When I was growing up in the mid-50's, stage magic was still popular. Famous magicians of the day would occasionally appear at the Lyric Theater (Symphony Hall). Local magicians were popular for entertainment at parties. Allentown always had at least one magic shop, back then Beehrle's on N. 9th St. was the local favorite. The valley chapter of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, Ring 32, dates back to the early 1930's. The Brotherhood now numbers over 300 chapters worldwide. Up till about 15 years ago, the local chapter would have a show and dealer convention each year in May. As special effects in movies and television evolved, the wonder of performing illusions, and it's popularity diminished; For a while, until Las Vegas once again put magic center stage. I've always been in awe of the performer posters from the early 1920's, lithography at it's best. They were meant to be exotic, to mystify, to be magic.
reprinted from December of 2008