“Sphinx Legacy” 編纂記 第16回



出典:”Sphinx”,1915年9月号 執筆者: Saram R. Ellison

Another landmark in magic has passed into the great beyond. On August 27th, Mr. H. J. Burlingame, at Syracuse, Ind., suddenly died. Burlingame was at one time the most prominent dealer in magic in this country. His knowledge of the art and his literary ability made him a prominent figure in magic. Mr. Burlingame was the author of several very valuable works in magic which are still in constant demand though out of print. I knew the deceased very well, had been entertained at his home in Chicago many times and always found both pleasure and profit in my connection with him. Prof. F. E. Powell was with Mr. Burlingame at the time of his death and has promised me an outline of his career in magic for the October Sphinx.

重要な著書とは、1891年に発行された、”Leaves from Conjurer’s Scrap Books”というもので、イリュージョンについての歴史的なことがよく書かれています。その中で、Bautier De Koltaの考案だとばかり思っていた、’Vanishing Lady’が彼の考案ではなく、彼がペルシャの製作者から購入したものだと書かれています。一部を引用します。

Buatier, the first person who introduced the vanishing lady, undoubtedly performed it better than any other person. He has been credited as being the inventor of the trick, but we learn on very good authority that this statement is not borne out by the facts. Diligent inquiry shows that he purchased it from a poor Parisian mechanic at a ridiculously low price, the inventor being compelled to sell it to get food to keep himself and family alive.

This is only another instance where management and skill have taken all credit awav from the inventor, something very common in the magical business. Mr. Maskelyne, in introducing Prof. Buatier to his London audiences, made the remark that the trick was very common in the hands of all classes of professionals, but that instead of being vanished by them she was simply murdered. This was very true, because not over half a dozen professionals did the trick as it should have been done, and there were hundreds who attempted it.

The vanishing lady was first introduced in this country by Professor Adolph Seeman, son of therenowned Professor, Baron Hartwig Seeman. He produced it twice each evening at two theatres in Chicago, and made quite a success with it.

この文章の中で、 “instead of being vanished by them she was simply murdered”という部分は、私にはよく理解できません。もしかすると、De Kolta以外の多くのマジシャンのやったやり方が優れていないので、このイリュージョンの良さが殺された、というニュアンスなのかもしれません。

続いて書かれている話は、’Vanishing Lady’にまつわる、強烈な笑い話であり、悲惨な事故の話でもあります。

An amusing occurrence took place at the town hall, in Longton, England, where the conjurer, Mr. Dexter, was exhibiting it. The vanishing lady was advertised to disappear at ten o’clock. At nine fiftyfive, as Dexter was crossing the stage, he suddenly disappeared. By mistake he stepped on the trap prepared for the vanishing lady. When ten o’clock came, the spectators ceased to wonder how it was done.

演じ方についても、De Koltaのようなストレートな見せ方ではなく、演出の凝ったやり方も書かれているので、ショーの構成の仕方として大変参考になります。同書は、以下のアドレスでダウンロードできます。


“Sphinx”,1915年10月号を見たら、表紙にBurlingameの写真が掲載されていました。死亡記事が現れたつぎの号に掲載され、Eugene Laurantの思い出話も書かれていますから、それだけ当時の重要な存在だったのだと思われます。Laurantの記事はマジックに関係ない話が多いので、”Linking Ring”,1979年9月号の中にそれより面白い記事がありましたので、そちらの方を収録することにいたしました。

“Sphinx Legacy”ではこのあと、”Linking Ring”からの引用が続きます。