Nate Leipzig (1873- 1939) was one of the early pioneers of performing simple straight forward magic with normal objects and passing on the use of fancy boxes and gadgetry. His work influenced people like Dai Vernon, Roy Benson, and John Scarne.
May 31, 1873
|Died||October 13, 1939 (age 66) |
In the late 1800's Nate Leipziger saw a magician at a child's party and wanted to learn more about magic. He learned his craft from books and had the belief that magicians were supposed to develop their own techniques. So rather than perform the effects he learned from magic books he developed his own methods. Because of this, Nate Leipzig was amazing both lay audiences as well as magicians. One of his early creations was the Coin Roll, where a coin rolls over the back of the fingers. Nate's original version however had the coin not only rolling over the backs of the fingers, but the hand would be turned over and the coin would continue to roll on the palm up fingers as well.
Around 1901 Nate left his job as an optician and went into a partnership with William and Felix Berol, who made rag pictures on a large easel. For a time he was known as "Nate Berol". This was not a magic act however and lasted for only two years. After this time, Nate got his own break into Vaudeville by filling in for magician Warren Keane at Proctors in New York. Audiences and agents were so impressed after his two days at Proctors that the famous agent William Morris arranged a tour for Nate to work the entire Keith Vaudeville Circuit.
It wasn't long before overseas contracts were coming in and Nate Leipzig would travel the globe with his act of sleight of hand magic and manipulation. When he went to Europe in 1906 he added technology to spice up his already amazing act. He used a Vitascope, which was an early movie projector to project a film on a screen of his hands presenting intricate manipulations. In this way, his audiences could see on a grand scale the amazing magic that came from his hands. One of the key moments on the film was when Leipzig demonstrated a move that he created, the coin roll over the fingers. No known copy of that film is known to exist today.
His stage act consisted of manipulation with Thimbles, Balls and Cards. He also presented card tricks like the Rising Cards. In addition, Nate presented magic with knives, canes, cigars, his Vest and other common and everyday objects. He was not a comedic performer but rather a gentlemen who presented magic to mystify his audience. His career lasted over 30 years. He died from cancer in 1939.
- Thanks to Leipzig ! written by Victor Farelli (1948)
- Dai Vernon's Tribute to Nate Leipzig written by Lewis Ganson (1963)
- Roy Benson by Starlight written by Levent and Todd Karr