|Born||George H. Buyken|
November 11, 1896
|Died||September 21, 1988 (age 91) |
George Buyken (1896-1988) was a noted amateur magician who performed in the Pacific Northwest for nearly 70 years.
Early Years and Business
Born November 11, 1896 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Buyken moved to Seattle, Washington with his family in 1905. His interest in magic developed at an early age, as did his mechanical skills, which allowed him to build his own original props.
He started the Western Toy and Manufacturing Company during World War I, manufacturing lead soldiers, which were a popular toy at the time. An accomplished machinist and metal worker, together with his brother Frank (1906-1974) they later founded Buyken Machine Works in Seattle in 1939. The brothers held several U.S. patents for metal parts and machine tools. The company is still in business today as Buyken Metal Products in Kent, Washington (www.Buyken.com)
A talented musician, George played trombone in many dance bands during the height of the jazz age, the 1920's. He maintained a love of jazz music throughout his life and amassed a collection of hundreds of early 78 rpm jazz records.
But his first love always remained magic. He developed a comedy magic act with burlesque gags and zany props of his own creation that was featured at many magic conventions from the 1940's through 1980's. He was most famous for his act as a "Magigal" dressed in drag a pink ballet tutu (with black socks and oxford shoes!) Resembling actor, Ray Bolger, Buyken's dry, humorous delivery and baleful look always garnered great laughs from the audience.
George served as President of the Seattle Magic Ring (IBM Ring #52) in 1965, and held most every office in the club during the 1950's and 60's. Buyken was an active performer at club shows and meetings. He was a charter member of Jean Foley Seattle Assembly #43 of the Society of American Magicians. A lifelong member of the Masonic Order, Buyken was also a Shriner and Shrine Clown, performing hundreds of benefit shows for hospitalized and underprivileged children throughout his life.
Buyken was married twice: first to Breneze Buyken, and following her death, Marion Buyken. Buyken lived in a home that he built in 1950 at 5919 SW Beach Drive, overlooking Seattle's Puget Sound. The basement was filled with memorabilia and props from his years around magic and music. Buyken died at age 91; September 21, 1988, at his home.
- Genii Magazine, Vol. 51, No. 12, June 1988, Obituary George Buyken, page 755
- The Linking Ring, Vol. 68, No. 12, December 1988, Broken Wand, GEORGE H. BUYKEN, page 113
- M-U-M, Vol. 78, No. 7, December 1988, BROKEN WANDS, GEORGE BUYKEN, page 33