Les Hunt

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Les Hunt

Cover of Genii (1947)
BornCharles Leslie Hunt
South Dakota

Flourished1920s-1950s

Leslie (Les) Hunt (fl. 1920s-1950s) and his wife Juliet (Julie) were both deaf magicians that toured the 50 states and Canada for more than 4 years with the USO camp shows in 1940s.

Biography

Through events that happened to them in their childhood, they both overcame their handicap to tour as a magic act for many years.

Leslie's parents moved to Los Angeles where he was being trained to be a cabinet maker, but his interest in magic found him mystifying teachers and classmates. His first performance was given when he was 15 and his first job after leaving high school was making spirit cabinets and other illusions for magicians until a more profitable job was offered with a show case and fixture company. However, his love of magic persisted and he gradually began to work small dates at suburban houses around Los Angeles.

Hunt performed silently and many magic magazines in the 1920s didn't even mention that he was deaf. In Magical Bulletin for June 1923, on which he was featured on the cover, stated within that "Every time he does a few of his feats, there are innumerable comments regarding his smoothness of performance and his grace of bearing" [1]

By 1924 he moved to San Francisco[2] and joined the SAM as member number 1224.[3] In the Sphinx for January 1927, Guy Newhard of the Los Angeles Society of Magicians reported that "Leslie Hunt, Cigarette King, Silent Deceptionist certainly has worked up a splendid silent act that moves along very smoothly. His cigarette manipulations are beautiful and he has enlarged on the cut and restored ribbon, using two attractive girl assistants. Leslie has been playing the West Coast houses around L. A. and doing fine."

During the Depression, with too many professional out of jobs for him to make a living in magic, he drove to Chicago and succeeded in getting for himself a small part in a show. Professional success starting to come after a venture to Brazil for ten weeks followed by a successful eight weeks engagement in Detroit.

Then a trip took him to Vancouver, Canada where he met his future wife, Juliet, a deaf girl who also liked magic. They started working together in Canada and then for three years they played U.S.O. Camp Shows and Hospitals.[4]

By the 1950s, they were performing Gospel Magic for leading Church Groups in the Seattle area.[5]

The visited the IBM Ring No. 55, Phoenix, Arizona (from California) in 1976.[6]

References

  1. (cover) Magical Bulletin, June 1923
  2. New Sphinx, November, 1924
  3. Sphinx January 1925
  4. Cover, Genii 1947 February
  5. MUM, SEPTEMBER. 1956
  6. Linking Ring, August 1976
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