Sr. Antonio Blitz
Today is the birthday of Signor Antonio Blitz (1810-1877), magician, juggler, ventriloquist and bird handler. Born in England, he began his professional career at age 13 in Germany. Then he returned to tour the British Isles, generally giving out that he was a Moravian, in order to enhance his exoticism. He first came to the U.S. in 1834, performing that year in Niblo’s Garden. He continued to perform throughout North America thereafter. His tricks included bullet catching, plate spinning, “the automaton trumpeter” and “the never-failing egg sack”. He is said to have used a great deal of humor in his act. In 1872 he published his autobiography.
To find out about the history of vaudeville, 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