Larry Crane (Lawrence McCrann, 1877-1950) was a close-up magician who billed himself on the vaudeville stage as “The Irish Wizard”. Born in County Rosecommon, Ireland in August of ’77, Lawrence of the son of magician Michael Crane, who billed himself as “The Great Crane.” Larry started out in his father’s act, taking part in the substitution trunk illusion among other stunts. (Other sources say his father was named Patrick, and not a magician. I’ll leave them both here side by side until I learn the definitive version).
In 1885 the family moved to Lowell, Massachusetts. The Great Crane worked in American vaudeville at least through the first decade of the 20th century (whether The Great Crane was Larry’s father still needs to be sorted out). When still a teenager, Larry launched himself professionally in the early 1890s, working first for Alexander Herrmann, who sent him to London to learn under the Maskelynes. In 1895 he debuted at the Palace in London as a solo, billed as “The Boy Magician” (he was still only 18.) His time abroad allowed him to use the billing “Professor Crane, of the Old World” when he returned to the States. Due to his good looks in his youth he was also billed as “The Irish Adonis”.
He played Keith’s Boston in 1897, and was ever a big time vaudeville act, throughout the U.S. and abroad. He specialized in sleight of hand manipulation, was known for the eloquence of his patter, and much was constantly made of his Irish identity. Always a proud son of Massachusetts, by the 1930s he was living primarily at a hotel in Boston. He married Grace Andrews, one of the few female magicians working the circuits in the early days, and retired during the World War Two years. He passed away in 1950.
To learn more more about vaudeville please read No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous.