On Music Hall Magician David Devant

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Today is the birthday of David Devant (David Wighton, 1868-1941). Devant was a top of the bill English music hall magician, revered to this day for his humor and presentationalism. He is credited with revolutionizing stage magic to some degree, for taking it beyond its previously dry format (it was often presented essentially as scientific demonstration) and giving it a bit of show biz, with jokes and patter and little moments of theatre. Among his famous routines were the Magic Kettle, which produced whatever beverage was demanded by the audience, and a hat, from which he pulled a seemingly infinite number of eggs. In 1893, he began appearing on stages with John Nevil Maskelyne. A little over a decade later, the two established their own venue at St. George’s Hall. Devant also performed shadow plays and was one of the pioneers of early British cinema.

To find out more about the variety arts past and presentconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous

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