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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Who came up with the "Ini" in the names (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Rennie
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Who was the first magician to come up with adding the "INI" in their last name. I am aware everyone thinks it was Houdini, but I am not sure. Others I know of are,
Cardini, Slydini and Cantini. I know there are probably hundreds more. So who started it ?
Rennie
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tom_stamm
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I believe the "ini" started with Houdini. He was impressed with Robert-Houdin and wanted to be "Houdin-like" --- Houdini

Or so the story goes.

Many years ago I wanted to be like Derrick Dingle, but couldn't see myself a "Dinglini."
Just Some Guy.

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Jimeh
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According to Milbourne Christopher's book Houdini confessed to a friend that his ambition was to be like Robert-Houdin. His friend Jack Hayman said it was easy enough if he simply added 'i' to the end of Houdin. Given the history I would attribute the whole 'ini' thing to Houdini as well. If you read the history books that name suffix doesn't seem to appear anywhere before Houdini.
Bill Palmer
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Which of Milbourne Christopher's books are you quoting? He wrote dozens of books.

If you are referring to The Illustrated History of Magic, then you are quoting one of the most error-filled books on the subject of magic.

There were other magicians who used the "ini" ending to their names in order to have a name that was more in keeping with their positions, long before Erich Weiss was born. One example was Samuel Berlach (1828 - 1885), who performed for the Imperial Court of the Austro-Hungarian empire as Bellachini, starting in 1846.

There were also magicians such as Albini and Torrini. These were around long before Houdini.
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Jimeh
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You are correct sir! That IS the book I'm quoting and I'm happy you corrected me. That's a shame it's as error filled as you say. I have a love for magic's history as much as I do for the tricks. Being corrected is much better than being misinformed.

Not to hijack the thread but what books would you recommend Bill if I wanted have accurate history books on my shelf?

thanks!

James
Kevin Connolly
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I'll go with Houdini bringing it to popular use. The few others that had used it never had the popularity of HH.
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Everyone just wants to be Italian I guess. I can't fault them.
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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2008-07-28 01:38, agent61 wrote:
You are correct sir! That IS the book I'm quoting and I'm happy you corrected me. That's a shame it's as error filled as you say. I have a love for magic's history as much as I do for the tricks. Being corrected is much better than being misinformed.

Not to hijack the thread but what books would you recommend Bill if I wanted have accurate history books on my shelf?

thanks!

James


I'd probably want to go with some of the more modern books about individual magicians. These are far better researched, for the most part, than Christopher's.

However, Todd Karr's reissue of The Annals of Conjuring would be a good start. He corrected some of the errors in the original without losing the flavor of the book.
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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2008-07-28 12:22, Kevin Connolly wrote:
I'll go with Houdini bringing it to popular use. The few others that had used it never had the popularity of HH.


He may have popularized it in the US, but he certainly didn't start it. There were several generations of Bellachini's, all related to Samuel Berlach. He was still known in Austria when Punx performed at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Punx did an impression of Bellachini performing the Six Card Repeat. The Jewish community of Salzburg rewarded him by bringing him champagne and flowers for remembering Bellachini.

It has always been the practice of stage performers in various arts to adopt names that were more "interesting" than their own. For example, few people remember William Henry Palmer (no relation), but people of his day knew Robert Heller.

Shortly after WW I, Rubini was the most popular mindreader in Austria, until Erik Jan Hanussen took the spotlight away from him. And Hanussen's real name was Chaim Steinschneider.

In Argentina, Ricardo Rocau and his wife performed as Larry and Daisy. Here, Ricardo performs as Fantasio. Houdini knew that few would come to see Erich Weiss (or Weisz, if you keep the older spelling). Would you go to a show by David Kotkin? Probably not. But you would probably go to see David Copperfield.

Look at the Bambergs -- Okito, Fu Manchu, etc.
Or Max Maven.

I would love to see someone use the name "Goldbergini."

Incidentally, if Houdini thought that "ini" meant "similar to," then he made an error. It doesn't. It's a diminutive with a connotation of affection. But it doesn't imply similarity.

Houdini would be closer to "little Houdin" than "similar to Houdin."
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Pete Biro
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Houdini was short.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Jimeh
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Quote:
On 2008-07-30 02:39, Pete Biro wrote:
Houdini was short.


LOL! Yes....yes he was...

Thanks for the reply Bill and the info!

James
Leslie Melville
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In 1948, I won the junior trophy competition of The Staffordshire Magical Society - my working name in those far off days I blush to say was -'Leslini' and the trophy was called, 'The Burtini Junior Trophy'!

Burtini (Bill Powell) was a leading light of that society and also a manufacturer of chromium plated props - The Burtini Coin Bucket, Foo Can & Coffee Vase being now collector's items.

He made and presented the trophy, which now stands proudly in my display cabinet!

Leslie.
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Bill Palmer
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Not to mention two distinctly different styles of cups!

I wish I could have met Burtini. He worked for the RAF during WW II and at the Royal Mint at other times. He had access to all sorts of neat tools and he knew how to use them.

Many of the items Davenport's carried back then were made for them by Burtini.

BTW, I used the name "Prestini" for about six months, when I was a teenager.
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Steve_Mollett
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"Would you go to a show by David Kotkin?"

If he performed and staged his shows like Kotkin (Copperfield), yes.

After all, how impressive was the name, "Doug Henning"?
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silverking
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Quote:

After all, how impressive was the name, "Doug Henning"?

For the public at the time, VERY impressive.

The general public's perception of magicians at that time was stereotypically one of a bit too much posturing, waving of arms, tux and tails, etc. (even if, as Mark Wilson demonstrated, it wasn't at all true it was the general impression Joe Public held of magicians).

That regular guy "Doug Henning" could do everything and more that the "name" magicians could do was impressive.
Here was a regular guy, in fairly regular clothes (for the time!), with a regular name, and behaving in a manner befitting a hippy kid from down the road wowing the world with his magic.

For a public long exposed to magicians in the Thurston, Keller, Blackstone style, this was the revolution in magic that magi still talk about to this day.

The name "Doug Henning" was very impressive indeed!

(Note that even Doug was "The Great Hendoo" prior to his huge achievements, he didn't achieve his huge success until he became simply "Doug Henning")
Bill Palmer
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Regarding Kotkin -- you would never have seen him if he hadn't changed his name. Remember how he gained his fame?

Regarding Doug Henning --
The name was not impressive. The magician was. Don't confuse the map with the territory.

Think about this -- would your wife have wanted to see a show by Gerry Dorsey?
"The Swatter"

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silverking
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In an obtuse manner Bill, I think "Doug Henning" (the name) was marginally impressive to folks who could identify with this brilliant magician with the normal name.

The world had long been full of "ini's", guys in tux and tails, and cold stares into the audience, and for this regular guy with a regular name to be one of the greatest magicians in the world stood out for laymen.

In general terms though, you're obviously dead on Bill, nobody's name is really impressive, but I do think folks saw him as a just a guy named Doug who was the greatest magician in the world.

An aside, when I first heard of him, and later saw him, I had pegged David Copperfield as a lame copy of my favorite magician, Doug Henning.
I couldn't believe this guy even had the balls to enter the realm that Doug occupied.

I was totally wrong of course, and am looking forward to attending DC's show in a month or so!

I do however, miss Doug. What a fabulous ambassador for magic he was. He would have aged well I think, and although the TM stuff made some folks uncomfortable, he had left that behind to some degree and had plenty of the "old" Doug shining through in those last months before his untimely death.
Rennie
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Quote:
On 2008-08-02 14:55, Bill Palmer wrote:

Think about this -- would your wife have wanted to see a show by Gerry Dorsey?

Bill,
Are we talking about Engelbert Humperdinck here ?

Speaking of name changes, what about Fred Kaps, I believe his name was something like Abraham Bongers (may have the 1st name wrong)
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Magicray69
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Why would you change your name from William Wallace to Ali Bongo

From Jacobus Maria Bemelman to Tommy Wonder

From Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos to Cris Angel

From Archibald Alec Leach to Cary Grant

From Marion Morrison to John Wayne

From Harry Boughton to Harry Blackstone

From Milton Supman to Soupy Sales

From Paul Rubenfeld to PeeWee Herman

From Pete Biro to Pete Biro

From Yugoslav Eustes Chariminko to Bill Palmer
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the reason was I had no shoes.

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critter
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Kotkin is much shorter than 'Copperfield.'
Niether flows well off the tongue.
For his style he should have gone with 'Davey Miami.'
Because he had that 80's era Miami Vice style.
'Copperfieldini.' didn't he use 'Davini' or 'Davino' for a while?
I got a coloring book from one of his shows when I was little, I think it mentioned it.
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