The Family Circle - A National Weekly Magazine, from
January 6th, 1933.
As shown in the image below, Howard Thurston is on the
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
THE MASTER MAGICIAN TELLS WHO IS HARDEST AND EASIEST TO FOOL
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
ALL TEXT Copyright 2008