The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Mysterious Smith (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

ClintonMagus
View Profile
Inner circle
Southwestern Southeast
3999 Posts

Profile of ClintonMagus
I was looking through my books a few weeks ago and found two interesting items. First, there was a copy of "100 Years of Magic posters" signed, simply, "Chanin". There was also another book that was evidently from the library of "Mysterious Smith".

I know some things about Jack Chanin, but I can't locate anything of substance on Mysterious Smith. Can anyone here point me toward any information on him?
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
gfajuri
View Profile
Regular user
120 Posts

Profile of gfajuri
Try "Words about Wizards" by Robert Parrish. It's available from Amazon, and some magic dealers.
mrmagician
View Profile
Regular user
125 Posts

Profile of mrmagician
There have been seveal Mysterious Smiths. What is the copyright of the book you have?
There was a magician in the late 20's and 30's that lived in Kentucky that went by the name of Mysterious Smith. He is mentioned in one of the Henry Ridgely Evans books. His wife also perfomred with him. She went by the name of Madame Olga. His two tricks he made famous was the Linking Rings and Escaping from a strait jacket after being placed in a coffin. His real name was Albert Smith, I think.
Steve Burton
View Profile
Loyal user
251 Posts

Profile of Steve Burton
The Tarbell Companion has a postcard of Mysterious Smith on page 118. Tarbell wrote that it was a reproduction of a placard Smith used in his performances. It shows six photos which seem to indicate he had a big show.
julieannjohnson
View Profile
Veteran user
305 Posts

Profile of julieannjohnson
I have two pitch books by Mysterious Smith and Mme Olga. One is the Mme. Olga Dream Book, with a lucky horseshoe and (pre-Hitler) swastika card on the back cover as a good luck talisman and keepsake.

The only data I can find online about this pair is here -- with pictures of promotional material for their Temple of Mystery and mind reading acts, circa 1926 - 1933:

http://vitaphone.blogspot.com/2007/03/te......ery.html
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24222 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
Considering the performance dates on the Mysterious Smith posters on that blog, it would probably be of value to search through back issues of the Linking Ring and the Sphinx. Maybe Variety or Billboard would have some information as well.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
houdinisghost
View Profile
Loyal user
287 Posts

Profile of houdinisghost
Joe Berg wrote a little piece about Mysterious Smith and included a very nice headshot in "the Berg Book," which I don't have any longer or I would tell you specifically what Joe wrote about Smith.
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24222 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
Thanks for the clue about the Berg book:

On page 52, there is a two paragraph story about Mysterious Smith.

I won't quote it in its entirety here, but Joe states that Smith was not his real name. He was French, and used the name Smith, because it sounded American to him. He did a trick where he was put into a straitjacket, then nailed into a coffin, from which he escape.

Berg got Paul Rosini a job with Mysterious Smith. He states that he thought that Rosini had signed on with Smith to learn this escape. He never did, though.

Neither did Joe, for that matter. He said in the book "If you're in a coffin, how can you get out of a straight (sic) jacket, and if you're in a straight (sic) jacket, how can you get out of a coffin? That trick still amazes me."

For some reason, Smith enjoyed performing in the small theatres in Polish neighborhoods.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
julieannjohnson
View Profile
Veteran user
305 Posts

Profile of julieannjohnson
Thanks, Bill, for that information. My interest in the pair was originally in the Mme Olga portion, as she was a mind reader, and I am partial to historical female mind readers -- but you have given me some insight into the nature of their stage act that opens up new insights.

I was also interested in Mysterious Smith and Mme Olga becuse theirs was a "Temple of Mystery" act, and as I have mentioned elsewhere in the Café, I recently found tickets to a "Temple of Mystery" act presented at Luna Park, Coney Island, by Julius and Agnes Zancig, an earlier mind reading duo.

The Zancigs' Temple of Mystery show predated the Mysterious Smith and Mme Olga Temple of Mystery show with no overlap in performace eras. Julius Zancig retired from the stage in the early to mid 1920s to do private readings. We know that Zancig advertised to sell his code act when he retired (this information has appeared in print in several places). Zancig died in 1929. The Mysterious Smith and Mme Olga Temple of Mystery apparently debuted in 1926.

But what is *really* interesting in what you posted here is that Paul Rosini (Paul Vucic) worked with Mysterious Smith and Mme Olga -- because Rosini had also worked in the Zancig act in 1917, when he replaced Agnes Zancig as Julius's code act partner after Agnes' death. Rosini only worked in the Zancig Temple of Mystery act for one year, and left when he was drafted into WWI.

I was wondering if there was more than just a name similarity between the Zancigs' Temple of Mystery mind reading act and the Mysterious Smith Temple of Mystery mind reading act -- and now Paul Rosini appears as a member of both troupes. Interesting ...

Since the article I cited above notes that Mme Olga left the Mysterious Smith Company in 1933, I now wonder if Rosini was brought in to replace her, just as he had been brought in to replace the departed Agnes Zancig 16 years earlier in the Zancig code act. He would have been one of very few people who knew that particular code act and excelled at it.

It's something to speculate about, anyway.

Thanks!
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24222 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
That's very interesting. Evidently, Joe Berg did not realize this was the situation.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
mrmagician
View Profile
Regular user
125 Posts

Profile of mrmagician
I was one of the early posters on this thread. Regarding Mysterious Smith, I owned the strait jacket he used for years to escape from and also out of a casket. I sold it at a time in which I was in the process of thinning things out. Too much stuff. I still own his linking rings. If you will search the Ridgley Evans books, there is a nice write up about him and it tells of these two tricks. I have some period 8x10 photos of him and his wife. His name was Albert P. Smith and he retired to a home at Madisonville Ky. He was fascinated with the advent of moving pictures, so he became a photographer after he crated up his magic illusions. He also made some early movies of magicians at conventions and of his full evening show. Sorry to say, I do not know where they turned up. I had one large 1930's movie reel from his collection in which the film was totally welded together. Because of it's combustible danger, and the fact that it could not be salvaged, I disposed of it. I do have two small "front" reels that were used at Theaters to advertise his upcoming performance at the theater or at a theater in a town. They are graphics only. There is a set of gawdy one sheet posters that he used. He might have other ones prior to these. I own a set of the three. They are actually on brittle paper and cheaply printed. A man secured the entire collection after Smith's death. He was only interesed in a couple of things, which he kept. One was a talking tea kettle that came from David P Abbott. The remainder of the collection was sold for $xxx.xx to Bill Boley of Hopkinsville, Ky. Over the years, he sold off or traded off the entire collection. Bill was a great guy. I have a few remanants from the Mysterious Smith Show. For a magician to make it into any of the Ridgely Evans books, that magician had to be high profile. His name will remain in the annals of magic.
Garry Hayes / Nashville, TN
julieannjohnson
View Profile
Veteran user
305 Posts

Profile of julieannjohnson
Thank you, Garry -- that added quite a lot to my tiny mental store of information about Mysterious Smith and Madame Olga. I'd love to see some of the items you mentioned scanned and posted on the web for future generations to enjoy (hint hint). Here's another picture:

http://www.martinka.com/martinka/auction......?id=6366

and the next one is the same as one of the two Mysterious Smith items in my own collection:

http://snyderstreasures.com/images/autog......mith.jpg
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Mysterious Smith (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2019 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.16 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL