Thursday, March 10, 2011

Harry Kellar's Final Resting Place

photo used with permission of Mike Caveney
Harry Kellar had been suffering from pneumonia and died on May 10th, 1922. He was known as the Dean of Magicians, an official title he received from the Society of American Magicians. Prior to that he was the first world famous American born magician in the country. When he retired in 1908, he sold his show to Howard Thurston where the 'mantle of magic' was passed from Kellar to Thurston.

He began his performing career working as an apprentice to the Fakir of Ava. After leaving his employment he went to work for the Davenport Brothers &Fay. Kellar apparently had a falling out with William Henry Davenport and left his employ and took William Fay with him. Together, they performed as Fay & Kellar. A shipwreck in 1875 put an end to their partnership and Kellar returned to America, but not without stopping in London and purchasing a Vanishing Birdcage from someone claiming to be a cousin of Dekolta, the inventor of the cage.

In 1878, Robert Heller passed away suddenly. Harry Kellar had originally changed the spelling of his last name from Keller to Kellar, so he would not be confused with Heller. Now it was time to take advantage of the opening in the field. He used the following poem in his advertisements:
"For many a day,
We have heard people say
That a wondrous magician was Heller;
Change the H into K
And the E into A
And you have his superior in Kellar!"
Kellar's only competition at this point was Alexander Herrmann, The Great Herrmann. They would fight it out on stages across America. Eventually in 1896, when Herrmann passed away, the field was open for Kellar to reign supreme. He continued to do so until his retirement in 1908. Harry Kellar's ashes are contained in niche #76GOC at the Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery, which is located at 1831 West Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007

A more indepth article about Harry Kellar's final resting place can be found here:

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