9780786717705

The Glorious Deception The Double Life of William Robinson, aka Chung Ling Soo, the Marvelous Chinese Conjurer

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780786717705

  • ISBN10:

    078671770X

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2006-04-11
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press

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Summary

In a biography woven from equal parts enchantment and mystery, master illusion designer and today's foremost magic historian, Jim Steinmeyer, unveils the astonishing secrets behind the enigmatic performer Chung Ling Soo, the "Marvelous Chinese Conjurer" a magician whose life of intrigue and daring remains unparalleled to this day. He learned his art during a revolutionary era in show business, just as minstrel, circus, and variety saloons were being stirred together and distilled into a heady new concoction: vaudeville. Soo's infamous death in 1918 astonished the world: he was killed during a performance of "Defying the Bullets," his popular act in which he caught marked bullets on a porcelain plate. After his death, the deceptions began to unravel. It was discovered that he was not Chinese, but rather a fifty-six-year-old American named William Ellsworth Robinson, a former magicians' assistant, and the husband of Olive Robinson. But even William Robinson was not who he appeared to be, and for the first time, Jim Steinmeyer has uncovered the truth behind Robinson and the magic world's most glorious deception.

Author Biography

JIM STEINMEYER has created the defining illusions in contemporary magic, such as David Copperfield’s vanishing of the Statue of Liberty. He has created special material for the programs of many leading magicians around the world—from Ricky Jay to Siegfried & Roy. He has also designed illusions for six Broadway shows and numerous other productions, such as Mary Poppins, which is currently on the British stage. Steinmeyer was a writer and producer of the A&E network’s four-hour history of the art, THE STORY OF MAGIC, and is the author of HIDING THE ELEPHANT. Jim Steinmeyer lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Frankie Glass, an independent television producer.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION vii
CHAPTER 1 THE WOOD GREEN EMPIRE 1(16)
CHAPTER 2 HARRY HILL'S SALOON 17(15)
CHAPTER 3 THE PALACE OF MAGIC 32(12)
CHAPTER 4 THE GREAT HERRMANN 44(12)
CHAPTER 5 OLIVE PATH 56(12)
CHAPTER 6 THE BLACK ART 68(14)
CHAPTER 7 HARRY KELLAR 82(16)
CHAPTER 8 NANA SAHIB 98(16)
CHAPTER 9 ABDUL KHAN 114(14)
CHAPTER 10 OUT OF SIGHT 128(13)
CHAPTER 11 THE MARVELOUS BULLET CATCH 141(11)
CHAPTER 12 ESCAPE FROM SING SING 152(12)
CHAPTER 13 CHING LING FOO 164(16)
CHAPTER 14 KEITH'S UNION SQUARE 180(14)
CHAPTER 15 THE POLIES BERGERE 194(15)
CHAPTER 16 THE ALHAMBRA THEATER 209(18)
CHAPTER 17 THE GREAT LAFAYETTE 227(15)
CHAPTER 18 DEFYING THE BOXERS 242(11)
CHAPTER 19 THE LONDON HIPPODROME 253(16)
CHAPTER 20 TAVISTOCK SQUARE 269(16)
CHAFFER 21 LONSDALE ROAD 285(18)
CHAPTER 22 AUSTRALIA 303(17)
CHAPTER 23 EDINBURGH 320(16)
CHAPTER 24 ASLEEP IN THE AIR 336(16)
CHAPTER 25 THE EXPANDING ME 352(16)
CHAPTER 26 THE WORLD AND ITS PEOPLE 368(16)
CHAPTER 27 THE CHARMED BULLET 384(14)
CHAPTER 28 DEATH BY MISADVENTURE 398(14)
EPILOGUE 412(9)
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND NOTES 421(16)
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 437(4)
INDEX 441(12)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 453

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