Dr. Jaks

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Dr. Jaks

Cover of Genii (1949)
BornHerbert Siegbert Jaks
July 26, 1903
Germany
DiedJanuary 5, 1960 (age 56)
New York
Resting placeCremated ashes sent to Germany.

Dr. Stanley Jaks (1903-1960) performed close-up magic as "Jack Stanley" for international figures such as the King of Yugoslavia and then as "Dr. Jaks" when he came to America.

Biography

Born in Germany but grew up in Switzerland[1], Jaks saw Okito at the age of 15 which sparked his fascination with magic. He went to school to become an illustrator, before deciding to try his luck performing magic for a living. In his early 1930s, he performed with a partner, Jolowitz, in a comedy magic act billed as Jax and Jax.

In 1934, still living in Switzerland , he was performing his close-up magic as "Jack Stanley" for international figures such as the King of Yugoslavia.

For many years Jaks corresponded with Ted Annemann, sending him material for his magazine The Jinx. Ted added the "Doctor" to his name and printed the effects under the name "Dr. Jaks." When Jaks came to America, his agent suggested he be booked under that name.

He carried his magic props in a big red leather book that he called "The Book of Mystery". The front contained pages of autographs of famous people for whom he has performed. After these pages, it contained compartments from which he removed his props for his routines. He also used the book as a close-up mat (the back side being black).

Jaks' close-up case shaped like a book (and much of its contents) is currently in the collection of Ken Klosterman. The case is photographed and described in Ken's book Salon de Magie.

Dr. Jaks first tried to come to the United States in 1938 in hopes of a new market for his talents with the help of his friend Max Holden. But World War II made the trip impossible. It was not until after the war in September of 1946 that he was able to finally secure a visa. In November, 1946, Dr. Jaks gave a command performance for President Harry Truman. Jaks became an American citizen in 1951.

Dr. Jaks spoke German and French fluently and occasionally would grope for words when speaking English, "How is it you say it?"

Eventually he started performing mentalism routines and put together his "Curiosities of the Mind" act which he performed at supper clubs with success. His biggest feature was the blindfolded duplication of anyone's signature, while writing upside down and backwards.

He was a contributor to many magic magazines and illustrated several books, including One Man Mental Magic, Conjuring With Christopher and Bruce Elliott's Classic Secrets of Magic.

From time to time he appeared on television, his last performance being on "To Tell the Truth" as one of the three men from whom the panel had to chose the real "Yousuf Karsch", the noted Canadian photographer.[2]

He died of a sudden heart attack in his apartment in New York. He was cremated and his ashes were sent to his native Germany.

Robert Bluemle has been in the process of writing an biography about Dr. Jaks for a number of years.

Books

  • "Dr. Stanley-Jaks und seine Geheimnisse" (German) (Dr. Stanley-Jaks and his Secrets )
  • "Die mentalmagischen Experimente des Dr. Stanley Jaks" Volume 1 and Volume 2 (German)
  • The Incredible Dr. Stanley Jaks by Gen Grant & Sid Lorraine
  • The Incredible Dr. Jaks (audiorecording) by Stanley Jaks & Sid Lorraine

References

  1. Abra, January 16, 1960 (Vol. 29. No. 729)
  2. Hugard's Magic Monthly (January 1960)
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