Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Grave of FuManchu-David Bamberg

David Bamberg was the last of the long line of the Bamberg Dynasty of Magicians. He was born in England on February 19th, 1904 to Theodore and Lily Bamberg. Theo performed under the stage name OKITO. As a youth David worked in Howard Thurston's show playing the part of a child volunteer during the Eggs in the Hat routine. Later David performed under the name Syko and worked with the mind reading team The Zancigs. He also toured with the Great Raymond. Years later he followed more in his fathers footsteps and became Fu-Manchu and took his own show on the road.

David toured extensively through Mexico and the South American countries. He made several movies while in Mexico. And later he settled in Buenos Aires. After he retired in the 1960s he opened a magic shop and ran that until he died on August 19, 1974. An old issue of Genii Magazine states that David has no grave as his ashes were scattered at sea. However, thanks to Magic Historian Martin Pacheco, I am now aware of the full story. According to Martin, David Bamberg was buried in the Cementerio de la Chacarita in Buenos Aires, Argentina. However, his wife Lolo did not take care of the upkeep of the grave and in fact no one did. Twenty years after David Bamberg had died, a magic society went to the cemetery to pay tribute to FuManchu and this is when they discovered the grave was gone. Sometime in the twenty years after he died, his remains had been moved to a common grave which is unknown. To see a photo of the grave, watch the latest episode of The Magic Detective on Youtube (ep5) http://www.themagicdetective.com/2014/10/new-episode-of-magic-detective-show.html

David Bamerg's life story is contained in the book ILLUSION SHOW by David Bamberg and put out by Meyerbooks. Get a copy of the book if you can find it, it's an amazing life story!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Grave of Cesareo Pelaez

Photo used with permission of Eric D. Cade
 Cesareo Pelaez was the founder, creator, producer and choreographer of the longest running resident magic show in the U.S.. The show was called Marco The Magi present Le Grand David and His Own Spectacular Magic Company. Cesareo played the part of Marco the Magi and the show ran for 36 years.

Born Oct 16, 1932 in Santa Clara Cuba. As a boy, is father took him to see many of the traveling theatrical shows that would visit the island. These included shows by FuManchu, Richiardi Sr. & Jr., Change and Dante. These grand productions had a profound effect on Cesareo and they would later become the inspiration for his ultimate theatrical dream, a resident magic company.

In the 1960s, as Castro was taking over Cuba, Cesareo decided to flee his homeland in sake of a better and safer life. In time, he would become a professor of Psychology at Salem State College and he would remain in this position his entire life until retirement.

But while he was busy teaching young minds about psychology during the day, in the late 1970s, he was putting together a group of people who would buy a theatre, refurbish it and eventually put together their own unique magic show based on the types of shows Cesareo saw as a boy.

In 2005, Cesareo suffered a stroke. He did eventually recover and return to the stage for a short time, but his health was in decline. On March 24th, 2012, Cesareo finally passed away. The company of performers who had stood by his side for so long finished the season without him. Then a few months later they decided to put the Cabot St. Cinema Theatre up for sale. In February 2014, the props, costumes, posters, curtains and everything from the incredible show went up for auction, thus ending any hope of a return of this once grand show.

Cesareo is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Beverly MA. His stone is located in the back at the top of the hill, just along the center trail.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jack Gwynne's Grave

Jack Gwynne was an American Magician and movie actor. He was one of the few magicians who made a successful transition out of Vaudeville into other markets. As Vaudeville died, Gwynne created a show that could be performed at nightclubs and on dance floors. That meant that his illusions had to set up quickly and could be performed surrounded.

He is credited for adapting the classic Doll's House Illusion and creating a brand new effect called The Temple of Benares or Temple of An-Gee. During World War II, Gwynne and his family traveled overseas to perform for the troupes. He was a popular attraction and if memory serves was given the honorary rank of Lieutenant.

Jack Gwynne was also a movie star. He had an uncredited roll in Citizen Kane, and he starred in The Dark Streets of Cairo and Model Wife. After his movie star days were over and the nightclub venues began to dry up, Jack once again transitioned into another market, this time the school show market. Jack Gwynne was born April 12, 1895 and died on December 7, 1969. He is buried in Lakeside Cemetery in Colon Michigan next to his wife Anne, and along with many of magic's notables.

A photo of the grave can be seen here. There is also a map/diagram of where the various magic graves in the Lakeside Cemetery are, click here.

(If you have a photo of the grave you would be willing to share, and that you own, please send it over to carnegiemagic@aol.com)