We've all seen the ol' pull-a-rabbit-out-of-the-hat magic trick, and most of us have been pretty impressed, but it must have been pretty jaw-dropping once upon a time, right? I mean, somebody had to invent the ol' pull-a-rabbit-out-of-the-hat trick, and it must have initially been smashing.
There's also a pretty fun story today about a psuedo-Asian who died trying to catch a magic bullet in his teeth. Magic is awesome.
"The Great Wizard of the North," John Henry Anderson - Not only is this guy credited with helping to bring magic from the streets into the theater, but he's also credited with being the first magician to pull a rabbit out of his hat. He also did some innovating things with advertising and sort of revolutionized the way magic was enjoyed.
John Nevil Maskelyne - Not only did he invent the "levitating body" trick way back in the 1800s, he also invented a lock for toilets that required a penny to operate. We wouldn't have pay toilets or floating people without this guy! Another thing of note with this guy, he was a member of a group called The Magic Circle with Harry Houdini. The purpose of the group was to disprove the existence of anything supernatural. One success story: showing that the Indian Rope Trick was a ruse. Before that, everyone that it was a real thing.
Chung Ling Soo - What a con-artist! Chung Ling Soo was really a white dude named William Ellsworth, who secretly changed his stage name from "Robinson, Man of Mystery" to seem more mysterious and exotic. He never spoke English in public and dressed up in stereotypical Asian gear to keep up the act. His famous trick was one in which an audience member shot a gun at him, which Soo (Ellsworth) would catch in his teeth. For one performance, though, something went amiss and the bullet nailed the guy in the chest. Once shot, he said, "Oh my God, something's happened. Lower the curtain." It was the first time he'd spoken English in public.