Today is the 100th birthday of the great Bengali magician Protul Chandra Sorcar (1913-1971). After graduating from college with a mathematics degree, he began to pursue his true passion, magic, achieving fame in his native India and Japan by the mid 1930s. It wasn’t until 20 years later that he invaded the west, as well, appearing on British and American television, bringing his great flair for showmanship, with his colorful silk costumes, and rich, elaborate set pieces. By the end of the 1960s he had built a large organization with an international reputation. Running it caused some strain however. He was felled by a heart attack in 1971 while on tour in Japan. His sons continued his family tradition after his death. The family are celebrating his birthday with a calendar of gala events; see their web site here. The Indian government has even an issued a comemorative postage stamp honoring the day!
Here is P.S. Sorcar, Sr. performing his famous buzz saw illusion:
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, 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 don’t miss 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