Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 9, 2005 05:39PM)
How about Prynce Wheeler. there was also a Picture of a Lady Standing next to a Milk Can. one person said it looked to be about 1890's yet this lady goes un named and the picture is now gone from the internet. because it was taken down.
Message: Posted by: MarkTripp (Jan 9, 2005 06:15PM)

Alan Alan

NO ONE remembered him?
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Jan 9, 2005 06:26PM)
I just had a look at the guy with escape artist postcards. He had an interesting pricing structure. It wasn't logical, but interesting.

I like the convict or strongman photos being sold as escape artist postcards. The best is the Houdini for $1,800. Very nice signature, but rubbered stamped.
Message: Posted by: RickSilmser (Jan 9, 2005 06:26PM)
Donster...excellent choice !!! Prynce Wheeler is a wonderful choice !

Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Jan 10, 2005 02:35AM)
Mark! Good Choice. Alan Alan. Upside down Chain escape from burning rope. Climb rope, slip. Fire goes all over the place. Brilliant! He seem ed to have a bit of a comedian in him while being tied up too. Love his work.

Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 10, 2005 07:19AM)
Anyone knows where to purchase a tape of Alan Alan ?
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Jan 10, 2005 07:25AM)
I thought Alan Alan was still alive? When did he pass away?
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 10, 2005 07:56AM)
I never knew that he Did ?
Message: Posted by: Wolflock (Jan 10, 2005 08:11AM)
He is still alive.

Don. Speak to Ian. He has a lot of Alan Alan's Stuff.
Message: Posted by: Cindi (Jan 10, 2005 08:12AM)
The photo of the woman you speak of is located on my other website at:
Although it is not sure of who she is or maybe even an assistant.

Take care
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 10, 2005 08:15AM)
Cindi yes that is the Picture I was Referring to. but why does no one know the name of the Lady. also what time frame is that Picture From.
Message: Posted by: Paul Reardon (Jan 10, 2005 08:40AM)
Hello All,
I kinda think the woman in the photo is Adelaide Scarcez Herrmann (1854-1932) who worked with her husband Alexander Hermann (the Great). She took up the act when he died in 1896. Eventually she toured with an "Oriental" magic show designed by Chung Ling Soo.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 10, 2005 08:42AM)
Paul how old would you say that Picture is or Might be.
Message: Posted by: Paul Reardon (Jan 10, 2005 03:29PM)
Don, I really don't know how old the pic is. I seem to remember her (this photo) showing up on a web discussion or in a book somewhere. The id was speculatively attributed to Adelaide Hermann. She was the "shiznet" of female magi's of her time, and carried on the Hermann magical tradition for decades after Alexander's death. Alexander had followed in his older brother Carl's footsteps. For a couple of years after the death of her husband, she worked with Alexander's nephew Leon, whom she had come from Europe to tour with her. Anyway, as for the date of the photo, I'm sure your estimate would be more informed than mine! By the way, that is the largest milk can for escaping I have ever seen.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 10, 2005 03:45PM)
Paul I'm Guessing the Pic. Might be From the 1890's I do Admit The Milk Can is Big.
Message: Posted by: CARNEGIE (Jan 10, 2005 05:58PM)
The photograph is not of Adelaide Herrmann, though I sadly do not recall the woman's name. It appeared on the Magical Past-times website which is no longer working. The size of the can leads me to believe it may have belonged to Kassner who was a German Illusionist who some believe lost his entire show to Gerhard Schrieber, later known as Kalanag. Kassner had a poster called "Der Mann in der Kanne" and his can was oversized, just like the one in the photo. Then again, maybe Kassner obtained the can from the lady, whoever she is.
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Jan 13, 2005 02:55PM)
Yes, the party confiscated Kassner's show and gave it to Schreiber. It's amazing that Schreiber was able to re-emerge as Kalanag after the war and come off smelling like a rose.

Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 13, 2005 03:02PM)
How does one find all of this information out.
Message: Posted by: CARNEGIE (Jan 13, 2005 04:09PM)
Magic History my boy, lol. Try the following books:

Magic: A Pictorial History of Conjurers in the Theater by David Price
Illustrated History of Magic by Milbourne Christopher
The Annals of Conjuring
The Great Illusionists by Edwin Dawes

But more specifically, there was an article about Kalanag a couple years ago in MAGIC Magazine which told the most incredible story of Kalanad and Nazi Gold. It was unreal. I'm not sure if the Kassner/Kalanag event was actually proven, but basically Kassner had a huge touring show one day and the following day it was gone. Then a very short time later Kalanag emerged.

Incidentally, Kalanag was the magician who first inspired Siegfried Fischbacher of Siegfried and Roy. Years ago, Genii magazine also put out excerps from a biography written about Kalanag.

I know that's off the Icon topic, but at least it will answer Donsters question about finding out the info.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Jan 13, 2005 05:21PM)
Kalanag was a Gestapo Commandant of a prisoner of war compound of which my late great friend (And escapologist) Alan Burford (The mind behind Levant`s World Wonder Show)Was an inmate,,,,through their common bond of magic Alans time was made a lot easier,,,,Im off the topic but thought it would be of interest. I have a book full of stories (True that is) Of POW`s under Kalanag.
Message: Posted by: CARNEGIE (Jan 13, 2005 05:24PM)
Would love to hear some of these stories of yours about Kalanag and the POWs. It might have to be posted under a different heading than the escape section, but it would be very interesting to read the accounts.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Jan 13, 2005 05:43PM)
Yes I have a fair bit of Alans left overs to go through,,,oh to have the time,,,this guy made me a Wrestling Cheese cos he worked on Selbits copy for Levant,,,,one day, maybe next year or who knows, just don`t have the time right now !!!
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 14, 2005 02:56AM)
I agree ones stories can be fun and interesting to learn from and hear about.