Charles Carter and the Golden Age of Magic This Week at LiveAuctionTalk.com Rosemary McKittrick is a storyteller. She focuses on the history behind the stuff. Visit the site. Sign up for a free weekly subscription.
News-Antique.com - Mar 03,2011 - As a magician, Charles Carter was the spark behind the flame. He brought magic to life on stage and made his illusions seem so real.
You might find Carter sawing a woman in half, cheating the gallows by escaping from the hangman's noose, or performing the Lion's Bride, where he transformed a live lion into a magician and then made him reappear again in a cage.
As if watching Carter drop and vanish through a trap door wasn’t enough, he had nurses standing by for dramatic effect as he sawed his women in half. Cards torn up and put together again, handkerchiefs flying from bottle to bottle, he skillfully weaved reality with fantasy.
Carter was working in the 1920s during the Golden Age of Magic. It was the Roaring Twenties and people were mesmerized with all things magic. Not just tricks.
He traveled the world at least seven times with 50 red trunks filled with tons of magic illusions and apparatus. Some say he was a better illusionist than Houdini.
Carter is well known for his publicity material, especially his lithographed posters which are collectible today. The large 1920s posters full of detail, color and drama were printed in multiple panels because of printing limitations of the time. Four separate sheets for a poster were not uncommon.
On Oct. 23, Potter & Potter Auctions in Chicago featured the magic collection of Herb Zarrow on the block. Zarrow was an amateur magician. Featured in the auction were several Carter the Great posters.
A color lithographed poster of Carter impersonating the great Chinese magicians; circa 1926; 40 inches by 80 inches; sold for $9,000.
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