1927 Harry Meets Percy (by Patrick West)

That May the crew was especially preparing new illusions to be presented by Blackstone at the second annual convention at the International Brotherhood of Magicians, of which he was vice-president. It was at this convention in Kenton, Ohio that Blackstone renewed an acquaintanceship with an Australian magician, Percy Abbott.

Blackstone invited Abbott to return to Colon with him to enjoy some fishing and the relaxing environment of the small town. The local citizens were so preoccupied and awed by Blackstone’s underwater escape in Sturgeon Lake, that the man who would be most responsible for making Colon the “Magic Capital of the World” went unnoticed. The local newspaper stated that a crowd of nearly 2,000 was on hand for the feat, which created a traffic jam on the island. Blackstone was bound up in rope by ” …local and well-known people who were sure they could bind Harry so that he could not loosen the shackles …” He was then placed in a box and the lid nailed shut. The box was lowered into Sturgeon Lake and a short time later Blackstone appeared on the dock. Publicity for the event was well done and “Two moving picture operators were on hand to film the feat …” Blackstone certainly was the “world’s greatest magician” as far as the people of Colon were concerned.

When Percy Abbott arrived in Colon that summer, he intended to relax, visit with Blackstone, do a little fishing, and then resume his tour of the United States. Instead, he stayed a life-time in Colon. He married a local girl, raised four children, and founded what was to become the largest magic manufacturing company in the world. Over the course of the next 30 years, Abbott was to become a name known the world over by magicians. Though Percy Abbott never took the place of Harry Blackstone in the hearts of his fellow “Colonites”, he did as much or more to put Colon “on the map”.

At this point, it is proper to include a little background material on Percy Abbott. Abbott was a native Australian, came from humble origins. He lost his parents early in life and was raised by a strict aunt. Percy struck out to make his own way while still in his early teens, doing odd jobs in Sydney. It was in Sydney where Percy became interested in magic and opened a magic shop called the Abbott Magic Novelty Company. Throughout the early 20’s he toured the Orient, playing many small theaters and sometimes earning only enough for passage to the next island. He returned to Sydney and his shop periodically, when bookings and/or income failed. It was such a tour that brought him to the United States, where he enjoyed moderate success. His passport listed England as his destination, but he was not to arrive there until 32 years later.

Author: Abbotts Magic Company

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