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"Harry Blackstone," says Calvin Trillin in The New Yorker,
"is regarded as one of the finest magicians in the country - the leading
example of the formal tradition of grand illusion." Today, Harry Blackstone
Jr. passed away, however his magic remains in our hearts and minds....
Every time magician Harry Blackstone stepped on stage for a performance, he brought with him the legacy of an American theatrical tradition that dated back over a century. Magician Harry Blackstone Jr was the gifted son and professional heir of The Great Magician Blackstone, America's legendary creative magical genius who led the art of stage magic and illusion to heights never achieved before his era. The son did a great deal more than merely following in his magician father's footsteps. Magician Harry Blackstone was an author, an actor, an inventor, a casino showroom headliner, a TV personality, a teacher, a father, and the creator and performer of the longest running magic and illusion show ever to play Broadway.
No magician in history has been more honored by his peers than magician Harry Blackstone JR. In March, 1994, magician Harry Blackstone Jr was named a recipient of the prestigious Masters Fellowship, presented by the Academy of Magical Arts and Sciences. Named 'The Magician of the Year" in 1979 and 1985 by the Academy of Magical Arts, Magician Harry Blacksont Jr was the "International Ambassador of Magic" for both the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians. He and his wife, Gay, are Honorary Life Members of the Academy of Magical Arts at the Hollywood Magic Castle. He was also the recipient of the coveted "Star of Magic" an honor bestowed to only 11 other magicians in history, including his father. On June 12, 1994 magician Harry Blackstone Jr was made an honorary member of the International College of Surgeons. Since the College's founding in 1936, there have been only 14 other honorary members including one other from the entertainment- industry, Bob Hope.
Born in Colon, Michigan, "The Magic Capitol of the World", Magician Harry Blackston Jr's career in magic began at the age of six months, appearing and disappearing in his father's Illusions. Under the master's watchful eye, young Harry grew up learning the elements of his exacting craft. He performed such world-famous Illusions as The Floating Light Bulb, The Vanishing Birdcage, The Dancing Handkerchief, and the frightening Buzzsaw, all of which he learned and perfected with his father's guidance and encouragement.
Far from satisfied with repeating the feats of his father, magician Harry Blackstone Jr developed
the art of magic into something both uniquely and arrestingly modern, injecting
not merely innovation, but transcending the stage barrier to touch his audiences
with a presentation that was not only reverent of the past, but very much
of the present, of the future and of his own creation. As he had put it,
"What I am undertaking is the challenging, but delightful task of bringing
this magnificent art to even higher levels, building on what has gone before,
injecting a modern, innovative presentation that is very much of the present,
of the future and of my own creation."
Magician Harry Blackstone Jr proved the popularity of this modern approach in 1980, when after touring the U.S. and setting box office records in 16 major cities, he arrived at the Majestic Theater on Broadway, where to unanimous rave reviews he presented the longest running magic and illusion show in the history of the New York theater. His show continued to receive rave reviews and standing room only audiences in its world-wide tours, most recently performing in Manila, Philippines during December, 1990; Lausanne, Switzerland in July, 1991; Madrid, Spain, in May, 1992 and Buenos Aires, Argentina, in June, 1992.
Magician Harry Blackston Jr then set his sights on television. He starred in three of his own magic specials (one for PBS and two for HBO). He has also appeared as a guest on numerous other television shows such as "Donahue," "The Today Show," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," "The Arsenio Hall Show," "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," the NBC pilot of "Mandrake, the Magician," "The New Mickey Mouse Club" and "Hart to Hart."
Magician Harry Blackston Jr has also appeared on international television in the BBC's "The Children's Royal Variety Gala" from London; "The Blackstone Family TV Special" for NTV-Japan; "Sabado Noche" and "The Juan Tamariz Show" from Madrid, Spain, and Thames TV's "The Best of Magic." And in November, 1991, he hosted the "International Magic Awards," a two-hour television special originating in five countries on three continents and seen by half a billion people worldwide. But if you had asked him which were his favorites, he would have mentioned two: his role as "Dr. Mephisto" on the NBC-TV daytime drama "Santa Barbara," and his recurring segment "Backstage With Blackstone," where he taught conceptual mathematics through magic to viewers on the daily PBS series "Square One TV." This show was nominated for a 1991 Emmy.
When it came to performing live, Harry Blackstone's versatility and inventiveness allowed him to be equally comfortable in such diverse settings as China, appearing with the Shanghai Circus; and on stage at the Tropicana Hotel in Atlantic City, where reviewers unanimously proclaimed his 90-minute magic review the Show Of the Year."
To unanimous critical acclaim, Magician Harry Blackston Jr continued to present his unique "Magic of Music and Music of Magic" in symphonic halls throughout the country. This performance was an examination of the four thousand year history of mystery, with live illusions, full stage graphics and an entire symphony orchestra.
Away from the bright lights, Magician Harry Blackston Jr continued to meet with success in a broad spectrum of entertainment-related careers. In 1985 he was honored as "Speaker of the Year" by the International Platform Association. He co-authored three books (The Blackstone Book of Magic and Illusion, There's One Born Every Minute and My Life As A Magician released in the summer of 1991 and re-edited his father's Blackstone's Secrets of Magic.
Magician Harry Blackston Jr designed and inaugurated a line of four magic kits, "The Magic World of Blackstone" (manufactured by Pressman Toys), for beginners to advanced, which have become the-largest-selling magic items in U.S. history. In 1990, an additional line of beginning, intermediate, and advanced magic items were released (by JAK-PAK INC.) both in the U. S. and overseas.
In 1990, Magician Harry Blackston Jr designed and produced magic illusions and special effects for the New Kids on the Block "Magic Summer Tour" and subsequent "No More Games Tour." Over three million new fans in 70 cities saw the magic of Magician Harry Blackston Jr for the first time. Currently, the U.S and international tours of the Reggae star, Shabba Ranks, feature Magic by Magician Harry Blackston Jr .
Magician Harry Blackston Jr 's most recent return to Broadway was in conjunction with "The Boys Choir of Harlem and Friends on Broadway," "This was a unique opportunity in every sense," said Magician Harry Blackston Jr . Magician Harry Blackston Jr not only created illusions specific to the show but was one of several guest performers, including Michael Bolton, Phylicia Rashad, Jazz great, Kenny Burrell and members of the Metropolitan Opera.
In 1985, on the 100th anniversary of his father's birth, Magician Harry Blackston Jr donated the original floating light bulb, designed and built by Thomas Edison, and the original Casadega Cabinet, used in his father's "The Spirit Handkerchief" illusion to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D C.. It was the first ever donation in the field of magic accepted by the Smithsonian.
Magician Harry Blackston Jr always had a love of education and knowledge. He attended Swarthmore University in Pennsylvania and after a three year tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Korea, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from University of Southern California. Magician Harry Blackston Jr later attended the University of Texas for graduate work in theater and broadcasting. In May, 1993, Harry dedicated the Magician Harry Blackston Jr Theater Collection in honor of Harry B. Blackstone III at California State University, San Bernardino.
Through his magic, Harry Blacktone Jr. touched the lives of millions of people around the world. ... and now, his legend lives on in our hearts. Here's to Harry Blackstone Jr. - May 14, 1997
Our souvenir shop at the Houdini Museum has had original posters of Magician Harry Blackston Jr from his triumphant and historic Broadway Show on sale but have taken them off the market for the time being out of respect to this fine artist.
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