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Doc Irving

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Doc Irving
BornIrving Papkin
May 20, 1900
Kiev, Russia
DiedMarch 13, 1978 (age 77)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Doc Irving (1900-1978) was a mentalist playing many top theaters around the United States with his wife as "Princess Yvonne".


A Russian Jew who immigrated to the States in 1905, he developed an early interest in magic learning magic from Coney Island magician Hal Usher.

By the age of 15 he was an assistant to Ching Ling Foo. Not long after that he took his own show to carnivals and circuses as "Hindu Rama, boy magician."

In 1921, he met Mary Ellen Norris who he taught his mind-reading system and she became "Princess Yvonne", The Oriental Enigma. The two were married shortly thereafter and by the late 1920s were playing many top theaters around the country.

Their daughter, Baby Yvonne, learned her parents' code simply by watching them. Once this was discovered she became part of the act at five years old being billed as the "World's Youngest Mental Marvel."

Princess Yvonne wrote a newspaper column and predicted coming events. She offered $200 to anyone if she could not "telepathically" receive that person's name on stage.

As vaudeville faded, they pitch their horoscope books on the Million Dollar Pier, in Atlantic City for many years. At one point the Irvings teamed up with Hardeen in the official "Houdini Show," which was managed by Doc. Hardeen did Houdini's escapes and Yvonne read minds.

By the late forties the Irvings were performing at parties, carnivals, casino nights and social affairs, often for children or family audiences. Doc's magic words which made many a child laugh was "Hotcha Motcha."

Princess Yvonne died in 1989 and Baby Yvonne in 1996.[1]


  1. M-U-M, Vol. 94, No. 3, August 2004, The 1931 Magician - Mentalist War, by Diego Domingo, page 22, Afterwords, Doc Irving and Princess Yvonne, by David Goodsell, page 29
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 58, No. 6, June 1978, Broken Wand, Irving Papkin, page 105