Art of the Levitation Trick: The Last Greatest Magician in the World: Howard Thurston Versus Houdini... by Jim Steinmeyer.

Nov 13, 01:00 AM


(Photo:Kellar supposedly developed this trick by abruptly walking onto the stage during a show by Maskelyne, seeing what he needed to know, and leaving.[6] Unable to duplicate it, Kellar hired another magician to help build another, but eventually designed a new trick with the help of the Otis Elevator Company. Another version built by Kellar was purchased by Harry Blackstone, Sr., who used the trick for many years. The Buffalo writer John Northern Hilliard wrote that the levitation was a marvel of the twentieth century and "the crowning achievement of Mr. Kellar's long and brilliant career."[6]

The trick was done by a disguised machine hidden from the audience's perspective. Kellar would claim the woman onstage, sleeping on a couch, was a Hindu princess, who he would levitate and then move a hoop back and forth through the woman's body to prove she was not being suspended. Inside the "princess"'s dress was a flat board she was resting on, which was connected to a metal bar going out the side into the backstage. The other end of the bar connected to a machine to raise and lower the woman, blocked from view by the curtain and her own body. To allow Kellar to "prove" with the hoop that she was floating, the bar was in a rough "S" shape, letting him move the hoop through the length of her body in any direction.[14] )

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Art of the Levitation Trick: The Last Greatest Magician in the World: Howard Thurston Versus Houdini... by Jim Steinmeyer.

Publishers Weekly “Expanding on his chapters on Howard Thurston in his history of magic, Hiding the Elephant, Steinmeyer produces an engaging full-length biography of the man Orson Welles called œthe master. While Houdini™s daring stunts were legendary, Steinmeyer says Thurston was the public™s favorite, captivating audiences with his œself-assured grandeur. Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, Thurston gained fame in the early part of the 20th century with his œRising Card Trick, in which he levitated cards named by audience members. He successfully changed with the times, going from street performances to wagon tours through the West. He then became a top vaudeville star, but wisely left the vaudeville circuit to produce more ambitious spectacles involving 40 tons of magic apparatus and colorful costumes, a variety of animals, and more than two dozen assistants. Tracing the magician™s rise to fame, this volume neatly juggles his marriages and his magic with his triumphs, travails, showmanship, and marketing ballyhoo (œThe Wonder Show of the Universe). Steinmeyer recovers, from the shadows of his greatest rival, a figure whose grandiose productions were an American institution for almost 30 years.”

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