Top positive review
Must Have Magic Bio
Reviewed in the United States on November 23, 2012
The world of magic is filled with unique individuals. Over the last 150 years there have been some amazing people with equally amazing stories. However, most of these folks never get their story told. The exception has been Houdini. He has been fortunate to have had more books written about him than any other magician dead or alive.
That trend seems to be changing. On June 1st, 2012 a new book debuted called The Amazing Harry Kellar Great American Magician by Gail Jarrow. This is the first biography about Kellar written for the general public. This book is published by Calkins Creek/Boyd Mill Press and is considered a children's book but frankly it's so well done it would appeal to people of any age interested in magic.
The Amazing Harry Kellar Great American Magician is 9 x11.5 in size and is 96 pages long. It's broken down into 12 chapters with several pages of references afterwards. Within the book you'll encounter 27 full color reproductions of some of Kellar's famous posters. There are also many other b/w photos of other magicians along with numerous sidebars which give the reader additional information to give a better understanding of the events at that time.
An interesting side note, the author of the book, Gail Jarrow, was introduced to the world of Harry Kellar by Lisa and Rich Gensheimer. They are the producers of a documentary on the life of Harry Kellar called "American Mystic: The Magical Life of Harry Kellar."
Mike Caveney and Bill Meisel, authors of the book KELLARS WONDERS were also helpful in the production of the book. And finally, a living relative of the Kellar family, Harry Kellar `Ted' Blakely, the great great nephew of Kellar, shared his insights with the author as well.
Harry Kellar was born in Erie Pennsylvania in 1849. He was the first child in his family to be born in America, the others had all been born in Germany. As a boy Harry had many odd jobs. At one point he was
apprenticed to a druggist in Erie until an accident happened that cut his new career short. Harry ran away from home after the accident. He eventually made his way to New York City. For a time he worked selling newspapers on street corners until he met a preacher who offered to take the boy in, give him a home to live in and teach him about the ministry. It would be a roof over his head and regular meals in his stomach so Harry took him up on the offer.
One day the boy and the preacher went to a magic show presented by an odd character who called himself The Fakir of Ava.
Harry was captivated by what he saw and his interest in the ministry soon changed to an interest in magic. He decided it was time to move on and as fate would have it, he soon applied for a job as a magicians assistant. It turned out the magician offering the job was the same man who had sparked his initial interest in magic to begin with, The Fakir of Ava. Harry got the job and the rest as they say, is history.
Actually, the rest is an amazing story that Gail Jarrow tells exceptionally well. She gives the reader all of the best stories from Kellar's life. When it's over you'll understand why many believe Harry Kellar was the inspiration for the character of the Wizard from the L.Frank Baum story, the
Wizard of OZ.
Harry Kellar retired from the stage in 1908 and passed his mantel of magic to illusionist Howard Thurston thus beginning what we know of today as the Royal Dynasty of Magic. The entire line was: Kellar, Thurston, Dante, Lee Grabel and Lance Burton.
Shortly after his retirement, Kellar became friends with Harry Houdini. Their friendship continued to grow over the years and Kellar thought of Houdini as a son he never had.
Houdini did not always get along with other magicians, but of Kellar he said "He is Our Greatest American Magician."
The Amazing Harry Kellar Great American Magician is a must have book for any magician or person interested in magic.