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Historical Essay

Magician's Escape Trunk

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Escape trunk, restraining devices, and curtain used by magician Ben Bergor of Madison, Wisconsin, 1940s. (Museum objects #1982.159.17,19,21,23,25)

Date: 1919 ca.

Description: Quarter-length studio portrait of the renowned escape artist Harry Houdini.

Date:  date unknown

Description: Formal publicity portrait of magician Ben Bergor of Madison performing one of his sleight of hand tricks with lighted cigarettes. Bergor was billed as the...

Date: 1920 

Description: Escape artist Harry Houdini being tortured by cannibals in the silent film "Terror Island." Like the other films in which Houdini stared, the plot was desi...

Photograph

Dick DeYoung

Date:  date unknown

Description: Professional magician Dick DeYoung of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, on a stage with three other people. DeYoung had over five decades of experience as a club and s...

Photograph

Joe Berg

Date:  date unknown

Description: Joe Berg, a professional magician and magic dealer, who was based in Chicago. This autographed picture was presented to Ben Bergor, a Madison area magician...

Date:  

Description: A production still from the 1927 film "The Show." Cock Robin (John Gilbert) is on a small stage with a woman floating on her side next to him. Another man...

Photograph

Hypnotism Act

Date:  date unknown

Description: Dr. Morton Greene, a graduate psychologist, performing his hypnotism act.

Date: 1937 ca.

Description: Ben Bergor, a Madison area magician (standing third from the left), with a group of Chicago area magicians. Identified individuals are (seated, left to rig...

Date: 1950 ca.

Description: Inside spread of flyer for an International Harvester free family party for friends and customers. The event was at Turner Hall in Columbia, Illinois, was...

Photograph

Off to the Trenches

Date: 1918-05-05 

Description: Send off for World War I recruits at the railroad station. The man leaning out of the train window is Ben Bergor, a professional magician and vaudeville pe...

Photograph

Mandu the Magician

Date:  date unknown

Description: Doc Mann of Beloit, Wisconsin, who performed novelty entertainment and "top hat magic" as Mandu the magician.

Photograph

Dorny Dornfeld

Date: 1929 ca.

Description: Quarter-length studio portrait of Werner "Dorny" Dornfeld, a Chicago area magician who was a leader in several national organizations of magicians. The "Be...

Date: 1920 

Description: Harry Houdini, world famous escape artist who spent his boyhood in Appleton, Wisconsin, sitting in a chair wrapped in chains in a scene from the silent fil...

Historical Object

Houdini Award

Date: 1941 ca.

Description: The Houdini Award, an album, presented to Madison magician Ben Bergor by the Houdini Club of Wisconsin. Because Bergor won the award three years in success...

Date:  

Description: Letterhead of Ring 31 of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, with the seal of the IBM and a cartoon by Wayne D. Peterson (?) of Ben Bergor with a r...

Date: 1910 ca.

Description: Ben Goldenberger and his sister Olivia face each other over a small table. There is a menorah on the bookcase in the background. Ben would later change his...

Photograph

Ben Bergor Escapes

Date: 1940 ca.

Description: Madison magician Ben Bergor, standing in the trunk, and his wife, Alvira, standing nearby, getting ready to perform an amazing escape act. The act had Berg...

Date:  date unknown

Description: Madison magician Ben Bergor standing in front of the Leota Theatre. Bergor was born Ben Goldenberger, first performed in Vaudeville as Bennie Golden Berger...

Photograph

Eddie Tullock

Date:  date unknown

Description: Magician Eddie Tullock (1919-2007) performing at a restaurant. Minnesota-born Tullock was the originator of "trade show magic," the concept of presenting a...

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