October 29, 2007

Manic Monday: Trick or Treat



Morgen asked that we post our Manic Monday meme on Trick or Treats this week. Trick. Many ways to go with that word. I thought of Magicians. There is a new show on network TV called "Phenomenon" that seeks out the next great magician. I wasn't surprised that there wasn't a person of African descent in the contestants. After all, few of us think of African Americans being magicians.

However, one of America's first successful stage magician, hypnotist and ventriloquist was a brother named Richard Potter (1783-1835). Potter was the son of an English baronet and an African servant woman. He was educated in Europe before beginning his 25 year career as a performer in post-Revolutionary America. He lived with his father in Hopkinton, NH and married (his wife name was Sally) and had 3 children. In fact, Potter is a favorite son of New Hampshire.

Potter performed in Boston, throughout New England and Canada. Potter was able to climb a rope and disappear while performing outdoors surrounded by spectators. Officially, his best known illusion was "crawling through a log" and Potter could skillfully throw his voice, especially using bird sounds. Whether he was the first to use a ventriloquist’s doll or dummy isn’t known. In 1813 Potters success allowed him to buy a 175-acre farm in Andover, NH, in the village now known as Potter’s Place. His story intrigued Harry Houdini who included Potter in his popular magazine of magic.

Today, there is a little-known Brotherhood of American Minority Magicians with a handful of members. I must admit that I've only seen one Black magician in my life. I don't recall his name ... he was entertainment at a conference I attended back in the day. He was quite good. One source of information on Black magicians is Magical Heroes: The Lives and Legends of Great African American Magicians

Anyway, I hope that you've learned something new from my Manic Monday meme this week!

18 comments:

the teach said...

Wayne, I always learn something new from your posts. Great post for Manic Monday!

Come visit me at http://workofthepoet.blogspot.com
and
http://maryt.wordpress.com

Anne said...

That's interesting. I have to admit I never really thought about it, just took it for granted that most magicians are a certain type of nerdy white guy. That just goes to show me, doesn't it?

Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier.

Villager said...

Teach and Anne - Thank you both for sharing your village voice!

Shelia said...

I did learn something! You're always about schooling us Villager, even when it's for fun. Thanks!

tegdirb92 said...

what a great, informative post!! I really enjoyed that. Happy MM.

Jamie said...

I had heard of Mr. Potter, but not the details of his career. Thank you for a real treat

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I didn't know this. Very well done as always. There is always a history lesson here. Have a great MM. :)

Nancy Lindquist-Liedel said...

I was watching, "Sense and Sensibility" yesterday and realized how disenfranchised "my people" (native Americans) and from published history and thought that African Americans must feel the same way. Wondering where their great history is? So much of our past and the past of your ancestors is lost. Which is not to diminish a good book by anyone, but what is lost?

I never knew about a magician of African descent before. You've enlightened me and made me want to research more of non white history. Thank you.

Gattina said...

I have always heard that Africans are real magiciens especially in Congo and Senegal and that most of the white people have learned it from them. The American Africans probably lost this during centuries of slavery.

Villager said...

Nancy - I agree with you ... that we need to learn and share more about our ancestors whenever the opportunity presents itself. I tend to use the Manic Monday meme for that purpose. Anyhow, I wish you the best in your search....

BTW, I had a post back in the day about native Americans ... with my unique afrocentric flair!
http://electronicvillage.blogspot.com/2007/05/manic-monday-red.html

TopChamp said...

very informative! I had no idea about any of this.

Happy MM.

Jen said...

Cool! Thanks for visiting and commenting on my site. Happy MM to you too!!!

Aloha,
Jen

Travis said...

I had actually heard about this magician, but I didn't know his name. I was fascinated by magic and magicians when I was a kid, and I used to read about them as often as I could find books.

Thanks for the reminder!

Happy MM!

Sherry said...

As always, you remind me just how much I have to learn! Great post.

ian said...

I've never thought about magicians much, but you're right - I don't think I've ever seen a black magician. I wonder if that's because as children they aren't encouraged to pursue magic as a career or other reasons.

Ian

Marilyn said...

You know, I've only ever seen one magician. I was very young and somehow got picked to be his volunteer on stage for a trick. I saw how the trick worked and was very disapointed to see that it was just a simple misdirrection. I was expecting something more elaborate, I guess... anyway, I haven't thought much about magicians since then. This was a great post.

katherine. said...

I'm not a big magician fan...but did appreciate learning from your post....

Ginny said...

That is very interesting, I'm glad I read your post!