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Harry Blackstone

AKA Harold Boughton

Born: 27-Sep-1885
Birthplace: Chicago, IL
Died: 16-Nov-1965
Location of death: Hollywood, CA
Cause of death: Kidney failure
Remains: Cremated, Lakeside Cemetery, Colon, MI

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Magician

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Vaudeville illusionist

Harry Blackstone started performing sleight-of-hand tricks when he was seven or eight years old, toured in his late teens in a vaudeville act with his brother, and became one of the 20th Century's most famous illusionists. He was a contemporary and friendly rival of Harry Houdini, and his famous tricks included making a donkey disappear on stage, handkerchiefs that danced, levitating a light bulb, and making a rope climber vanish into a puff of smoke. In 1926, performing for Calvin Coolidge at the White House, he was said to have pickpocketed a revolver from a Secret Service agent. It was a magic show starring Blackstone that first piqued James Randi's fascination with illusion, and Blackstone always described his magic as "nothing but psychology".

His friend, Walter B. Gibson, created "The Shadow", which became a classic radio show. Gibson was also believed to be the ghostwriter of several books with Blackstone's byline, and he wrote comic books and a 1940s radio series in which Blackstone was re-imagined as Blackstone, the Magic Detective.

In his latter years, when an aging Blackstone was described in a 1962 article in the Saturday Evening Post as "a magnificent relic", he reportedly said of the Post, "I'll turn them into rabbits." He was the father of magician Harry Blackstone, Jr.

Father: Alfred Boughton
Mother: Barbara Boughton
Brother: Pete Boughton (magician)
Wife: Elizabeth Ross (heiress, third wife, m. 1950)
Son: Harry Blackstone, Jr. (magician)

    International Brotherhood of Magicians
    Risk Factors: Asthma

Official Website:

Author of books:
Blackstone's Tricks and Entertainments (1929)
Blackstone's Easy Magic for Everyone (1930)
Blackstone's Secrets of Magic (1930)
Blackstone's Magic: A Book of Mystery (1930)
Blackstone's Modern Card Tricks and Secrets of Magic (1941)
Blackstone's Tricks Anyone Can Do (1948)

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