The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Is there any Chung Ling Soo footage? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Vanian
View Profile
Regular user
Pasadena, CA - Portland, OR
131 Posts

Profile of Vanian
I tried searching both here in these forums as well as the Internet in general and wasn't able to find if there was any rare film footage of Willliam Robinson/Chung Ling Soo, so I thought I'd ask the vintage magic buffs here. Any of you know of, or have, rare film footage of Chung Ling Soo? Or was there not ever any footage captured? (I've heard he made more money than Houdini with his performances, so I thought someone must have captured his act at some point.)

While researching, I did find an old news reel of Annemann doing a bullet catch in public. If you have never seen it, here it is:

http://sandersthegreat.co.uk/magicians/a......et-catch
MagiClyde
View Profile
Special user
Columbus, Ohio
871 Posts

Profile of MagiClyde
I was surprised to read on this site that it was his worry over performing this trick that caused Annemann to commit suicide. If so, it was a real shame that he didn't just quit doing this trick rather than take his own life. One can't help but wonder if he was even thinking logically or if there were other issues going on in his life that made him choose such a radical course of action.
Magic! The quicker picker-upper!
Kevin Connolly
View Profile
Inner circle
New Jersey
1329 Posts

Profile of Kevin Connolly
The Annemann story was just a rumor. Very tall tale.
Please visit my website.
www.houdinihimself.com

Always looking buy or trade for original Houdini, Hardeen and escape artist items. I'm interested in books, pitchbooks and ephemera. Email [email]hhoudini@optonline.net[/email]
Vanian
View Profile
Regular user
Pasadena, CA - Portland, OR
131 Posts

Profile of Vanian
Quote:
On 2007-11-09 02:34, Kevin Connolly wrote:
The Annemann story was just a rumor. Very tall tale.


What part of it was a rumor? The worrying over the routine, or the suicide? From what I have read from several different sources, he DID commit suicide right before one of his Bullet Catch routines, but the most likely reason for his suicide was due to general stage fright and/or drug abuse.

The rumor part that may be a very tall drink of bull that I heard was that he performed the Bullet Catch in hopes that it would fail and cause his death. Then again, someone who is abusing drugs isn't always in their right mind to begin with, so this may have been true as well for all we know...
RS1963
View Profile
Inner circle
2711 Posts

Profile of RS1963
I'm sure the being worried about the Bullet Catch was extreme bull. Sounds like someone with too much time on there hands and not enough brain power to do something useful came up with that trash. It happened a very long time ago. What does it matter anyway what caused him to commit suicide? That was not the original question of the topic, so let's get back to that.

Randy
mtpascoe
View Profile
Inner circle
1933 Posts

Profile of mtpascoe
The Ted Annemann story is very real unfortunately. His untimely death would make a great movie of the week. No one knows for sure why he committed suicide. What puzzles people is, why didn’t he go out on a grand scale like having to be shot to death? What an amazing amount of publicity he could have gotten.

But I suppose there are many reasons for this. If he was a publicity hound, during his career he would have been more famous than Dunninger and would not have been the troubled person he was.

Maybe he didn’t want to put the guilt on the shooter. Or, maybe he just had a suicidal moment that he carried out at the instant when he was alone in his room. We will never know for sure.

What we do know is his story is very much real. He is connected to the Bullet Catch even though he didn’t die by it. He was definitely an enigma.
RS1963
View Profile
Inner circle
2711 Posts

Profile of RS1963
Back to the topic.

I have never heard of any footage of Soo existing. There could be, but I would think that if there was it would have appeared somewhere by now. His name escapes me at the moment, but the magician that took over being editor of Magic magazine from Stan Allen for a year or so may know if there is any footage or not. If I'm not mistaken, he has footage of many past magicians.
Vanian
View Profile
Regular user
Pasadena, CA - Portland, OR
131 Posts

Profile of Vanian
Quote:
On 2007-11-09 15:31, RS1963 wrote:
His name escapes me at the moment, but the magician that took over being editor of Magic magazine from Stan Allen for a year or so may know if there is any footage or not. If I'm not mistaken, he has footage of many past magicians.


I'll research who that is and see if I can contact them. The reason I asked was I was curious how his mannerisms were (Robinson as Chung Ling Soo); how authentic his acting was and, of course, just the general performance aspects of such a classic magician.

I've been wondering lately, in today's day and age, if such a character-based performance would still work or go over well. It unfortunately seems to me that it wouldn't, only because the younger generation is so reality-show based they would rather see people breaking each others bones on YouTube than a classical, mysterious Chinese magic act. So I am doing research on how to possibly update this style. (Maybe by doing a mystical Tibetan shaman thing or something?)
mtpascoe
View Profile
Inner circle
1933 Posts

Profile of mtpascoe
When Chung Ling Foo performed around the turn of the last century, motion pictures was in its infancy. Many magicians where cast in celluloid, but I have never heard whether Foo did. The only thing we have to go off of is the description of how he moved and walked. There are plenty of sources for that; the Master Magicians, Illustrated History of Magic, the Riddle of Chung Ling Soo, and of course, Steinmeyer’s recent book, the Glorious Deception.

I think it would be nice to combine old and new styles of presentation. I guess I’m partial to the old presentation only because we have always read about these performances of the greats, but never have seen them.

Good luck.
Tony James
View Profile
Inner circle
Cheshire UK
1398 Posts

Profile of Tony James
I've asked this same question a number of times over here and always drawn a blank. I find it strange.

He was a man very much of his time. He had motor cars and he was a pilot although I'm not certain if he owned his own plane.

Film was popular. The first custom built cinemas were built here around 1909, a long time before he died. He was a clever self publicist who never missed an opportunity. Look at the amazing diversity of posters which were pasted side by side making astonishing runs.

Film was being taken of all manner of promotional events and it seems most strange that he wouldn't have taken advantage of it.

Also, he had his effects photographed in detail in theatres. Wouldn't you think he would have had his show filmed? Or was the light in a theatre simply too low. But it wouldn't have stopped him taking some of his effects into a studio, which usually had glass roofs to let in light.

Perhaps he did and it hasn't survived. Or maybe it still awaits discovery. A couple or three years ago a shop was being renovated in the North of England and sealed drums were found in the cellars. They contained miles of almost brand new film taken pre 1914 till around 1920. It is mostly in perfect condition and has formed a fascinating window on the world. I was hoping that maybe, somewhere.......... But apparently not. But there were other interesting glimpses of theatrical promotions so the possibility of there having been something is I think very strong.

Strange too that nothing has emerged from newsreel films of the aftermath of his death. Now much of that would have been outdoors, the inquest with people attending and gathering outside, the funeral etc. It does make you wonder.
Tony James

Still A Child At Heart
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24223 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
Quote:
On 2007-11-09 15:50, genshi wrote:
Quote:
On 2007-11-09 15:31, RS1963 wrote:
His name escapes me at the moment, but the magician that took over being editor of Magic magazine from Stan Allen for a year or so may know if there is any footage or not. If I'm not mistaken, he has footage of many past magicians.


I'll research who that is and see if I can contact them. The reason I asked was I was curious how his mannerisms were (Robinson as Chung Ling Soo); how authentic his acting was and, of course, just the general performance aspects of such a classic magician.

I've been wondering lately, in today's day and age, if such a character-based performance would still work or go over well. It unfortunately seems to me that it wouldn't, only because the younger generation is so reality-show based they would rather see people breaking each others bones on YouTube than a classical, mysterious Chinese magic act. So I am doing research on how to possibly update this style. (Maybe by doing a mystical Tibetan shaman thing or something?)


That may be John Moehring you are referring to.

Be careful of performing characters that are outside your own ethnic group. I may be wrong in assuming that you are not Asian. If you are Asian, I apologize for making a snap judgment. This is a very sensitive issue in the Asian community.

What one person intends to be a celebration or even a glorification of a person may be unintentionally interpreted as racism.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24223 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
Quote:
On 2007-11-09 16:13, mtpascoe wrote:
When Chung Ling Foo performed around the turn of the last century, motion pictures was in its infancy. Many magicians where cast in celluloid, but I have never heard whether Foo did. The only thing we have to go off of is the description of how he moved and walked. There are plenty of sources for that; the Master Magicians, Illustrated History of Magic, the Riddle of Chung Ling Soo, and of course, Steinmeyer’s recent book, the Glorious Deception.

I think it would be nice to combine old and new styles of presentation. I guess I’m partial to the old presentation only because we have always read about these performances of the greats, but never have seen them.

Good luck.


And now the great mystery. What was the true identity of Chung Ling Foo?
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Mik
View Profile
Regular user
Luton UK now Seattle US
189 Posts

Profile of Mik
And now the great mystery. What was the true identity of Chung Ling Foo?


Chee Ling Qua
From the mind of Mik
mtpascoe
View Profile
Inner circle
1933 Posts

Profile of mtpascoe
A lot of people from the Asian community liked Billy Robinson. He did not use offensive stereo types like using yellow make-up and such. As far as footage, with this day and age, I’m sure someone would have something if it existed. I hope someone can find it, it would be nice. But, just like those that survive of Thurston and Houdini, they are silent films that don’t capture the real essence of the performer.
Mints
View Profile
New user
16 Posts

Profile of Mints
For those who are interested, there is a BBC documentary series on youtube about Levitation. It includes a footage of Chung Ling Soo, I think it's part 5. He is not performing though, just shaking hands and smiling at the camera.
DStachowiak
View Profile
Inner circle
Baltimore, MD
2158 Posts

Profile of DStachowiak
Quote:
On 2007-11-09 15:25, mtpascoe wrote:
The Ted Annemann story is very real unfortunately. His untimely death would make a great movie of the week. No one knows for sure why he committed suicide. What puzzles people is, why didn’t he go out on a grand scale like having to be shot to death? What an amazing amount of publicity he could have gotten.

But I suppose there are many reasons for this. If he was a publicity hound, during his career he would have been more famous than Dunninger and would not have been the troubled person he was.

Maybe he didn’t want to put the guilt on the shooter. Or, maybe he just had a suicidal moment that he carried out at the instant when he was alone in his room. We will never know for sure.

What we do know is his story is very much real. He is connected to the Bullet Catch even though he didn’t die by it. He was definitely an enigma.

Dantini, who performed nightly at the Peabody Café and Bookstore in Baltimore for many years, told me that Annemann was extremely despondent over marital troubles and financial difficulties at the time of his suicide, and that most of those who knew him privately believed that these problems contributed to his mental state. That being said, the truth is that he was probably suffering from what is today referred to as clinical depression, and the current view is that this condition has much more to do with imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain than it has with any external causes. In fact it's possible that his marital and financial problems were symptoms, rather than causes, of his illness.
Woke up.
Fell out of bed.
Dragged a comb across m' head.
mtpascoe
View Profile
Inner circle
1933 Posts

Profile of mtpascoe
His story would make a great movie.
MichalAngelo
View Profile
New user
66 Posts

Profile of MichalAngelo
Quote:
On 2008-01-07 21:18, Tony James wrote:

Film was popular. The first custom built cinemas were built here around 1909, a long time before he died.


I would not call 9 years a long time. Soo was killed in 1918.
Prober
View Profile
New user
71 Posts

Profile of Prober
Yes, the only known footage of Chung Ling Soo was turned up around five years ago by a friend of mine here in Brighton, England. He is a general film archive researcher and discovered a short bit with Soo shaking hands and chatting with soldiers. The reason that this was newsworthy back then is because he 'came out' about not really being Chinese (which he had posed as offstage to the public as well as on) as the Boxer Rebels in China were apparently commiting attrocities against Western troops in their uprising and he was afraid of a backlash from the British public. So it's not just recently that conflict has been the way to get media attention for celebrities then!
mormonyoyoman
View Profile
Inner circle
I dug 5,000 postholes, but I have only
2439 Posts

Profile of mormonyoyoman
Quote:
On 2008-02-19 02:50, Bill Palmer wrote:
And now the great mystery. What was the true identity of Chung Ling Foo?


Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward

*jeep!
--Grandpa
#ShareGoodness #ldsconf
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Is there any Chung Ling Soo footage? (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.15 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