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Frank Van Hoven

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Frank Van Hoven
BornFrank Raymond Van Hoven
February 05, 1886
Sioux City, Iowa
DiedJanuary 11, 1929 (age 42)
Birmingham, England

Frank Raymond Van Hoven (1886-1929) worked his way to top billing on the United States vaudeville circuit after developing a comedy routine, consisting mostly of gags.


His uncle by marriage was Paul Kleist, a black art performer who toured in Thurston's show. Early in his career he was an assistant to Kleist and in 1904 to Roland Travers.

Van Hoven first set out to become a juggler. On seeing him practice, Harry Jansen (later becoming Dante) advised him to take up magic instead. Not faring well at being a traditional serious performer, he transformed his magic act into a comedy routine where nothing went right.

Van Hoven was billed as the "Mad Magician" and "The Man Who Made Ice Famous", with a routine that would have a "volunteer" from the audience holding a large block of ice during his act while he kept trying to make a borrowed handkerchief appear inside it.

Van died of pneumonia on his second tour of England. Dell O'Dell did his act for a few years.