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Jack Merlin

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Jack Merlin was an American card manipulator that performed in vaudeville.[1]

Jack Merlin
BornJames W. Meyers
circa 1885
CategoriesBooks by Jack Merlin

He originally teamed up with Frank Nightingale from upstate New York to do magic shows as Nightingale and Merlin. It was Frank who suggested that his friend use the stage name of "Jack Merlin". Meyers later legally changed his name to Merlin and became a famous vaudeville act.[2]

In fall of 1908, Merlin left his partnership with Nightingale for England with the object of establishing himself as a professional magician. Within two years he was a vaudeville headliner.

After returning to the United States in 1911 for more success, he made a trip to Australia in 1916, where he played the leading vaudeville houses there.

Jack lived for awhile in Indianapolis. His wife assisted him in the act in the manner of a spectator (picking cards and showing them to the audience).

Merlin always opened his act with the penetration of a glass of water through a derby hat and closed with cards across from C. Lang Neil's book The Modern Conjuror.[3]

His last known appearance was in 1934 at the Biltmore Bowl in Los Angeles.

Bart Whaley's Who's Who in Magic states he was one of the magicians whose career suffered from, and life possibly shortened by, ill-controlled heavy drinking. He died some time prior to 1936.[4]


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  1. Ask the Doctor, MUM, JANUARY, 1985
  2. Magic A Pictorial History History of Conjurers in the Theater by David Price (1985)
  3. Genii 1966 March, Vol 30, No. 7, page 294 - Intermission by Charlie Miller
  4. World's Fair, August 15, 1963