This week’s magician, Hermann Homar, was a Kansas native who, after traveling the United States, settled in Chicago, where he performed as “The Wizard of the West”.
The April 1957 issue of M-U-M: Magic, Unity, Might offers a meandering profile of Homar, describing his childhood passing out handbills so that he could get free admission to travelling shows, his adult life as a brakeman on the Santa Fe Railroad, and some lean years touring with a magic show during the Great Depression. (His truck was repossessed en route to Fort Worth, forcing him to put his magic supplies into storage until he earned enough money to continue his journey.)
A favorite tidbit about this Wizard of the West: as a boy, he taught himself how to do magic tricks using books from the public library. (We approve!)
If you’re not yet convinced that Depression-era magicians were tough as nails, listen to this: Homar played a date in Dallas immediately after breaking his right wrist. He brought along a “young friend” to help him get dressed, but his plaster cast didn’t inhibit him from performing the Linking Rings along with the rest of his tricks (although he did recall the show being “less peppy” than usual).
Hermann Homar: a tough, tough wizard.
This week’s star magician was selected based solely on the merit of his excellent outfit. Look at this dapper fellow!
Magician Frank Mehring won 1st place in the Originality Contest at the 22nd Annual Houdini Club Convention. What did he do that was so original? Whatever happened to this guy? Where can I get an outfit like that? Please let us know if you have the answer to any of these questions.
Photo from Vol. 51, No. 7 of M-U-M: Magic, Unity, Might.
This week’s magician is someone you may recognize from the illustrated portrait in Magician of the Week #14: Prof. Jack Miller.
The wild-eyed photo above comes from the January 1963 issue of The Linking Ring, published shortly after this dapper magician passed away in late 1962. He was famous for his vaudevillian style and for his expert linking ring routine, and a magic-trick-producing enterprise in North Carolina still carries his name.
This week’s star magician is Jack Trepel, a magician and florist who lived across the street from Houdini and served as the president of the Parent Assembly of the Society of American Magicians.
The photograph below, from the cover of the February 1943 issue of GENII, shows Trepel delighting radio star Mercedes McCambridge with a floating card trick when she stopped into his New York City floral shop.
Perhaps his shop was also the source of that lovely corsage? (The source of McCambridge’s pristine and oddly-textured hat, however, will remain a mystery.)
This image from the June 1964 issue of M-U-M: Magic, Unity, Might shows John F. Levy with two chickens, two rabbits, two monkeys, and a Cocker Spaniel in a tiny hat. Not pictured: additional trained dogs, guinea pigs, and skunks.
The accompanying profile piece also contains this outstanding paragraph:
For a number of years, John was a private detective but could not stay away from the entertainment field. He also had a poultry and pecan ranch, but now his shows and rides occupy all his time. He also has a midget car that he might adapt to a clown act.
Enjoy this sight in future nightmares
This is one of dozens of pieces of stage currency in the Percival Collection. Much of it was used by magicians as advertising material.