Today is the birthday of magician Carl Hertz (Lieb Morgensten, 1859-1924). A San Francisco native , he first gained notice in London in 1884 performing tricks purloined from Buatier de Kolta, such as “the Flying Cage” and “the Vanishing Lady”. He toured the U.K., America and Australia successfully. In the 1890s, he stayed ahead of the curve by presenting motion pictures, which were often associated with magic in the early days. Later he would appropriate some of the illusions of Servais Le Roy. He doesn’t seem to have originated much, but he had a flair for showmanship. Once in Australia, he had put an ad in the newspaper seeking 1,000 cats; when hundreds of small boys showed up the next day, he paid them each a shilling or a ticket to the show for the privilege of tagging an ad to their collars.
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