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Omaha Magical Society

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Omaha Magical Society is assembly No. 7 of the Society of American Magicians in Omaha, Nebraska.[1]

They held their first meeting on January 27, 1921 at the Omaha YMCA. Their official SAM Charter was issued the following August with 17 names listed as charter members.[2] The following names were listed in M-U-M announcing the birth of the Omaha Assembly: Cyrus R. Bowman (who served as president 1921-1927), Talmage G. Beebe (president from 1928-1931), Herbert W. Fischer (president from 1932-1944), Ronald P. Bleau, Floyd E. Brown, Joseph P. Kirsch, Wallace B. Whitehead, Carl G. Nordin, John Keenan, David P. Abbott, Alfred Christensen, Wm. R. Huntington, Albert A. Schrempp, Howard Huntington.

Early meetings were held at various members' houses until an expanded membership the early 1970's required a larger facility. The club then starting meeting at a local church.

John Keenan (?-1961) would become secretary of the society in August of 1935, which he held for the next 20 years. Keenan willed $500 to the society to establish a magic club library. Then in 1993 the library of Bill Ilson (1929-1988) was added to the collection of books to bring their library to nearly 1,000 books.

The first Omaha Magical Society Conclave was held in September 1941 at the Paxton Hotel. More than 100 attended, with Joe Berg as a dealer and Dorny as the MC for the Headliner Show.

In May 1958, when Milbourne Christopher was the S.A.M. national president, the city of Omaha hosted the National Convention at the Fontenelle Hotel. An appearance was made by John Shirley (1917-1993) with his balloon act that brought him national attention.[3]

Prominent members

Prominent members of Assembly #7 have included:

  • David P. Abbott (1863-1934), a magician, author and inventor, was a founding member of the Omaha Magical Society.
  • Rev. Charles K. Hayden, S.J. (1894-1954), a Jesuit Priest who taught physics at Omaha's Creighton University, was a craftsman of a variety of magic equipment.
  • Roy Tatroe (1902-1965), build many mechanical Christmas window displays for local department stores and made a variety of magical devices and tables. .
  • Floyd E. Brown (1902-1981), the first Secretary of the Omaha Magical Society and an active as a performer under the stage name of "Mirza".
  • Herbert W. Fischer (1904-1948), a prominent Omaha Attorney who served 12 consecutive years as president from 1932- 1944. The magic rec room in his home was decorated in Egyptian decor and a frequent meeting place for the society.
  • Howard Huntington (1905-1991), son of magician Will Huntington(?-c.1949), became a professional magician performing for school assemblies, county fairs and farm implement dealer entertainments in the Midwest.
  • Rev. John W. Kelly (1915-2007), who served as national chaplain for several terms in the 1950s and 1960's.
  • Howard Westgate (b.1921), as a teenager constructed magical effects in his basement workshop and invented the Westgate Bowl Production.
  • Walter B. Graham (b. 1923), became an SAM member in 1942.
  • Johnny Carson, (1925-2005), attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and was a member of Assembly No. 7 for several years prior to his departure to California in 1951.
  • Larry Brodahl (b.1954),From South Dakota by birth, Larry pioneered close up restaurant magic in the Omaha area in the 1970's. He wrote a booklet called "Coffee, Tea, or Magic" giving tips and hints to fellow magicians. He invented Brodys' Choker, BIM, Solution 6 and other tricks of the platform nature.
  • Pat Hazel (b.1961), billed himself as "Magic, Comedy, Wisecracks", at his farewell Omaha appearance in 1985. He went on to become a well known as a comedy show writer (one of the original writers for the Seinfeld show), actor, and as a warm-up act for comedian Jerry Seinfeld.


References

  1. OMAHA MAGICAL ORGANIZED by Floyd E. Brown, Sec. Pro Tern, Sphinx, February, 1921
  2. THE OMAHA MAGICAL SOCIETY, Assembly No. 7, An Historical Perspective: 1921-1996 by Walter B. Graham , MUM, March MARCH 1996
  3. http://omahamagicalsociety.com/forumBoards/index.php?topic=41.0