1929 The Blackstone Magic Shop Falling Out

Abbott’s in Colon was not even Percy’s first magic shop in Colon, as Percy had partnered with Blackstone in the Blackstone Magic shop but the two had a falling out. What happened here is still up to interpretation but there is one thing that is certain, without this falling out, the Abbott Magic Shop would never have been born.

Frances Ireland Marshall describes the falling out as follows: “Blackstone (Senior) decided to use his widely-known name to found a magician’s supply company and he hired a newcomer from Australia, Percy Abbott, to act as general manager. Percy had all the requirements. He knew magic, was a forceful and dynamic operator and was interested in settling into something with permanence in the United States. Rumor has it that Blackstone came back from the road, demanded accountings and an altercation broke out, followed by a fist fight. Somebody called the cops. Blackstone, ever the actor, stepped into the next room when he heard the approach of the “fuzz”. As they came into the house, he rushed forward with an outstretched hand to Abbott and said, -‘Percy! When did you get back in town’?”

Patrick West 1976 Thesis describes the falling out as follows: “During the year 1927, Colon’s first magic business was “established and arranged” between Abbott and Blackstone. The Blackstone Magic Company, as it was called, was dissolved after only 18 months and the men never met publicly or privately for the rest of their lives. The great Blackstone never appeared at a Get-Together until after Abbott’s death. In his biography, Percy preferred to “…skip over this particular era …” because it held unpleasant memories which were not good for him nor would they be good for the reader. Actually, there was no real scandal behind the split. It was more of a misunderstanding which, because of the personalities of the two men, became an irreproachable breach. While on the road, Blackstone “traded” an amount of merchandise from the magic shop to a magician for an illusion. (An illusion differs from a trick in the size of the presentation, and might be referred to as a big trick.) The magician promptly sent to the Blackstone Magic Company the illusion and a list of merchandise promised to him by Blackstone. Percy sent the merchandise and assumed that the illusion then belonged to the company. Later, Percy sold the illusion to another magician. Blackstone finished his tour and returned to Colon, only to find that “his” illusion had been sold. The situation simmered for a short time and then a verbal storm erupted when the two men met in a local store. Percy closed up the shop and that was the end of Colon’s first magic company”

We probably will never know the full details of this split, but the friendship between these two was never mended and both went to their graves without reconciling with each other.

Author: Abbotts Magic Company

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