Dossier: Blackstone, The Magic Detective

Name: Harry Blackstone, Sr.Blackstone, Magic Detective
Aliases: Blackstone the Magician, Blackstone the Magic Detective
Publisher: Street & Smith, EC Comics, Timely Comics
First Appearance: Street & Smith Publications, 1941

Many of those who recognize the name Blackstone the Magician think to trace his origins back to the vintage radio show. During the show, the “world’s greatest living magician” would recount tales of his past adventures, using his magical talents to fight crime. After the thrilling climax, the story would return to Harry, his assistant Rhoda, and one of their friends discussing the action of the tale. During his segment, Harry would perform a simple trick, and then teach the listeners at home how to perform it themselves. The trick was usually something involving household objects so that listeners could easily perform it for their friends and relatives.
However, Blackstone’s tales are predated by the various comic series in which he appeared. These series, the most popular of which was Blackstone the Magician Detective Fights Crime, were themselves predate by the real Harry Blackstone, Sr. Blackstone was a popular magician of his era, and the last of the gentleman magicians, spending most of his time either on tour or at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. Here he would entertain audiences with some now famous illusions.

Harry Blackstone, Sr.His signature illusion was “The Floating Light Bulb”. Near the end of his act, Blackstone would step down from the stage and remove a light bulb from one of the nearby lamps. He would carry the bulb, while still magically illuminated, up to the stage where he would float it through a hoop. The bulb would then float out over the stunned audience. The bulb, along with another of Blackstone’s props, is now preserved in the Smithsonian Institute as the first exhibit accepted in the field of magic.

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