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Spook shows

From Magicpedia, the free online encyclopedia for magicians by magicians.
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Spook shows were live magic shows, most notably around Halloween time, during the 1930's through 1960's that would play movie houses in small towns.

Most used old live theater special effects and various magic techniques that provided an eerie experience for those who attended. Also calling themselves "Midnight Horror Shows" when blood and more gory effects were used on stage to keep up with those who needed more shocking images to be scared.

Francisco was one of the first of the ghost show craze to have success. He also was one of the few to keep it relatively free of the gore and sexuality others started using later. He performed the floating table, mind-reading tricks and the spirit cabinet.

Bill Neff performed as Dr. Neff from 1945 to 1952 with his "Madhouse of Mystery" show in which he would close his spook show by wishing the crowd "Pleasant nightmares." Neff-Madhouse-02-w-tn.png Neff-Madhouse-01-w-tn.png

Kara Kum (Wladyslaw Michaluk) who was notorious for creating posters using overt sexuality with his staff of scantily-clad women assistants. He usually played up the gore which included decapitations and elements of cannibalism.

Another ghost show ringmaster was Philip Morris, one of the last to present shows in the golden era up to the 1960's featured lots of publicity stunts and creepy ads on local radio stations. As Dr. Evil, he also hosted a late-night shows in some markets around the country during the 1950's.

Black art was one of the most useful tools used in the shows to create the illusion of ghosts, decapitations and floating. They also used "blackouts", quickly turn off all the lights in the theater to scare people silly with an actor portraying a psycho (usually with a knife) running through the aisles, floating objects over people's heads and ghosts appearing.