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The Glorious Deception: The Double Life of…

The Glorious Deception: The Double Life of William Robinson, aka Chung… (2005)

by Jim Steinmeyer

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About the Author. Jim Steinmeyer identifies himself on the World Wide Web as "a designer and inventor of illusions and theatrical special effects, for magicians and Broadway shows." Steinmeyer invented and created illusions for Doug Henning, David Copperfield, the Pendragons, Lance Burton, Ricky Jay and others. His best known illusions include Vanishing the Statue of Liberty, Origami Illusion, Hologram Illusion, Interlude, and Walking Through a Mirror. Steinmeyer designed special effects for theatrical shows, such as, Beauty and the Beast, Into the Woods, Mary Poppins, and Phantom of the Opera. The Academy of Magical Arts (Hollywood's Magic Castle) awarded him with The Creative Fellowship in 1991. Only 32 years old at the time, Steinmeyer was the youngest person ever to win The Creative Fellowship. Many people know Steinmeyer best as a researcher and writer of magic history. Some of his more recent written works include Hiding the Elephant (2004), The Glorious Deception: The Double Life of William Robinson, Aka Chung Ling Soo, the "Marvelous Chinese Conjurer" (2005), The Magic of Alan Wakeling: The Works of a Master Magician (2006), and Art and Artifice: And Other Essays of Illusion (2006). For his earlier writings, The Academy of Magical Arts awarded Steinmeyer with the Literary Fellowship Award in 2002. You can read more about Jim Steinmeyer at his web site. See http://www.jimsteinmeyer.com/. ( )
  MrJack | Jun 24, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 078671512X, Hardcover)

In a biography woven from equal parts enchantment and mystery, Jim Steinmeyer unveils the secrets behind the most enigmatic performer in the history of stage magic, Chung Ling Soo, the “Marvelous Chinese Conjurer”—a magician whose daring made his contemporary Houdini seem like the boy next door. Soo’s infamous and suspicious onstage death in 1918 mystified his fellow magicians: he was shot during a performance of “Defying the Bullets,” in which he attempted to catch marked bullets on a porcelain plate. When Soo died, his deceptions began to unravel. It was discovered that he was not Chinese but a fifty-eight-year-old American named William Ellsworth Robinson, a former magicians’ assistant and the husband of Olive Robinson. But even William Robinson was not who he appeared to be, for he had kept a second family with a mistress in a fashionable home near London.

Here is a look at the rough-and-tumble world of turn-of-the-century entertainments, the West’s discovery of Oriental culture, and Soo's strange descent into secrecy as he rose to stardom—written by the foremost chronicler of magic’s history and culture. Due to the scandals surrounding Robinson’s death, this is the first time his full story has ever been told.

Photographs are included.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:34 -0400)

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A chronicle of Chinese illusionist Chung Ling Soo reveals his mastery of magic and his double life as an American passing himself off as Chinese, which was revealed when he died dodging bullets during his performance of "Defying the Bullets."

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