Memorabilia from a unique Atlanta institution will go up for auction on May 22nd. In the 1970s and 80’s, The Tom-Foolery was a haven for celebrities, magicians, and fun-seekers of every description. It’s proprietor, Tom Mullica, performed behind the bar nightly, and developed a legendary reputation as a world-class clown, comic, and magician.
Among Mullica’s most famous routines were his “Nicotine Nincompoop” act, in which he ate an entire pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes – while they were still lit. The routine brought thousands of patrons to the Tom-Foolery bar, and put Mullica on dozens of international TV shows, among them Late Night with David Letterman.
Now memorabilia from the Tom-Foolery will go up for sale on May 22nd at Potter & Potter Auctions in Chicago.
The sale will include the cigarette cases and tricks Mullica used night after night, as well as many of the framed photos, posters, and souvenirs from the walls of the bar, and his personal library of books on magic tricks. Among these is his own copy of The Encyclopedia of Cigarette Tricks (est. $300/$500), the book from which he learned many of his greatest tricks.
The auction will also feature vintage magic tricks, illusions and apparatus from other consignors. Among them are antique trunks and illusions from the Will Rock/Thurston illusion show which toured America in the 1930s and 40s. One such item is the “Glass Lined Trunk” used by Rock. After showing the trunk empty and lining its interior with sheets of glass, a girl appeared inside. The trunk (which carries a pre-auction estimate of $700/$1,000), is still in the bright orange packing crate Rock used, its lid emblazoned with the words “Will Rock/Thurston Show.”
Another highlight is a pair of handcuffs owned by the best-known magician of all time, Harry Houdini. The set of “Bean Cobb” cuffs carries a pre-sale estimate of $3,000/$4,000.
Other magic props in the auction include an elaborate Vanishing and Appearing Lamp set, stainless steel and Lucite props manufactured by Merv Taylor (who also operated one of the first concessions at Disneyland), and “devices of wonder” built by many well-known American craftsmen.
Rounding out the auction is an assortment of collectible books, stone lithographs (posters), and ephemera.
An illustrated catalog will be available from the auction house. Live internet bidding will be hosted by Liveauctioneers.com.
For more information, contact:
Potter & Potter Auctions, Inc.
3729 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60613