Abbotts 7th Get Together 1940
by Demon Rembrandt
Witli a registered attendance of 473., the Seventh Annual Magic Get-
Together staged by the House of Abbott at Colon on September 7th passed
into history as one of the most successful affairs of this kind.
Every feature of the convention was well attended and enjoyed by the
viisting Magicians and their wives. And the public show on Saturday night,
the climax of the program, played to a packed house, standing room being at
a premium and more than a hundred being turned away*
The success of the public show this year was such indeed, that Percy
Abbott announced that at next year's get-together - the dates September
5th and 6th - there will be two public shows, one each night. The extra
show will be in addition to the regular features of the program.
The crowd began arriving on Wednesday and from then until Saturday
night every hour brought in its quota of visiting mystif iers.
Among the visitors this year were some of the outstanding professional
and amateur Magicians of the country, among them H. Adrian Smith, president
of the S. A. M.; Doc Mahendra, Russell Swann, Judge Frank Carter,
Stewart Judah, Bob Anderson, Paul Rosini, Loring Campbell, James Kater
Thompson, Dr. B. Zola, Stewart James, Paul Ricketts, Jim Miller and Abe
Noticeable to those who have attended these affairs in the past was the
absence this year of Sid Lorraine of Toronto, Canada, who was unable to
attend because of war time restrictions on Canadians crossing the border.
Heretofore Sid has acted as master of ceremonies for the various shows.
Of course the real center of activity was the Abbott plant. There was a
veritable beehive, with Magicians and their friends milling about, inspecting
the Abbott stock, viewing the demonstrations of various new tricks and apparatus
fabricated by the Abbott artisans, and keeping the sale force busy
supplying their needs for winter programs.
Three shows featured the Get-Together program, one on Friday night,
an impromptu "night before" Magic show; one Saturday afternoon, presented
by the Magicians' Guild; and the public show Saturday night.
The public show truly was an entertaining performance, inasmuch as it
was a real vaudeville bill, which even though it did lean heavily on the Magic
side - and good Magic, too - contained several novelty acts to give it good
Lester Lake, well known to all who attend the Abbott Get-Togethers, appeared
as Master of Ceremonies, introducing the acts and doing a trick or two
Opening the show was George Boston of Chicago, who produced various
pictorial scenes with rags to good applause.
Following came Reeder Hutchinson and his company with a rapid succession
of Magic with silks, flowers and live stock. His combination of paper
tearing, the Weller egg on fan, and the dove pan closed the act and went over
Loring Campbell, assisted by the charming Kathryne and a lad from the
audience, featured the guillotine, which half way through proved too much for the youngster and he ran from the stage. Campbell also did the repeat
bill trick, ABC card trick, and glass of water from bag.
Adrian Smith then appeared with a neat and clever presentation of the
He was followed by Melba Dew who produced several beautiful sand
pictures, closing her act with a winter scene with an iridescent snowfall.
Jimmy Trimble then came on with a floating cane and then into several
silk routines, each with a rabbit finish, the bunnies in each case being handed
out to his several youthful assistants who came from the audience.
The first half was closed by Lawrence, who danced and juggled, at the
finish balancing himself on a teeter over a rolling log, playing a harmonica
and juggling three balls at the same time.
Opening the second half came Daniel Dew, who after several magical effects
which went over well, broke into a musical act, playing several numbers
on the saw and at the end producing tunes from an inflated toy balloon.
"Monk" Watson then appeared with the comedy act of the bill, doing an
imitation of a tight rope walker, clever and screamingly funny. Monk then
introduced Csuri, a young magician from Cleveland, who produced and
manipulated coins and presented a number of difficult card fans.
Foxwell, the mentalist, came next with some Magic, a hilarious bit with
two men from the audience and the cut and restored necktie, closing with his
memory act with the Saturday Evening Post.
Mel Melson then came on to draw in rapid succession a series of chalk
cartoons, one of them upside down and finishing with a beautiful poster of
a Red Cross Nurse.
The show was closed by Percy Abbott, assisted by U. P. Grant and
Kathryne Campbell. This was the high spot of the show from the Magicians'
standpoint, and each effect was greeted with loud salvos of applause. Shown
were the new Neonistic Silk Fountain from which came an almost endless
supply of silks; the Rod Through Girl; Cut and Restored Light Cord, and the
latest creation of the Abbott plant, Phantasmo, billed as the Zombie illusion,
in which a girPs head encased in a small cabinet is made invisible.
Duke Stern and his violin and Gladys Abbott at the piano supplied the
musical accompaniment for the acts.
Following the show the Magicians and their guests repaired to the
grounds of the Abbott plant where a buffet supper was served. Afterwards
the plant was reopened and demonstrations presented for the Magicians until
the "wee small hours."
The "night before" party on Friday night was held in the Abbott Magic
Theatre, and with Lester Lake as M. C, a score of Magicians appeared
Those on this bill included the following: Leonard Eva of Saginaw; Jim
Whitehurst, the boy Magician from Fort Wayne; Howard Strickler of Toledo,
who had some fun with cards and kids from the audience; Winston Freer,
who performed Crazy Time; Paul Schuette doing the Chinese Bottle and
Rope trick, a fast routine and with clever patter; (This trick was first announced
by Percy Abbott in Magic for Magicians, and cataloged by him as
the Mystery Vase of the Orient. He first saw the effect in Japan); Teddy
Strickler, with her hilarious impersonation of Mrs. Roosevelt as a Campfire
Girl; Loring Campbell with the repeat cigar trick; Doc Mahendra with his
mental stunts; Jimmy Trimble, Stewart Judah, Adrian Smith, E J Moore Bob Anderson, Mysterious Lawrence, Lyman and his floating light bulb with
gag finish, and Percy Abbott and Gen. Grant presenting the latest Abbott
effects and illusions.
Sometime after this show, on the stroke of midnight, to be exact, a seance
was held in the Magic Theatre, with Percy Abbott, Howard Strickler, Doe
Mahendra, Judge Carter, Paul Ricketts, U. P. Grant, Adrian Smith, Jimmy
Trimble, Stewart Judah, Loring Campbell, Jimmy Kater, Bob Anderson and
Lester Lake seated around the table. With crystal balls and slates and other
appliances to invoke the spirits, this group of thirteen sought to get an
answer o the question, "Who will be the next President?" After twenty
minutes, the answer was plainly written on one of the slates: Willkie.
The Saturday afternoon show was given over to the Magicians' Guild
and the various acts were presented by Jim Miller of Grand Rapids.
It was a short but entertaining program, the following performers appearing
Kay Elliott with a thimble routine with a story in Southern dialect about
her Aunt Martha; Hudson Cady with a comedy pantomime act showing a kid
witnessing an old-time movie thriller; Harry Gilbert, paper tearing; Wayne
Van Zandt with card prediction, various knots and a silk production; Bob
Backus, clever silk effects; Lawrence in a novelty musical number; Dr. C. F.
Cairy with a rising card trick that fooled most of the boys; Duke Sterns doing
a clever imitation, sans apparatus, of a Magician doing a billiard ball routine,
cigarette production, and the vanishing bird cage, which brought a lot of
laughs; Bob Haynes with a floating color changing light bulb, an original
effect which was very well received; and Abe Warsaw closing the show with
a clean torn and restored paper trick.
Snooping In On The Get Together
The life of the party, Howard Strickler, with his ever-present electric
brief case. Ask his victims, they'll tell you..."Monk" Watson with his
trick bids at the auctions, incidentally getting a lot of paraphernalia he could
use. No joke books, however. . . Monk, by the way, caught Csuri doing some
clever card fans, and immediately called a halt in proceedings on the floor
Saturday afternoon to watch the lad perform. And did he perform!. .,
Stewart Judah and Bob Anderson swapping card tricks at the Mid-Lakes.
Percy Abbott donning his trick derby as the tip off for a demonstration.
Jimmy Kater doing his card tricks for the gang at Mid-Lakes, and the
enthusiasm and animation of "Gen" Zo'a as she helped the Magician . .
The marvelously painted giant silks "Gig" Miller was showing to his friends
. . . The reception given Russ Swann when he stepped into the showroom. He
couldn't get away to register even...The youngest practicing Magician at
the conclave, Bob Scheiderman, a keen lad of fourteen from Lansing...Jim
Miller of Grand Rapids, a prize screwball himself, pinning the screwball emblem
on Howard Strickler and Monk Watson, to let them fight it out for the
Jess Thornton's new trick with the colored blocks, and cylinders, and the
"Name the Trick" contest to name it, the winner to receive apparatus and
secret. . . The part of the crowd that waited over unil Sunday and the sendoff
they gave Percy and Gladys as they left for Cleveland, Sunday afternoon...Everyone asking for Harry Cecil, and when it was learned he had just
come from a hospital, the rush to sign the giant post card Howard Strickler
produced for the occasion. The card carried good wishes and signatures of
more than 250 at the convention. It took 60 cents to mail it first-class and
although Howard offered to do it, Abbott's as is the custom, paid the postage.
Wonder who ended up with the vent dummy Loring Campbell paid a
quarter for at one of the auctions. Loring sold it to someone, and at last reports
it was still being sold to someone else...A number of groups of
Magicians swapping tricks and the writer getting around to each group just
as a trick was finished. Darn it!
Paul Rosini amazing all with his card tricks... Russ Swann taking in
the chicken supper at the Masonic Hall, and sampling - he ate 'em all - the
four kinds of pie...Bobo appearing before the convention even started and
having to beat it before it got under weigh... Zippy, the Clown, making a
brief appearance in the show room Saturday night... Lester Lake's sawdust
and bread trick - a real comedy effect.
If you have a favorite story or moment of the Magic Get Together
Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org for all to enjoy
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