A few fragments today on magician and ventriloquist Paul Stadelman (1990-1971), a.k.a. “Sandu” (a veritable cross between Sandow and Chandu, eh? I do note that Stadelman’s books Secrets of Sandu and Sandu Writes Again came out in 1933 and 1934, just after the movie and radio show Chandu the Magician came out in 1932. I’ll go ahead and assume that the Marvel Comics villain Sandu, who made his first appearance in 1963, was inspired by our guy. Not unlike the real/imaginary Mandrake the Magician dichotomy.) Stadleman toured with the USO during World War Two, and in a the post-war era, came up with a gimmick called “Polka Dot Paint” which “converted” black and white television to color.
One of Stadelman’s best known illusions was creating a genie’s voice from inside a bottle. As I suggested in my recent post on Joseph Askins, the act of “disembodied” ventriloquism generally leads quite naturally to the sort with a dummy (though it didn’t in Askins’ case). The second leg of Stadelman’s career was spent as a vent, working with a dummy named Windy Higgins. For a time he was the President of the International Ventriloquists Association, and he is credited with being the founder of the annual professional. gathering called Vent-O-Rama. In 1951 he published Ventriloquism and TV Tickers.
Ventriloquism of Today came out in 1963…the same year the fictional Sandu began battling Thor in Marvel Comics. Coincidence? Who dast opine on the Unknowable?
To learn more about the history of variety entertainment consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.