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Doc Nixon

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For the dentist and builder of automatons, see Dr. Cecil E. Nixon (1874-1962).
Doc Nixon
BornWilliam John Nixon
Brooklyn, New York
DiedDecember 13, 1945
New York City
Resting placeIn an unmarked grave in Brooklyn
CategoriesBooks by Doc Nixon

Doc Nixon (1884-1945) was a magic inventor, builder, writer, and performer who started out in vaudeville in the 1890s.


Nixon a feature vaudeville performer whose "Where Do the Ducks Go?" routine, Checker Cabinet, Spirit Paintings routines became standards of their day.

By 1900, he may have been operating the Jaynix Amusement Company (named for his middle initial "J" and "Nix" from "Nixon").

No one knows what happened to Doc Nixon after he was last sited some time around 1940. One story was that he had joined a religious order and retired to a monastery. Todd Karr has been researching and thinks he might know what happened.

Valadon’s Show and Shanghai Mysteries

By 1906, he had become a professional magician, touring South America with a show heavily based on Valadon's show.

In 1909, he traded his home in Brooklyn, NY to Okito in exchange for Okito's stage show.

He performed the Oriental show (called "Hong Kong Mysteries") under many names: "Neek Suen", "Neek Seun", "Ling Chan Yuen", "Dr. Omar", "Will Savant", "Willie Foo Lee", "Yuen Chan Foo", "Chan Omar", "Nixon-Okito", "Chang Foo Yuen", "Wjaynx", "Chanamar", "The Great Nixon", "Savant, the Japanese Magician", "Savant Nixon" and even "Chandu". He was very litigious, threatening suits against Count Beaumont (for stealing equipment), Henry Clive (for stealing his Spirit Painting act) and even Okito (for attempting to steal the "secret" of the Where Do the Ducks Go trick). Ironically, Where Do the Ducks Go was actually invented by Servais LeRoy, and first performed by Dante.

In 1922, Nixon sold the equipment and rights to "Hong Kong Mysteries" to Grover George. In 1924, Doc Nixon left magic to pursue a career in Radio, which apparently was short-lived. By 1927, despite having sold the rights and equipment of "Hong Kong Mysteries" to Grover George, he was back performing magic, this time under the title "Shanghai Mysteries".

Vanished from the magical stage

In 1939, Nixon suddenly "vanished" from the magical stage. In 1940 Annemann wrote, "Doc Nixon is not dead. Those ‘suicide’ cards that he sent to many of his old friends didn’t make a Merry Xmas for anyone. For him, if he wanted to go, nor for his enemies when he didn’t. His friends were worried." (Jinx #89, page 562, 1940)

Persistent rumors that he had abandoned all to become a Tibetan monk were never proven.


Nixon was providing game machines at the Pan American Exposition. When President McKinley was assassinated at the fair, Nixon was the second on the scene to assist the fatally wounded President. Supposedly he was an agent of The Seven Circle, a secret organization involved in the attempt of trying to protect the American president of the plot for his murder.