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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:  date unknown

Description: View from window looking down at the escape act of Madison magician Ben Bergor. He is beginning to make the escape from the straightjacket while the crowd...

Date:  date unknown

Description: During his career as an entertainer and magician, Ben Bergor of Madison also booked the acts and served as master of ceremonies for many sports shows aroun...

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...

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...

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

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

Houdini, Harry

Date:  date unknown

Description: Harry Houdini in chains and ropes. He is tied to a wheel on a locomotive.

Date: 1927-06-09 ca.

Description: The Second Annual convention, referred to as "The Greatest Gathering of Magicians in the History of the World", of the International Brotherhood of Magicia...

Photograph

Sleight of Hand

Date:  date unknown

Description: Outdoor portrait of Madison magician Ben Bergor, who performed as Bennie Golden Berger during the early years of his career. He billed himself as the faste...

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...

Date:  date unknown

Description: Two-sided playing card used for advertising by magician Howard Thurston (d. 1936), arguably the greatest magician of his day. The reverse side of the card...

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...

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...

Date: 1942 

Description: Mrs. Beatrice Houdini presenting the Houdini Award Album to Ben Bergor, a Madison magician. The award was made annually by the Houdini Club of Wisconsin to...

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...

Book or Pamphlet

"Big Stage Show" Flyer Front

Date: 1950 ca.

Description: Front of flyer announcing an International Harvester free family party for friends and customers. "No selling"

Date: 1914 

Description: Harry Houdini, born Erik Weisz in Hungary and raised as Erich Weiss in Appleton, Wisconsin, preparing to do one of his famous escapes, this time from a sub...

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.

Historical Essay

Houdini, Harry 1874 - 1926

Magician and Showman

Brief biography of Harry Houdini (1874 - 1926).
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