Westbrook Pegler

Thurston Takes His Secrets with Him— Do Tailors Know the Answers? Why No Lady Magicians?

Copyright. ISM. Baited Paatora Syndlca»«.

JJOWARD THURSTON, the magician—may he rest in peace!—was a member of the moat exasperating group on earth—the profession whiph delights to make chumps of ordinary men with playing cards, plug hats, ducks, rabbits, coins, vanishing fhrniture and toothsome young ladies in velvet knickers who smile as they are cut in half before the very eyes of the patrons.

For many years Mr. Thurston went up and down the world baffling people with bit tricks, but, iiks the rest of them who have died wnen hit time came to go, he left hit public »HU wondering how he mads the little lady flost in thin air and how hs could extract from a genuine egg the dollar bill borrowed from the embarrassed gentleman in the front row.

Ladies do not float in thin air and chickens do not l*y dollar bills, so obviously there waa soma deception in everything that Mr. Thurston did. But did Mr. Thurston, having reduced his audience to a state of utter bewilderment, ever have the kindness to approach the footlighta and explain all so that they could sleep when they got home?

More Secret Than Balkan Politics.

lit R- THURSTON did not, and neither did Harry Houdini or any other member of this tight-mouthed craft whose secrets ars more closely kept within the professional circle than tl^t darkest deals of Balkan politics, the private affairs of the best families and impending decisions of the Uhited States Supreme Court.

It is their delight not only to deceive but to mock the hopeless confusion of the innocents out front, and millions of people have gone away from these shows too badly puzzled even to guess the answers. All other entertainers contract to clear away doubts in the closing minutes of the show, but the magician never tells the patrons how the story ends.

What happened to the lion that vanished from the cage, how did he deal himself any five cards named by any five persona in the audience when half a dozen skeptics had shuffled the deck and how could any man swallow a package of needles and cough them up all strung together on a thread?

Questions Crying for Answers.

rriHESE are questions which have been crying for anawers for * many years, my friends, and now another witness haa gone to his grave tairing his secrets with him.

To be sure, it is unreasonable to ask that a man explain such mysteries to one and all for the mere price of admission, for if be did he would have to create new ones. But, on the other hahd, when a victim htfs sat for almost three hours watching an artist do things which his intelligence tells him csn't be done he, too, deserves some consideration.

I always thought the magician, having so many tricks in his repertoire, could at least walk down the aisle and slowly demonstrate with explanatory remarks one little one, such aa the feat of grabbing a hatful of billiard balls out of a customer's hair or a guinea pig out of his breast pocket.

These things were somewhat personal, and, anyway, magicians sre such complete masters of their patrons that they can afford to do the renerpus thing. Probably the customers wouldn't really know even if they were told.

The secretive nature of this tribe, apart frdm the rest of the human race, is by no means the least of their marvels, for they have their trade union, so to speak, and they sometimes gather to talk shop and perhaps to exchange mysteries, like kids trading marblce Or stamps, but rarely, if ever, do they get drunk and blab.

I have seen a first rate professional magician pretty well awash with drams at a purely social evening, performing small tricks with csrds and coins under the earnest gaze of people no further along than himself, but never a word said he as to how he did what he did, nor would he, the cad, reduce his feats to slow motion, even for a pal. old pal.

Lady Magicians Might Be More Talkative. AND this brings to mind the fsct that I rarely have seen a lady magician, except the little blond assistsnts in the velvet knickers who may not be magiciana at all but just littls blond assistants hired for the week through a local employment agency. Perhaps if there were lsdy magicians the secrets would be more loosely held'snd there would be less magic to taunt the spectators and send them home annoyed at their own bafflement.

More- than once I have toyed with the idea of bringing a rifle to the theater and shooting the magician dead at the climax of the show, then rushing onto the stage to frisk hia clothes for concealed animals and fowls, decks of cards and long garlands of gay silk handkerchiefs tied together. The suspicion is strong that they do not actually create these things out of air, as they like to pretend, but hide them in secret pockets made by fellow conspirators in the tailoring trade.

Thurston's tailor might be able to throw some light on the case if he could be lured into a locked room and tortured with matches. -

Magician's Automobile Disappears From Curb Without His Trickery

When a magician makes anything diaappw its nothing to get excited about. But when the magi9lan's ear vanishes then It'» a case for the police.

Call Apr 15, 1936

This wss the lessen learned by Russell Zito, of W Bergen avenae. Fair Lawn, a mystiAer of considerable repute, who discovered that there are ether forms of disappearance than that practiced by hia ewn ee-eult calling.

Mr. Zito told Fair Lawn police that his Ford sedan, parked In front of hia hoase, warn net there when he looked for It last night

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