Harry Blackstone, Jr.
|Harry Blackstone, Jr.|
Blackstone in 1976.
|Born||Harry Blackstone, Jr.
June 30, 1934
Three Rivers, Michigan, USA
|Died||May 14, 1997
Loma Linda, California
Cause of death
|Predecessor||Harry Blackstone, Sr.|
Blackstone was born Harry Bouton Blackstone Jr. in Three Rivers, Michigan, the son of noted stage magician Harry Bouton Blackstone, Sr. (also known as "The Great Blackstone"). As an infant, he was used as a prop in his father's act.
Rather than utilize the routines his father developed, Blackstone developed his own and modernized his performance, though onstage he would, on occasion, perform a sequence of his father's illusions in a period setting.
Harry Blackstone, Jr. created four magic kits, from beginner to advanced, which were the best selling of all time. In the early 1970s, he promoted a "PF Magic Wedge Kit" on a television commercial for PF Flyers sneakers, and he appeared on several commercials for Jiffy Pop popcorn.
In 1985, on the 100th anniversary of his father's birth, Harry Blackstone, Jr. donated to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. the original floating light bulb — designed and built by Thomas Edison — and the original Casadega Cabinet, used in the "Dancing Handkerchief" illusion. This was the first ever donation accepted by the Smithsonian in the field of magic.
He appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show, Donahue, The Today Show, Reading Rainbow and The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. He also made occasional appearances as the mysterious Dr. Mephisto on the TV soap opera Santa Barbara. Of his several TV specials's the PBS 2 hour special was unique due to the intros by Waldo and Emerson of the Muppets. Blackstone's PBS's Square One TV, where he used magic tricks to teach mathematics to young people was a favorite of his. His recurring segment was known as "Backstage with Blackstone."
He also designed the illusions used on SeaWorld's water show featuring the DC Comics super heroes. They included The Joker cutting Batgirl up into multiple pieces, a variation of a classic multi-box illusion, and the first use in many years of the Jarrett pedestal to vanish Wonder Woman.
He and his wife Gay created and produced the special effects for "The Magic Summer Tour" for New Kids on The Block, as well as their " The No More Games Tour". He also did special effects for Alice Cooper, Michael Jackson " "The Victory Tour", Earth, Wind and Fire, and Jane's Addiction with Perry Farrell.
During his career, Blackstone toured extensively across the U.S. Notably, his Magnificent Musical Magic Show played in 156 cities across the U.S. and ultimately opened on Broadway in May 1980, where it played 118 performances.
Death and legacy
Blackstone lived in Redlands, California for many years. He died May 14, 1997 in Loma Linda, California at the age of 62 due to pancreatic cancer. After his death, much of his performance equipment was sold off in two highly publicized auctions held by Sotheby's and Darien Julian. Many of the pieces went to collectors, scattered across the world and numerous of the props have made it into actual shows. Las Vegas performer Scarlett now owns and uses his Topsy Turvy. David Copperfield houses the Tire Vanish (performed by Harry Blackstone, Sr) in his world famous museum of magic. Touring illusionist Aaron Balcom now uses the Owen-built Clown Jammer. Washington state performer John Walton uses his menacing Buzz Saw. Dutch illusionist Hans Klok and Darren Romeo perform the famous "Blackstone Floating Light Bulb" illusion under a licensing agreement with Blackstone Magik Enterprises Inc. It is one of only two magic illusions to have Intellectual Properties.
- Blackstone, Harry, Jr., and Charles Reynolds and Regina Reynolds. The Blackstone Book of Magic and Illusion (1995) 248 pages. ISBN 1-55704-177-6; ISBN 978-1-55704-177-7. (New York: Newmarket Press, 2002). ISBN 1-55704-492-9
- Blackstone, Harry, Jr. There's One Born Every Minute (Los Angeles, Ca, U. S. A.: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc, 1976. Softcover. ISBN 0-87477-329-6, ISBN 0-87477-056-4.
- Blackstone, Harry, Jr. My Life As A Magician Paperback (Aladdin: 1992-05-01) ISBN 0-671-64436-X ISBN 9780671644369.
- He also re-edited his father's Blackstone's Secrets of Magic. Paperback ISBN 0-87980-260-X ISBN 978-0879802608 
- Barry Bearak (May 16, 1997). "Harry Blackstone Jr., 62, Master of the Magic Arts, Dies". The New York Times.
- Blackstone, Harry. My Life As A Magician. Minstrel Books (Pocket Books), 1992, p. 27.
- Houdini.org on Blackstone, Jr.
- Harry Blackstone Jr. donates Harry Blackstone Sr. illusions to Smithsonian.
- Find a Grave, Harry Blackstone, Jr.
- "Contemporary Magic Posters". M-U-M 92 (7). December 2002.
- Weatherford, Mike. "Award too late to help magician Hans Klok". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- Blackstone Magik, Inc., History of the Blackstones.
- "Harry Blackstone, Jr". Magician, Educator, and Author. Find a Grave. May 24, 2001. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
- Magic Web Channel, Magicians' Hall of Fame, Harry Blackstone, Jr.
- Youtube, Harry Blackstone Jr. performance.