Colleen Moore on Magic in Hollywood


Magic — one of filmland’s chief sources of pastime


Colleen Moore


The Magic Castle, located at 7001 Franklin Avenue at the foot of the Hollywood Hills, is currently observing the centennial of it’s headquarters which was built by banker Rollin B. Lane in 1909. To celebrate, over the next couple of weeks I will post a biography of Lane and the history of the mansion and articles on magic and magicians in Hollywood. Today is a commentary by film star, Colleen Moore that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on November 27, 1927.


By Colleen Moore
Los Angeles Times
November 27, 1927


I never realized until I became interested in the art of magic how many other persons in the screen world are also fond of sleight of hand. I supposee it remains one of the most fascinating hobbies in existence and once you become more or less familiar with it you realize what a widespread thing it is.


I heard the other day that the Prince of Wales is intrigued by it. When he was in Canada not long ago (Max) Malini, the well-known magician, was in his party. Royalty has always been prominent among the devotees of legerdemain.


Int'l Brotherhood of Magicians


I wonder how many know that  there are a number of magazines devoted to magic? There is one magazine called the Sphinx which seems to be read by magicians everywhere. The Linking Ring is another. In England the Magic Wand and the Magician lead the field. In these, new tricks are described and the activities of magical societies are announced.


Everywhere there are organizations of magicians. The Society of American Magicians, of which the late Houdini was president, has a membership of 1,500, with branches in all the big cities. The International Brotherhood of Magicians also has a large membership. There are two societies right in Los Angeles — the Los Angeles Society of Magicians and the Hollywood Mystic 27.


I have discovered that among others Harold Lloyd, Neil Hamilton, Raymond McKee, King Vidor, T. Roy Barnes and Burr McIntosh are interested in the practice of conjuring.


Colleen Moore


I am told that throughout the world there are great magical repositories where the apparatus is manufactured and sold. There is one in Los Angeles that turns out beautiful illusions, as well as smaller tricks and it is like an Aladdin’s palace of wonder.


For the person who does not boast some other accomplishment, such as singing or instrumental music, magic is a wonderful form of social entertainment. Nearly everyone enjoys books on the subject and I can assure you that there is a lot of psychology involved. One’s wits are increased and observation developed. I am sure a great magician is a wonderful psychologist.


I wonder how many outside the art realize that one of the world’s greatest magicians lived and died in Los Angeles. I refer to Harry Kellar, known as the dean of American magicians. For years he was one of the foremost exponents of the art, a rival of the late Alexander Herrmann and succeeded by Thurston.




I don’t expect to become a profound student, but I do find a lot of relaxation and amusement in the art, which has as one of its slogans, “The closer you watch the less you see.”



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2 Responses to “Colleen Moore on Magic in Hollywood”

  1. Lisa Cousins says:

    I posted this link to two magic chat-board sites. Magicians LOVE it when famous people from other walks of life practice the art of magic as a hobby, and Colleen Moore is a name I’ve never seen mentioned on any of the usual “lists” of such luminaries (although Harold Lloyd is a very well-known practitioner). I REALLY appreciate you finding and sharing this information, not only because of the Colleen Moore insight, but because I previously had NO IDEA that magic was “one of filmland’s chief sources of pastime” – I was under the mistaken impression that it was murder and scandal. I was clearly reading the wrong articles, and am glad to know the truth at last.
    Thanks Lisa. – Allan

  2. d.w. says:

    I agree Allan, Magic is awesome. I love reading about Houdini. Thanks for this article…

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