Today is the birthday of Tihany (Franz Czeiler (b. 1916). Originally from Hungary, he took magic lessons from Alfred Uferini and learned to pick pockets by watching Dr. Giovanni, a German performer. His first magic persona was “Fakir Sanda Ruh”; the act focused on mentalism and feats that seemed mystical. In his early years he seemed to bounce back and forth between Europe and South America. In the late 1940s,he opened his first big magic show in Budapest and toured Hungary, Yugoslavia and Romania.
Tihany moved to Brazil in 1953 to work in the Circo Romana. In 1955 founded Circo Tihany, one of the world’s most successful tent shows, seating at various times anywhere between 2,000 and 4,000 people, with a cast ranging from 70 to 200. While magic is the focus of the show, it includes every single circus and variety act imaginable – jugglers, dancers, clowns, aerialists, and acrobats as well. The circus tours throughout Latin America to this day.
In 1984 Tihany retired and moved to Florida; the latest account of him (only a couple of years old) has his him living in Las Vegas, and there is no mention on the internet anywhere of him having died. If he is still with us, he is 97. His circus, which he reportedly still keeps a hand in, is still going.
To find out about the variety arts, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
And check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc