Harry Blackstone, Sr.

Facts about Harry Blackstone, Sr.

Harry Blackstone, Sr. died at 80 years old
Best known as: Stage magician with elaborate props, 1910-60


Harry Blackstone, Sr. Biography

Name at birth: Harry Bouton

Harry Blackstone, Sr. was one of the 20th century’s best-known stage magicians. His career stretched from vaudeville of the early 1900s up to 1960s television. Although Blackstone was adept at close magic and sleight of hand, his fame stemmed from his elaborate stage productions and illusions that required many assistants and special props.

A showman of the gentleman-in-tails variety, The Great Blackstone got his start in Chicago as Harry Bouton. His brother Pete constructed most of his props. He tried going by Frederik, but anti-German sentiment during World War I made Bouton change his stage name, finally coming up with Blackstone.

Between 1920 and 1950 he toured with his big show, becoming especially well known during World War II for his many performances for troops.

A contemporary and sometime rival of Harry Houdini, Blackstone’s more famous tricks included escapes, a “dancing” handkerchief, a disappearing bird cage and a lady sawed in half.

Blackstone’s son, Harry Blackstone, Jr., went on to be a famous magician in his own right.


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