The Great Blackstone
I never saw Blackstone perform.
He crossed over when I was only five years old.
And yet of all magicians living or dead, he had the most profound impact on my life.
My grandfather Raymond loved magic. He was a traveling salesman who spent most of his work week on the road. He sold Willcox & Gibbs sewing machines to factories and businesses. When he finally returned home, he wanted to give to his children and family. He did that by taking them on trips, or by performing a new trick he had learned while on the road, or by taking them to a show and the preferred show was the Blackstone show.
One evening in the cold and dark of winter my dad came home from work late. Like his father before him, he enjoyed showing off a new trick to his kids. That night he showed me a trick but after his performance, he told us about the show that so inspired and awed him, the show that made him a lifelong fan of magic. It was the Blackstone show that my grandfather had taken him to see when he was a child.
Dad described in vivid detail how Blackstone caused a buzz saw to pass through a woman, how the orchestra rose from beneath the stage at the old Hippodrome theater, the same theatre in which Kellar passed his mantle to Thurston, and how the Great Blackstone levitated a brightly light and glowing lightbulb out over the audience and only inches from his head.
Those many years later on the night, he relayed the story to me my father was still filled with wonder from that show he’d seen all those years before and his wonder was contagious. I could see Blackstone in my mind’s eye, I could see each illusion as my father described them to me and “seeing” filled me with wonder that has lasted to this day.
I hope to tell you more about Blackstone the man and Blackstone the magician, but I will save that for another time. For now, I want you to know why this great magician who crossed over on November 16, 1965, is so important to me, why he was so important to my father, and to his father before him. Blackstone gave my family the gift of wonder and that gift has remained constant through three generations. The name of Blackstone will always be a cherished name to my family for the gift he gave us so long ago.
Thank you, Harry Blackstone.