Frank Ducrot: The Eternal Boy Magician

Billed as “The Boy Magician” long after his boyhood had fled, Frank Ducrot (Theodore Francis Fritz, 1872-1939) performed in vaudeville, Chautauquas, circuses, and tent shows. At various times, his ecectic act incorporated magic, Chapeaugraphy, hand shadows, chalk talk, Punch and Judy shows, acrobatics, monologues, and playing the glass harmonica. He was especially known for his close-up magic, using small props he could pull out if his pockets. He invented the handkerchief routine known as the Twentieth century Silks Effect.

In the late 1920s, Ducrot fulfilled a lifelong dream by taking over New York’s Martinka-Hornmann Magic Shop (founded by the Martinkas and usually known by that name, but at that time most recently owned by Otto Hornmann, Previous owners had included Carter the Great and Houdini). Ducrot had been a patron of the shop since his Brooklyn boyhood. When Ducrot passed away, the shop went to Al Flosso.

For more on vaudeville history, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous,