Yankee Gathering


S.A.M. Magic Center




Los Angeles Conference

On Magic History (2011)

Hudson River Museum (2012)

Yankee Gathering



January 2008

Howard Thurston on the cover of The Family Circle magazine from 1933.

The Family Circle - A National Weekly Magazine, from January 6th, 1933.

As shown in the image below, Howard Thurston is on the cover. 

The cover says "THURSTON. . . the man who has fooled over fifty million people, explains his black magic over the air.  (Story on page 14)."


"The easiest people to fool are scientists and technical men," said Thurston.  "The hardest are fourteen year old boys, lawyers and ministers."


THE tie-up between the famous magician, Howard Thurston, and his sponsor looks like it might have been planned by a humorist.  The man who is credited with having "the fastest hands in the world" is sponsored by Swift & Company!  This is what the sport writers would call a "natural".  Thurston appears on the Swift program Thursday and Friday at 8:45pm over the NBC-WJZ network, and if you are interested in the experiences and secrets of master magicians, you will be entertained by this remarkable man.  There has been only one man in the past decade whose accomplishments in the field of illusion ranked with Thurston and he is dead.  That man was Houdini.

The writer was particularly interested in the new Swift star because of an early childhood experience.  It was in a small Southern town, almost twenty years ago.  Thurston's appearance had been heralded for months.  Every billboard was plastered with intriguing pictures of the magician making women fly through space - and disappear into thin air.  Then there was one which showed a beautiful lady in flowing white robes. The pale cheeks, tightly closed eyes and rigid body suggested a state of hypnosis.  Thurston, standing beside her, appeared to be lifting her with the power of mind and eye as he fixed her with a baleful glance, and held forth his hands over her with dingers extended and spread apart.  I can see that picture as clearly as though it were yesterday - and I remember that I didn't kike the idea because I was convinced that you couldn't do a thing like that to a lady without injuring her mind in some way.  (Imagine being afraid of hurting a woman's mind with a little thing like hypnotism!  That will let you know hoe young I was.)

So I went to the performance with a feeling of animosity because of the beautiful lady in the white night tie.  It was a  matinee, and there were no reservations, so I got down to the opera house before noon, took my lunch with me, and was one of the first kids to get in and grab a front row.  One of Thurston's first tricks was with an egg.  He was making it appear everywhere except the place you expected it.  He was about to do a stunt and apparently had the egg in his right hand when I yelled:

"It's In his left hand."

He stopped, came down to the footlights, and said:

"Now there's a bright little fellow.  Just the boy I need to help me out up here.  Come right up these steps, sonny."

And before I knew it I was up on the stage, scared stiff and wearing a very sickly smile.

"Now, you see, you were right.  It is in my left hand," said Thurston with a tone of confidence that completely won me.  "But of course what your friends out there don't know is what you've got in your pockets."

And as he started pulling cabbages, bunches of flowers, and long strings of colored paper out of my clothes he whispered in my ear:

"All right partner.  We'll give those folks something to see before we're through."

The rest of that afternoon would make a fit subject for the series of Webster cartoons in the New York Herald Tribune called "The Thrill That Comes Once in a Lifetime."

The hand of Howard Thurston have deceived over fifty million people. Now you can hear him on the air - and what could be more fitting than "the man with the fasted hands in the world" working for Swift and Company?

So I wrote Thurston about the incident after hearing him on the air, and his answer offers an interesting slant on the magic business.

He said: "Your reaction to the egg trick was typical.  In every audience there is usually some kid who outguessed the magician - in fact boys between twelve and fourteen are the hardest spectators to deceive.  The mind of a boy this age has not been confused with theoretical things.  He always see the short, direct route, and is not fooled by irrelevant gestures and words used to diver the eye.

"And once a child penetrates my deception, I immediately make a confidant of him, as I did in your case.  He then willingly helps me try to fool others."

In my letter I asked him who were the easiest and who were the hardest to deceive in the adult class.

"This may seem difficult to believe," he replied "but the most ready victim is the profound student - the man of letters - the psychologist.

"The psychologist has mastered concentration," he explained.  "His mind centers completely on what the magician is doing.  It is too thoroughly trained to wander.  It invariably follows the plan I lay our for it."

On the subject of most difficult to deceive, he said:

"The least susceptible people are found in two professions - the bar and the clergy.  To begin with, lawyers and ministers do not lose their poise when invited upon the stage.  They are accustomed to facing the public, and remain at ease.

"Of these two, the legal mind is the more vigilant and discerning.  The success of magic depends largely on the acceptance of circumstantial evidence - and the lawyer, above all others, understands that circumstantial evidence is tricky, and at times unreliable.

"An expert jury lawyer is the bane of every magician, because you cannot throw him off the scent with patter.  He has used the trick many times himself, to divert the attention of a jury from a certain point detrimental to his client."

*       *       *

DURING his broadcasts on the Swift program, Mr. Thurston will give all stage appearances and concentrate on his radio material.  This is the same thoroughness which has made him spend sleepless nights in working out his illusions... amazing tricks which have mystified over fifty million people through out the world during the past thirty years.  He will tell you about these secrets over the air - and we recommend that you listen in.

*       *       *

The amazing accomplishments of Howard Thurston in the field of illusion are a definite reminder of that old saying, "don't believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see."  Those are really the lady's legs, and how is that really her head - but how those two men manage to appear where her body should be is the magician's secret.  Each week in his broadcasts, Thurston will explain one of these mystifying tricks.

*       *       *

Copyright 2008 Rory Feldman Productions

Images Of This Thurston Item Of The Month Are From The TRFC And Cannot Be Used, Duplicated, Reproduced, Manipulated, Posted, Copied, Distributed In Printed Or Electronic Form Without Prior Written Permission From The Owner /Creator Of

ALL TEXT Copyright 2008 Rory Feldman Productions 2000 - 2015 All rights reserved.