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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Remember Duke Stern? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Jim Mangham
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I was reading Abbott's Encyclopedia of Rope Tricks (volume 2)...
On page 256, Abbott's four-to-two rope trick...
It says it is a Duke Stern invention (the gimmick and false count moves)...
By the way, the gimmick may be my answer to a question I posed under Knots and Loops.
When I was nine or ten years old Duke Stern opened a magic shop in Shreveport, Louisiana (Duke and Eddie's). The shop stayed open a couple of years.
Shreveport would not support the shop. Duke became a clothing store clerk.
Then Duke fell in with Paul Diamond and went on to be a big name in corporate convention magic. Duke died of a stroke while performing in Atlanta, Georgia.
I'm not sure at what age, but it was too soon.
Duke used to talk about "up north" ... I think he spent some time with the Abbott's
outfit. I was too young to really take advantage of things I could have learned from Duke. Does anyone know why in the world he lit in Shreveport, Louisiana?
Does anyone know the whereabouts of his wife or children?
DonDriver
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Duke died at the Midwest Magic convention in St Louis Mo. of a stroke in the lobby of the hotel it was being held at. He was such a clown and funny guy that I heard that when he fell to the floor with the stroke some of the magicians started to laugh because they all though he was just being his funny self. I'm sure they all felt really bad once they found out he wasn't joking.
Duke and Abb Dixson had a dealer's booth at that convention together. I was there but not when Duke died. I was working a fair in town. When I found out the next day I was in shock as was the entire convention. It sure put a damper on things to say the least.
Abb was telling me a story the day before about Duke. On the plane flight from Atlanta the stewardess ask Duke if he would like a pillow. Duke look up and said "No thanks,if I eat another one of those *** things I'll be sick" Duke had a funny come back for everything.
Duke was also legally blind but it never slowed him down one bit!
Later, Don
Kevin Connolly
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Duke Stern was great. When he worked at Paul Diamond's in Florida is when I met him. After being him that day, I knew from then on, magic was it for me.
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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]
Bill Palmer
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When I got back into magic, the first magic convention I went to was in Abilene TX in 1972. The first trick I bought at that convention was one that Duke was selling -- Farky Hollis Predicts.

Duke was a very funny man, and even though he was legally blind, he could still spot every steal in a dove act!
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Pete Biro
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Dukey, or Sterno, as many of us called him was one of the funniest, naturally funny guys ever in magic.

He and Karrell Fox used to do some of the greatest parodies in magic at the Abbott Get Togethers (and elsewhere). I had the extreme pleasure of being "involved" in many of their gags.

Duke's Dye Version is one of the best effects you can do at a party. It is so easy, yet plays HUGE...

I have a 78 disk of his (his picture on it) that I haven't looked at in years. I think it is just music for magic, but I'm not sure. Will dig it out.

We still miss the man...
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Rick Fisher
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Duke was THE first magician I ever met. He was demonstrating at Abbott's and never forget as a kid of 8 when he wad showing me the ball vase trick and a couple walked in and started picking things up. He politely excused himself and said the visitors "this is no hardware store". I remember being shocked and the couple walking out disgusted...lol..he was terrific. Duke is buried here in Lakeside cemetery in Colon, Michigan..his daughter is a very good friend of our business partner, Marilyn Abbott. Duke and his daughter lived with Percy and the Abbott family for awhile...there will never be another...Cheerio!
Rick Fisher, fabmagic.com - colon,michigan
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kusoyon
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Yes, Duke will live forever in my heart and mind. I met him at Abbott's when I was a teenager back in the 60's. We met at the convention that was held in Colon. He was my mentor and proud to say my friend. The last time I saw Duke was at his little white house over by the Abbott magic shop; we talked about magic and he showed some pictures of his son. He was very proud of him. When I heard of his passing...I cried. Thank you, Duke, for caring about me. You will live forever in my heart and mind. Frank Edwin Thomas~Grand Haven/Muskegon,Michigan
"The closer you look; the less you see"
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Jim Mangham
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Thanks so much for sharing your Duke stories.
I was 9 or 10 when Duke opened a magic shop in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1954.
He called me and my cousin (and all young aspiring magicians) Laddie-my-boy.
I don't think Duke was as far gone with his sight in the early fifties.
Duke did an after-school children's TV show called Magic Matinee.
I was in the gallery at the first show.
Todd Robbins
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Duke lived in the house next to the Abbott's showroom in Colon. He had a crackle finish put on the toliet seat. The house and the toliet seat are no longer there.
Whit Haydn
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Duke was one of the best people (other than Flosso) at working with children on stage that I ever saw. He was amazing to watch, and made a big impression on me when I was a young performer. He was also very warm and kind.
DomKabala
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I met Duke in Ft. Lauderdale in the early '70s at Paul Diamond's magic shop. I was a student at The Art Institute Of Ft. Lauderdale and used to frequent Paul's shop...I believe Duke worked there. I spent a lot time there and saw some amazing magic...wow it's nice to hear about others who new him! Paul Diamond was great also...what great memories!
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magictim
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I never met him, but before David Jones passed away, he told stories about Duke and when Duke and Eddie's was open on Texas Street in Shreveport as well as when J.B. Bobo was still alive and a member of the club here.
themagician64
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I have recently inherited a lot of Dukes hand written jokes, music, props, pictures, books and personal items. I feel honored to receive these items.
Such a wealth of material. He actually lived in my home town of Clarksburg, WV and managed a clothing store there. A friend of mine actually moved him from Shreveport
to Clarksburg. I love to spend hours in my warehouse reading these personal notes, jokes and playing with the vintage magic..
may the Greats Live On!
dlhoyt
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In the middle 1960's I stopped in Colon to visit Abbott's. Duke Stern was behind the counter, but I didn't know who he was at the time. I didn't know very much magic and he was demonstrating some simple pocket tricks for me when two construction workers burst into the shop and interrupted him with a question. "Do you have anything for a 9 year old kid?" Without missing a beat Duke replied: "How about a nice knife or hatchet?" They left and Duke continued demonstrating without any other comments.
atucci
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Hey KRZ4kardz - we certainly walked the same ground as I spent a lot of time in Diamond's in the mid to late seventies. Duke was already gone by then but the local Miami/Ft Lauderdale magi's had nothing but praise for him. BTW, your profile shows you work right down the road (CR 512) from me!

Anthony
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mtgirl
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Duke Stern was my uncle! I know these posts on this thread are old, but I found it when I put in Duke's name to see what information was on the internet about him. He traveled a lot doing magic conventions, and when he was in my home town he would stay with us. Every time he showed me a trick and I asked him how he did it, his response would be "The other way." Then as I got older he taught me a few card tricks! He was an awesome guy, and I loved him, even tho I didn't see him often.
Michael Baker
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I'm glad you brought this thread back up. Duke was my uncle's mentor, who in turn fostered my early interest in magic.

As a teen, I was able to meet Duke when he was in the Atlanta area. Stories about him are legendary here in the Southeast, as I'm sure they are in many other parts of the world.

Immediately following the Midwest Magic Jubilee where he died, Duke was to be at the S.E.A.M. convention in Atlanta. This was my first convention. Instead of Duke, we all saw a large display sign of him, with the announcement of his death. Many people initially thought it was a joke, as this did not seem outside the scope of pranks he would pull.

Regarding such funny business, of particular note was a pantomime magic act he presented of a young boy, doing his first magic show. One of the bits was the vanishing bird cage. After the "proper" hunched stance, and a quick prayer to the heavens, his hands shot forward so hard that his coat flew up over the top of his head.

On another occassion he was in a restaurant and when presented with the bill, held it directly in front of his face (because of his poor eyesight), and then as if severely shocked, fell completely over backward in his chair onto the floor.

I have a couple copies of the LP record album he made, "Abracadabra is my game - with Duke Stern". One of them is autographed. I understand that there was also a recording made of the out-takes. Although I would love to, I have never heard it, but know people who have, and they say it is priceless.

The world is certainly a better place because he was in it.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
donsmagic
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I just listed a brand new still factory sealed Duke Stern record album "Abracadabra Is My Game" on ebay. I remember Duke at Abbott's and I still perform Duke's Dye Version.
Bill Palmer
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I understand that when they buried Duke's ashes in Colon, Karrell Fox (who told me this) wrapped the urn in some papers he found on Recil Bordner's desk.


They were the new price sheets for the Abbott's Catalog.
"The Swatter"

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Rick Fisher
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I met Duke when I was 7 years old...I can remember walking into Abbotts and he was demonstrating Chinese Sticks for me - about that time a couple came in and were spinning around one of the floor displays looking at stuff....Duke said, "Excuse me folks".... looking at the tourists on the floor - "this isn't a *** hardware store!" I will never forget the look on their faces..as they stormed out...then Duke turned back to me and my parents and said, "now where was I"

The Super Salesman - he was and I shall never forget him either.....
...and yes Bill Palmer that is what really happened...
Rick Fisher, President FAB Magic

"One of the largest magic shops in the world!"

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