Levante

Leslie George Cole, born Sydney, N.S.W., Australia, March 5th, 1892. Professional Magician, from 1910. Actually Levante was reared in a sma.M country town, Wangaratta, in the North East of Victoria. His first introduction to magic was brought about by the gif t from his father of Hoffman's Book of Magic. Until that time he had no knowledge of the wiles of the magical fraternity ! Living on a small farm, and with nothing much to do at night, he commenced to make up these tricks and take them to school, much to the delight and chagrin of his fellow scholars. At seventeen years of age he visited the City of Melbourne, to attend the funeral of his Scottish Mother. The attraction of Melbourne proved his undoing, for three months later he left the farm, returned to Me'bourne and secured a job as billiards marker at the Vine Hotel in Richmond which was a suburb of Melbourne. One day whilst assisting in the bar, there came in Tom Selwyn, from Manchester. Tom was at" that time "walking round the world with a pack of cards". The bar customers informed Tom that "young Les" was better than he was. A great friendship sprang up between them, and Tom rook Les in hand, and polished him to such an extent that he later became a stage performer. Selwyn dubbed him Levant, and to this name later, the "e" was added. Tom Selwyn died six years ago, and had the great pleasure of seeing his protegee pack the theatres of Australia. Levante had the usual "ups and downs" of the beginner, and in 1919 married Gladys, (Mrs. Levante) and this proved a great combination. Within a year of the marriage, Gladys and Les were travelling far afield. The show in those days comprised the Substitution Trunk, Sawing in Halves. The Tied Cabinet, Sword Box, Strait Jacket, Thumb Tie, much sleight of hand, and escape work. Gladys played the piano, and accordion. They went into many countries, secured assistants on arrival, and played the full evening's show, in any place that would show a profit. Esme was born in 1922, and has been educated in China, the Phillipines, India, and many obscure countries. The arrival of The Levantes in England in 1933 did not set the Thames on Continued on Page 145.

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