Friday, March 4, 2011

Buried without a Tombstone

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. He has has no grave as his ashes were scattered at sea.*
His 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!
* This information came from an old issue of Genii Magazine. However, I was recently informed that it is incorrect and in fact, David Bamberg was buried. I hope to have a photo of the grave and more information soon! To read the FULL Story, go here

Douglas James Henning was born on May 3rd 1947 in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada. He is the man who brought magic back to the masses. First with his production of 'The Magic Show' on Broadway and then he followed this with a touring show and annual TV Specials called "Doug Henning's World of Magic". He inspired many magicians during his time. Though many of the tricks Doug presented had their roots in magic's rich history, he had a style all his own that no one could copy.

He retired from magic in the 1980s to pursue a path of enlightenment with the Maharishi and the TM Movement. It was a huge shock to the magic world. Then in the late 90's there were rumors of Doug's return to magic. He was even seen at a number of magic shops across the country. As the excitement built over the possibility of Doug Henning coming back to magic, the news broke on Feb 7, 2000 that Doug had suddenly passed away at the age of 52 from liver cancer. I believe that his ashes were also scattered at sea. Doug's life story is told in the very recent biography SPELLBOUND by John Harrison, a fantastic book on one of the greats who left us way too soon.

ALEXANDER-The Man Who Knows was born Claude Alexander Conlin on June 30, 1880. He had an early interest in magic and received some of his early education through the Professor Hoffman books. He left home to see the world and one of the places he wound up was Lily Dale, NY. This was the resort camp area for Spiritualist Mediums and Claude worked as a boat-boy. While at Lily Dale he was exposed to the tricks and methods of fake spiritualists. He no doubt was also exposed to the gullibility of people as well which would play an important role in his later career.

After Lily Dale, he traveled west to begin a career as a magician. He began doing a handcuff escape act patterned after Houdini's act, and eventually added some illusions. But on November 18, 1906 a blizzard came through El Paso Texas and he props never arrived for the show he was to do that day.  In desperation he decided to try to do his mind reading material which only required a few pads of paper and pencils. He was shocked at how this act was received by the audience. This fortunate accident changed the path of his life and career.

He would soon adopt the title Alexander The Man Who Knows and do strictly MindReading. He would take it much further than anyone had previously and made people believe he could truly read their minds and predict their futures. He made millions during his lifetime. He died on August 5th, 1954 and was cremated. His ashes were cast over the waters near Rialto Beach.
His life story is unbelievable. It should be a movie, seriously. It involves, magic, murder, the Alaskan Gold Rush, swindling, bootlegging, bigamy, and much more. If you'd like to read a great biography on Alexander check out the book by David Charvet and John Pomeroy.

Arthur Finley was a confident of Dai Vernon. He was known for being a clever manipulator though he was not a full time performer. In fact, he rarely performed and did not care to associate with magicians, the exception being Vernon and some of the inner circle of of Vernon's friends like Al Baker and Abe Horowitz. He apparently refused to have his photo taken and completely stayed away from any sorts of publicity. It seems they were friends during the 1920s and early 30s but Finley vanished after that.

Someone found him in the early 1940s and he told them he wanted nothing to do with magicians. He apparently had nothing to do with anyone, magic or otherwise, other than his ex-wife. He was born in October of 1877.  He died on May 15th, 1958. He was a commercial graphic artist by profession.
Arthur Finley is buried in the Rural Cemetery in Fishkill, NY in an unmarked grave.

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