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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Harry Blackstone Junior (42 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Chatterbox41
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Atlanta, Georgia
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I fell in love with Harry Juniors magic on TV back in the 1960's and it was a thrill to meet him in 1970 when I was 13 at the Abbott's Get-Together... he was just walking around in jeans in the school gymn where they had the dealers room. Just one of the guys and very approachable! I saw and talked to him every year through 1974, when I moved from Michigan to Georgia. He was a true gentleman and a class act who made a lasting impression on a young boy!
Julie
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Hi Dick et all!

The key to Abbott's/Blackstone's(?) WHERE DO THEY GO? vanish was the same "prat fall" type misdirection.

It appears bold, and it is, but it worked! I understand Abbott's no longer builds or sells this unique version of WDTG even though it is listed in their current online catalog.

Julie
Dick Oslund
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Yeah Julie!

I FIRST saw the "ducks" in November, 1945. I was 13. I saw it about 6 times after that. When I was 16, 17, 18, I would take the "milk" train at 9 PM Michigan time, arrive in Milwaukee about 7 AM Wisconsin time, stay overnight, see the show at least twice, when I was 18, three times (matinee, and two evenings) and, return, tired, but, full of ideas! Mr. B. was always most hospitable, and friendly. On that last show, in 1950, I was a "member of the commttee". I stood NEXT to Mr. B, and I learned about wrist watch stealing.

On that last trip, I met Nick Ruggiero, and Dick Barry (both assistants). The "boss" was not well. The show closed that April.

So, I saw a half dozen performances of the "ducks". Yes, each year, the misdirection was different! One year, a duck was chased around the stage by the assistants. One year, one of the assistants, "bumped" another assistant, and a "scuffle" happened. ETC.
I've already written about Nick's "starring?" role!

My old friend, the late Jerry Conklin built an "Inn". The Conklin Family Illusion show, had enough assistants to make it possible. I've never heard of anyone else doing it.

I was a very fortunate kid!!! Harry Jr. and I became friends, years later. The last time I saw him, was in California. He was doing a tour of one nighters with Gay, a girl to "jump boxes" two boys to push the boxes, and, two boys in the pit. He was not feeling well, then.

Gay and Charlie Reynolds, and I spent a couple hours in my RV, dubbing the light bulb for Harry's memorial service at Abbott's, a year of two later.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Julie
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Great memories, Dick. Thank-you so much for sharing. We became friends with Nick when he first moved to Arizona. He's a very pleasant man and shared some wonderful stories and slides of the various magic shows he had trouped with. (That's an Oslund sentence ender.) When we'd occasionally visit his home and basement workshop in Sedona, it was amazing to see the "new" tricks he came up with up based upon proven principles from long ago.

Our initial contact with him was when he and Rich first began selling their Card Duckling. There was a lack of consistency with the initial production run, but Nick handled difficulties promptly and with courtesy so little aggravations never became big problems. He was a gentleman in his business dealings.

We understand he is not well now. We can only wish him the very best and remember him in our prayers.

Julie
Stunninger
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In the late 1970's when I was a child I first saw Harry Blackstone, Jr. perform his full evening show at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago. What a wonderful night that was! The full scale production show featured a cast of dancers, and many animals including a donkey, a Bengal tiger and an elephant. The entire show was delightful, but what I remember most were the asrah levitation, the vanishing birdcage and the floating light bulb.

Several years later Blackstone came to the area again, this time just he and his wife performing at the Blue Max night club in Oak brook, Illinois. That show also featured the floating light bulb and the dancing handkerchief. I found it fascinating that he could perform these two stage illusions in a night club.

I saw Harry one last time in the late 1980's, at the Circle Star Theater in Merrilville, Indiana. This too was a large scale production with big illusions, dancers and many animals. But the highlight was getting to meet Harry after the show where he autographed my stage bill.

What a wonderful showman Harry Blackstone, Jr. was. Thank you for the magical experiences and very fond memories.
GlennLawrence
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Randolph NJ
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I got to see Harry Jr. once around 1986 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL. It was the full evening show and he packed the house of about 2000 seats as I recall. Most memorable were the Buzz Saw and of course the Floating Light Bulb. I clearly remember that although Blackstone told the audience not to try to grab the bulb as it flew over their heads, some did attempt to and the bulb jerked up and back toward the stage! That routine left such an impression on me that a few years later, I had Tannen's in New York city make me a custom one featuring a larger, globe type bulb. Never did end up performing it but maybe someday!

I feel like Jr. and to an extent Lance Burton were some of the last of the old time classical style stage magicians. Watching Blackstone Jr.'s show took me back to what it must have been like to see one of the old masters of Magic's "Golden Age" although Harry was certainly one of those in his own right! He surely left us too soon but at least I have the memory of that great evening!
Jerskin
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I worked with him many times, at Abbott's Get Togethers and at both the Newport Beach & Houston Magic Islands and considered him a friend. I was flattered when he came to see me perform at a comedy club.
GrEg oTtO

MUNDUS VULT DECIPI
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