Friday, February 25, 2011

Hat Trick - Three Goals or One Rabbit

A friend asked me who invented the trick of pulling a rabbit from a hat after the Pixar cartoon post. Though it was probably first performed by Louis Comte in the earliest part of the 19th century, it was certainly perfected and popularized by John Henry Anderson, a.k.a. The Great Wizard of the North.

Anderson (1814–1874) was a Scottish magician and a contemporary of Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin and the Great Herrmann. He's credited with being one of the first magicians to move performance conjuring from the streets into theaters early in his career. He was also one of (if not) the first magicians to publicly expose the Spiritualist movement and the Davenport Brothers as a hoax.

Harry Houdini was born the same year that Anderson died, 1874. In 1909, Houdini made arrangements for the upkeep of Anderson's gravesite in Aberdeen, citing him as a major inspiration.

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