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The occur-'nee for which eastern state3 magi had sort of given up expecting is now practically existent. Joseph H. Fries, M.D. , the rope genius who never (well, hardly everJ) was seen with the same feminine armful twice has succumbed tc the charms of Miss Marilyn Wet-stone of Brooklyn, 11.Y. , and soon will discover a knot" which can't be vanished by a pas3. Abril T^maraue sent a wire reading, "Confucious say - Magician who fool around with neat trick - often marry her." We sent an inter-office memo to Humdrum the iiy3tic about this, and that practically erstwhile purveyor of pseudo wisdom shot back with "Man who marry Jetstone sure to find nose on grindstone. Amen."

Before us is a program dated November 11,1923. The program is Thurston's. Scene: Stone Opera House, Binghamton, N.Y. Nearing the age of 17 is one Annemann and one Charley Heath, braving the night on a 40 mile drive from Waverly in a two seater Necco 'wafer bodied Ford roadster. Side curtains help (?) to keep out the rain while magic Is discussed. Eons of time later we were seated somewhere in the balcony. Came the Master. Came Fernanda. Came George White. Came the water fountains. Came more rain on the road hcune. The half way milestone saw the gooseneck solved by Charley who wa3 by trade a mechanical engineer. He looked at it simply. Something holds her up. The trick is in the hoop pa33lng. By the time I dropped him off, the wet and torn program (his - NOT MINE) had the Topsy-Turvy girl figured out in a way that it's never been done. Charley had it with one girl. It was several years before I found out the twin angle that the Master really had used. Night of nights.

Time marches on. I treasure to-day 14 letters from Thurston telling me In one kind way or another that my name would be kept on file for the Job of assistant. In New York, later on, he offered me a job as secretary, for, as he said, you've certainly been trying to get on the show for a long time. But I couldn't take shorthand. I meet Hilliard. I know Thurston, it seems, awfully well through him. I meet Thurston again. I meet Gibson, ghost writer to the greats of magic. I learn to know Thurston even more through him. Ellxer of a magical life.

It wasn't the hardening of Thurston's arteries that braked to a stop the longest and most consistent of careers Of our art. It was the same affliction applied to the type of magic which depended upon trap doors, myriads of boxes and tons of apparatus, and dozens of assistants. Newer and larger theatres took the places of the old ones. No more wooden stages with traps "shored ud" from one season to another. Concrete now. Paramount took on the Master for a run and In Brooklyn the contract, calling for three traps, necessitated the dismanteling of a radio broadcasting station beneath plus a breaking through of a pretty tough stage floor. No return date. The era of such stage Illusions had gone.

Death marches in. Hilliard, Thurston. The mansion sold for debts. The gold mine turning from a possible yellow to dirt overnight. The gold had been coming for years from Thurston, not to. Jane and the last Mrs. Thurston, one of the last pair of twins, to Charley Heath and myself ironically, at odds. Magi to whom he wouldn't have bowed on the street claiming hi3 mantle. Rajah (Mountebank) Rabold talking high, wide, but not handsome, to the press. Villi Rock buying a few of the illusions and then "going to town" on hi3 billing as "Thurston's Miracles"

Page but not by a damned sight going anywhere near the pace set by the Master. Tom Worthington III doing an admirable Job of collecting Thurston data, trinkets, and whatever he can assemble to make ud a history of the man he admired and loved.

Sunday last, March 10th, Walter Gibson and 1 motored to Jhiteatone Landing, L.I., N.Y. We only had to ask one person. He knew of Thurston and knew of George «Jhite. George had been with the Master from the year of 1899 until his demise. As a newsboy George was picked for a bit of helping by Thurston who then did only a card manipulation (did you ever hear of the front and back hand palm?) routine and a duck production. George carried the duck.

George is over 50 now. He's a legend among Thurston lore. The Master couldn't have given «a sho.v -.'5 thou t George. He couldn't have lived at home without George.who was houseboy and eventually houseman. To-day George wor'-cs for a lumber company in the town where he serviced the Master for 30 long. The mansion, that 17 roen house which looks out into the bay is drab aaA dreary. The local bank owns It. Across the Street nearest, where Alexander Herrmann owned a majestic plot of bay front with his yacht anchored in sight of his bedroom window Is now a row of "find me if you oan" twenty-five foot front same blueprint dwellings.

George had ten or t»elve of the Illusions from what daughter Jane took for a possible road show and from what Will Rock bought for his effort. He kept them out in the back of the lumber yard when the storage house did what they always do when bills aren't paid. He's more philosophical, or fatalistic, than we had expected to find him. Not bitter or disillusioned at his lot today, the fellow was almost too genial in his talk about the show, Its greatness, its faultyness, and its shortcomings, for were I to look back over 40 years of manic with a man who grew from "one" in variety houses to the stature that the Master finally took on, I'd probably be beating my head •gainst the wall in anguished memory.

He had looked too many times at those old familiar crates holding too familiar Illusions that you and I, dear reader, see pictured In the catalogues and moon over. Probably no mu. living had ever helped set and work and strike the Maskelyne levltation first used In this country by Kellar more than he. And it must be remembered, when thinking of that particular illusion, that it was the most complicated of them all, while still being the most perfect in operation. George was with the show on that memorable tour of Kellar'3 when Thurston was proclaimed successor, come last curtain time at Ford's theatre in Baltimore. And he was still on tap at Thurston's last curtain.

We sat in a little Iron stove heated office last Sunday. Walter and I were talking hard and the Master's assistant and very closest friend for 40 years assented at times, added a word at other moments, and with that philosophical (or fatalistic?) chuckle said that the show was going to "pot" at the last, anyway. As he put it, Thurston was getting old and tired, the pace was slackening, the candle wasn't worth the flame.

George stays on among the surroundings that are familiar from the beginning. To him Kiuraton was "the boss". Back-stagers called him "the wiz", Dorny knew him well and affectionately ma "the governor", and Hilliard mentioned him to me. (turn back to page last)

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