By the end of America s Golden Age of Magic, Chicago had taken
center stage in front of an American audience drawn to the craft by
the likes of Harry Houdini and Howard Thurston. Cashing in on a
craze that rivaled big-band mania, magic shops and clubs sprang up
everywhere across the Windy City, packed in customers and put down
roots. Over the last century, for example, Magic, Inc. has
outfitted magicians from Harry Blackstone Sr. to Penn and Teller to
David Copperfield. Magic was an integral part of Chicago s culture,
from its earliest venture into live television to the card sharps
and hucksters lurking in its amusement parks and pool halls. David
Witter keeps track of the shell game of Chicago s fascinating magic
history from its vaudeville circuit to its contemporary resurgence.
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