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Anatole
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I don't believe this idea has been posted on the Café before.

One of my all-time favorite books is Michael Hart's _The 100: A Ranking of the 100 Most Influential Persons in History_. It occurred to me that it would be interesting to rank the top 100 most influential magicians in history. Each of us on the Café would no doubt have a widely different list from each other, but there would probably be some overlap.

To start the ball rolling, I will list my own "Top 10 Most Influential Magicians of All Time" with a sentence or two about why I picked them. I figure that the top 10 from other readers will differ enough from mine that we'll end up with additional names to help fill out the remaining 90 slots.

Without further ado--
Amado Narvaez's Ranking of the Top 100 Magicians in History
1. Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin. He heads the list not just because his performing style supposedly brought magic into the "modern" age, but because two of his books, _Secrets of Conjuring and Magic_ (in French: _Comment on Devient Sorcier: Les Secrets de la Prestidigitation et de la Magie_ ) and his memoir _Confidences d’un Prestidigitateur_ influenced whole generations of magicians that came after him. Yes, Houdini's _The Unmasking_ questioned Robert-Houdin's right to the title of "Father of Modern Magic," but one wonders what would have happened to Erich Weiss if he hadn't come upon the Robert-Houdin book when he did.
2. Harry Houdini. I feel that his name more than any other became synonymous with "magic."
3. Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser. Possibly the greatest rival to Robert-Houdins title as the "Father of Modern Magic" title.
4. Richard Cardini. Vernon described Cardini's act as the most perfect magic act ever to appear on stage. As the most imitated magic act of all time, he definitely belongs near the top.
5. Dai Vernon. He was probably the most influential magician of the 20th century. Considering that Doug Henning got a grant from the Canadian government to study with him, his influence on magic "students" all over the world can't be ignored.
6. U.F. Grant. Magic stores world-wide would have half their inventory decimated if this genius had not turned to magic as his lifetime passion.
7. Channing Pollock. Yes, I know Cantu produced doves before him. But every dove act that followed in the 20th century was influenced by Pollock, not by Cantu. Plus--I'm not sure that Cantu included card manipulations in his act, but 99% of the dove workers who followed Pollock also did card productions.
8. Francis and Antonio Martinka, mainly because they founded America's oldest magic company.
9. Mark Wilson. He brought magic into America's living rooms on a weekly basis.
10. Siegfried and Roy. The first of the Las Vegas magic superstars.

Okay. I've started the ball rolling. I expect some controversy in putting up my list. I included a brief comment on why I perceived each entry as being significant. If others post their picks for the top 10 of their 100, a brief sentence about why they selected their picks would be appreciated.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
Bill Palmer
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There shouldn't be any controversy about this at all. If I understand your thought here, the idea would be to come up with 100 of the most influential magicians in history. There are still 90 slots left, so to speak.

So it would probably be a good idea not to duplicate any on the other lists.

So here are 10 more:

1) Angelo Lewis (Professor Hoffmann) -- wrote several books, including the four in the Modern Magic series and a couple about Robert-Houdin. Many magicians got their start from these books.

2) Harlan Tarbell -- published one of the most popular magic courses of the early 20th century -- most magicians know his work.

3) Bartolomeo Bosco -- performed all over Europe, and was considered to be the most masterful cups and balls worker of his time, if not for all time.

4) Joseph Buatier (AKA Buatier DeKolta) -- invented the silk pull, the DeKolta chair and the spring flowers, as well as other magical props we still use to this day.

5) Doug Henning -- started the revival of magic of the 1970's.

6) David Blaine -- took magic to the urban streets.

7) Uri Geller -- focused people's minds on mentalism.

8) Professor Herwin (William Humpage) -- who invented the Thumb Tip in 1885.

9) J. Barrows Mussey (Henry Hay) -- who translated some excellent magic books and wrote several very good ones as well.

10) Herschmann Chaim Steinschneider (Erik Jan Hanussen) -- who successfully predicted the Reichstag fire, possibly insuring his own success by assigning an arsonist to do the dirty work. This resulted in Hitler taking complete power over Germany. The rest is history. Hanussen should have stuck to muscle reading. But one must admit, like him or not, he certainly was influential.
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David Charvet
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OK, I'll bite ... Here's my 10... In no particular order:

1. Howard Thurston. Headed America's greatest magic show from 1908-1935.

2. Harry Blackstone, Sr. Headed America's greatest magic show from 1935-1955.

3. Jack Gwynne. Brought illusions from the stage to the modern performing era.

4. Okito (Theodore Bamberg). Artistic creator and performer.

5. Fu Manchu (David Bamberg). Ditto.

6. Dante (Harry Jansen). The greatest world-touring illusionist from 1927-1950.

7. Harry Kellar. America's most famous magician from 1896-1908

8. Alexander Herrmann. Became the accepted "image" of a magician - 1875-1896.

9. Robert Harbin. The greatest creator of modern illusions during the mid/late-20th century.

10. Servais LeRoy. The greatest creator of illusions during the first half of the 20th century.
mtpascoe
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1. Slydini who took Dai Vernon’s natural magic to another extreme.

2. Fred Kaps who did the same thing, but on stage.

3. Marshall Brodien that sold magic kits to those young people in the ‘70s that was influenced by Doug Henning.

4. David Copperfield who combined theatre and magic and brought it to the little screen.

5. Joseph Dunniger who brought modern mentalism to the little screen

6. Kreskin who continued the tradition.

7. James Randi who showed us that things are not always what they seem.

8. Robert Heller who opened the path to the traveling magic show in America.

9. John Nevil Maskelyne known as the Chief built illusions which highly influence magicians in his era.

10. Al Goshman who showed us how to use Sponge Balls.
landmark
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1. Ted Annemann--the father of 20th century mentalism and editor of The Jinx.

2. S.W. Erdnase--always leave them guessing.

3. Richard Kauffman-publisher and writer extraordinaire of more quality magic books than just about anyone.

4. John Ramsay-- a new era in coin magic and misdirection.

5. T. Nelson Downs--the world's most popular stage coin manipulator.

6. Jim Steinmeyer--illusions created in so many venues.

7. David Devant--laid down the elements of Our Magic.

8 and 9. Penn and Teller--expanded the notion of how magicians could play.

10. Jean Hugard--co author of Royal Road and ECT, and editor of Hugard's Monthly Magazine.
Danny Schreiber
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A few more to add to the consideration (in no particular order):

1) Isaac Fawkes - hugely successful conjurer of fairs and taverns in the 1700's (early 18th Century)

2) Giuseppe Pinetti - one of the first successful conjurers in legit theatres (late 18th Century)

3) Al Wheatley – invented the chop cup (1901-1965)

4) Lance Burton

5) Louis Comte –( Louis Apollinaire Christian Emmanuel Comte) often credited with being the first to pull a white rabbit from a black hat which is possibly the most iconic image of a magician today (side note…Some argue John Henry Anderson- The Wizard of the North was the first to pull a rabbit from a hat)

6) Milt Larsen – Academy of Magical Arts (Magic Castle) & Genii Magazine

7) Philip Breslaw– possibly the first to perform a second sight routine (late 18th Century)

8) Reginald Scot – while technically not a magician, he wrote what many consider to be the first textbook on magic (16th Century)

9) P. T. Selbit – credited with being the first to perform sawing a women in half illusion among others (early 20th Century)

10) J. B. Bobo – contributions to coin magic with Modern Coin Magic book
Bill Palmer
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Prevost's book "Clever and Pleasant Inventions" was actually published before Reginald Scot's book.
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Samuel Catoe
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Here's some more

1. Max Maven – who just is. One of magic's greatest historian/performer/mentalist/thinker.

2. Banachek (Steve Shaw) – Psychological Subtleties, need I say more?

3. Dean Dill - one of magic's great inventors

4. David Roth – he brought coin magic out of the dark ages and onto the table

5. David Berglas – one of the masters of magic in the 20th century

6. & 7. Jay Marshall – who brought us Lefty; Francis Ireland – who, along with Jay, sold many their first magic tricks.

8. Al Flosso – whose work with the Miser’s Dream alone stands as a testament to audience management, then there’s all that other stuff he did too.

9. Ted Lesley – whose work with the marked cards revolutionized the magic world. He is a legend in the mentalist community for his ingenuity and his ability to create unbelievable magic with ordinary objects.

10. Al Baker – another giant of magic who created miracles like The Pack That Cuts Itself (haunted deck; and not the cheap magic shop version either)
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landmark
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Haven't got to 100 yet Smile Anyone?
Anatole
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So far I count about 78 people in the Magic 100 as submitted by Café readers.

There is a predominance of men from Europe and the Americas. Unless I missed him, I am surprised that Sorcar has not appeared on anyone's list. Lance Burton also is missing from the list, although as the first IBM Gold Medalist and the first American FISM Grand Prix winner I would expect him to be there. Surprisingly, neither Ching Ling Foo nor Chung Ling Soo (William Ellsworth Robinson) have been suggested, either, although they were the most prominent in the trend of Oriental magic performers. Perhaps we should also add Walter B. Gibson, not just for the magic books he wrote under his own name but also the books he ghost-wrote for Houdini, Thurston and Dunninger. Wikipedia also notes that "Gibson also introduced the famous 'Chinese linking rings' trick in America, and invented the 'Nickels to Dimes' trick that is still sold in magic stores to this day." Can anyone confirm that it was Gibson who introduced the ring trick in America? I would have guessed its history in America was older than that.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
JNeal
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Without question.... Walter Gibson did NOT introduce the Chinese Linking Rings to America.

Lance Burton was listed at about #64 in the above lists, as posted by Danny Schreiber

BTW-Where is Helmut Schreiber?
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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2010-04-23 21:21, JNeal wrote:

BTW-Where is Helmut Schreiber?


That depends on whether one believes in divine retribution.

Quote:
On 2010-04-23 19:16, Anatole wrote:
So far I count about 78 people in the Magic 100 as submitted by Café readers.

There is a predominance of men from Europe and the Americas. Unless I missed him, I am surprised that Sorcar has not appeared on anyone's list. Lance Burton also is missing from the list, although as the first IBM Gold Medalist and the first American FISM Grand Prix winner I would expect him to be there. Surprisingly, neither Ching Ling Foo nor Chung Ling Soo (William Ellsworth Robinson) have been suggested, either, although they were the most prominent in the trend of Oriental magic performers. Perhaps we should also add Walter B. Gibson, not just for the magic books he wrote under his own name but also the books he ghost-wrote for Houdini, Thurston and Dunninger. Wikipedia also notes that "Gibson also introduced the famous 'Chinese linking rings' trick in America, and invented the 'Nickels to Dimes' trick that is still sold in magic stores to this day." Can anyone confirm that it was Gibson who introduced the ring trick in America? I would have guessed its history in America was older than that.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez


Re: Wikipedia. Is there ANYONE on the planet who actually believes that Wikipedia's information is more than 50% correct?
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Kim
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Re: Wikipedia. Is there ANYONE on the planet who actually believes that Wikipedia's information is more than 50% correct?
[/quote]

Bill, sadly there are many that seem to think it's not only accurate, but the last word on a subject too.
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mtpascoe
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Quote:

BTW-Where is Helmut Schreiber?


I have never heard of him. But, while we are on the subject of German magicians, there was a guy named Kalanag. I wonder if Mr. Schreiber has ever heard of him? They probably never crossed paths.

Kalanag's greatest trick was to make Helmut Schreiber disappear. I suppose you can never travel around the world with a name that also belongs to a former SS Officer. (I know, I know it's Helmuth not Helmut, but to us non speaking German's, it looks similar.)
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Pascoe:

I know you are kidding about not having heard of Helmut Schreiber, and about Kalanag's greatest trick being making Helmut Schreiber disappear.

Helmut Schreiber was actually Kalanag's name. He was a controversial figure for many reaons. He was highly placed in the German film industry during WW II. There is at least one photograph of him wearing what appears to be an SS tunic.

Note: The "Helmuth Schreiber" that shows up on Wikipedia, "the source of all truth," is a different person. Helmut(h) was a very common German name, and so is Schreiber. Helmuth is an archaic spelling of Helmut.

Kalanag's records disappeared at the end of WW II. According to Punx, who was a friend of mine and who knew Kalanag, Punx's brother was bribed by Kalanag to destroy Kalanag's service record toward the end of the war. There have been stories linking him to the disappearance of a large shipment of gold. However, this assertion is completely unprovable.

Numerous horror stories about Kalanag circulated after the War; however, it now appears that he may have been responsible for saving the lives of several Jewish magicians.

No matter what anyone's opinion of Kalanag may have been, he certainly had a positive impact on German magic. He was president of the Magischer Zirkel von Deutschland from 1936 until the end of the War.

He was the bearer of the Hofzinser ring for several years. This is an award for German speaking magicians. More about this can be found in the back of Once Upon a Time. Kalanag trouped a magnificent illusion show. Lavish might be a better word. He spared absolutely no expense in bringing new material to his audiences.

Some have called him brilliant. Others have called him a violent anti-Semite. Others think that he was simply an opportunist of the lowest kind.

With the turmoil that accompanied the destruction of Germany and the years right after the war, nobody alive knows the truth about Kalanag -- except that the Germans, for the most part, still regard him very highly.
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mtpascoe
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Schreiber was a go getter in that he didn't let the defeat of the German army stop him from pursuing his goal. After the bad publicity about the Nazi's came out, Hitler's favorite magician was in damage control to hide his background.

I don't know too much about him except for what I have read in the magic books, which you have to take with a grain of salt as they are very bias. I do have an original program from one of his shows though.

I read that his wife, Gloria De Vos, offered Siegfried and Roy Kalanag's show, kind of like a passing of the mantle so to speak post mortem. They refused and said that they didn't want to change their style, but I don't think they wanted to be associated with background Kalanag had.
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What is your source of information on the alleged "passing of the mantle" to Siegfried and Roy? When was this supposed to have taken place? She tried to sell Kalanag's act to a number of different people.

As far as media bias in magic magazines is concerned, I have seen relatively little, considering the various things that Kalanag has been reported to have done. The German magazines praise him to the skies. Very little negative about Kalanag has appeared in the American magic press.
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mtpascoe
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My only source comes from S & R's autobiography. Not sure how truthfully everything in there is, but I am not sure if they would lie about the story with Gloria De Vos. They don't have anything to gain by it.

Now the other stories...

You are correct, the American magic press has always praised Kalanag. But, I remember when I was a teen and I use to go to magic meetings near LAX that had Chris Michaels, Bob Wagner and his sister, and Arnold Furst to name a few. I remember over hearing Wagner's sister talk about the great magicians of the 50's. Everyone in that klatch talked about who they like and who was overrated.

They all agreed that Blackstone was a great magician. They all respected him. But, they did not think very highly of Sorcar or Kalanag.

As I got older, I realized that this kind of gossip happens all of the time and you can't believe everything that was said. For instance, I talked to a layperson from India that thought Sorcar was incredible. Go figure.
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