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George Johnstone

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George Johnstone
BornGeorge John Johnston
April 5, 1919
Dedham, Massachusetts, near Boston
DiedAugust 5, 2004 (age 85)
Bumsville, Minnesota

George Johnstone (1919-2004) was a magician, entertainer, book collector and painter.


He started out in magic as a leading assistant in Blackstone Sr. magic show from 1939 until he got drafted in World War II in 1943. He met and married his wife Betty while they were both assistants on the Blackstone show. They were married April 1, 1941, after the evening performance at the Palace Theater in Cleveland, Ohio, with Blackstone as the best man.

Following World War II, they left the Blackstone show and struck out on their own. They designed a silent act suitable for nightclubs. George, after discovering he could do comedy, developed a comic sequence of burlesque magic.

The couple appeared several times on Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town, opened for Elvis Presley, worked the Palace Theater in New York, and played the Chez Paree in Chicago.

In 1970, Betty retired from the act and George continued as a single as the couple lived in the Chicago area.

In later years when George began to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease they moved to Burnsville, Minnesota.[1][2]

The Magic Collectors’ Association honored him at their Magic Collectors' Weekend in 1989.[3]

Note: Johnston added an "e" to his last name, therefore often still spelled "Johnston" in periodicals.


  • JOHNSTONE GIMMAC AGAIN (long been out-of-print, never reprinted)
  • Horizons in Magic (1943)


  1. Magician, page 64
    • The Linking Ring, Vol. 84, No. 10, October 2004, Obituary George Johnstone 1918-2004, page 61, GEORGE JOHNSTONE, page 139
  2. MUM, DECEMBER 2012
  3. Magicol No. 153, November 2004
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 39, No. 2, April 1959, GEORGE JOHNSTONE & BETTY, AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOTES, page 73
  • M-U-M, Vol. 74, No. 10, March 1985, GEORGE JOHNSTONE MAGICIAN OF THE MONTH by Robert Parrish, page 10, WILL THE REAL GEORGE JOHNSTONE PLEASE STAND UP! by Jay Marshall, page 12
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 72, No.2, February 1992, Memoirs of a Magician's Ghost, George Johnstone: The Trail of a Funnyman, page 65
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 72, No. 3, March 1992, Memoirs of a Magician's Ghost, (Continued) The Evolution of a Comedy
  • - VOLUME: 80 / ISSUE: 2,110 Sunday - August 15, 2004