DANTE, "KING OF MAGICIANS"
Dies at Home
Dante, master of illusions and billed for years as King of Magicians, died at his Northridge ranch yesterday of a heart attack. The 71 year old magician was a show business fixture. He and his troupe of 25 to 40 performers made several global trips and appeared in nearly every large theater in this country at one time or another. A native of Denmark, Dante's real name was Harry A. Jansen. He came to the United States at the age of 6 with his parents. Through the years Dante performed in every form of the theatrical business under canvas, touring the Chautauqua circuit, vaudeville, burlesque, movies, radio and in later years television. Dante the magician was my Great Uncle. I met him only once, I swam in his pool at his ranch, Northridge, San Fernando Valley, near L. A.
- Jeffery R. Burnett, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
In 1922 at the McAlpin Hotel, New York City, while addressing the members of the Society of American Magicians at their Annual dinner, Howard THURSTON said: "After 25 years I feel the time is nearing when I must retire.- I have spent the past ten years looking for someone whom I consider capable of succeeding me and with all due respect to the four hundred or more amateurs as well as the professionals who are present this evening, I have found no one whom I considered capable, that is, with one exception: his name is Harry A. Jansen; a man who knows more about practical Magic than anyone in the World today. Altho still a young man he has traveled extensively with his own show, has had his own factory of Magic, is a great builder and inventor of tricks and illusions, as well as a great artist, and I hope one day to make him my successor."
Press play to view scenes from Dante's shows
This spoken by Howard Thurston then the Master Magician, threw a blanket of dampness over the entire assembly, for almost each and every member of the assembly had secret aspirations to wear the crown of the Master, and the Great Jansen as he had been known professionally for 20 years was the dark horse.
Even the late Harry HOUDINI who was then President and presiding became noticeably nervous when he heard that there was a man present who knew more about practical magic than any other man in the world; so much so that he interrupted with a sudden sound of the gavel and introduced the next speaker, the late Mr. Donaldson of the Billboard. But the words had been spoken. The Great Jansen's success had already reached the stage where there were no less than 3 Jansens falsely using the name of Jansen, as well as his printing, and exploiting themselves to Managers with their wares of inferior quality. Mr. Thurston had knowledge of this and within the next few days, when negotiations were completed, pointed out this fact and expressed his liking for the name DANTE, and further said that he himself would have adopted it in 1906 if it had not been almost simultaneous with the death of Oscar Eliason who was accidentally shot in New South Wales, Australia, after having gained a reputation under the name of DANTE the Magician. However more than fifteen years had now elapsed and no one had perpetuated or adopted the name of Dante as a Magician, so Mr. Thurston as well as the Great Jansen thought this the opportune time and the logical title for the coming Master of Magic to be. Hence Dante the Magician Inc. came into being with Howard Thurston as the owner of the title. The DANTE show was built and produced by the Great Jansen, and an artistic success was registered with the first curtain.
A $10,000.00 CHALLENGE!
to Managers, Agents, Impresarios and Artists.
The MANAGEMENT of Dante the Magician undertakes to pay the sum of $10,000 to any operatic, concert, dramatic or variety artist, appearing at present, who can equal the following record, which is unique in the annals of the theatre. Any artist taking up this challenge must prove definitely that he has appeared in the capital cities of the World, including; Rome (5 weeks), Moscow (8 weeks), Leningrad (4 weeks), Sydney (20 weeks), Melbourne (26 weeks), Vienna (4 weeks), Buenos Aires (19 weeks), Prague (14 weeks), Paris (4 weeks), Oslo (13 weeks), Rio de Janeiro (10 weeks), Madrid (4 weeks), Brussels (2 weeks), The Hague (4 weeks), Stockholm (12 weeks), Copenhagen (16 weeks), Hamburg (4 weeks), Berlin (5 weeks), Montevideo (5 weeks), Shanghai (14 weeks), Tokyo (6 weeks), Osaka (3 weeks), Dairen (3 weeks), Mukden (3 weeks), Peking (3 weeks), Manila (4 weeks), and must have toured the principal cities of the United States of America, as well as appearances in the Philippine Islands, New Zealand, Tasmania, Honolulu, Malay States, Java, Sumatra, Burma, Trinidad, Barbados, Curacao, Venezuela, British Guiana, Dutch Guiana, Porto Rico, Cuba and Canada.
Such artists must have a record of 50 return engagements and 25 prolongation's and must have appeared before at least two reigning kings, two queens and four presidents of republics, and must be the possessor of five decorations.
The programme must last two hours and a half without the assistance of other artists and for the whole of this time the claimant artist must occupy the stage as the principal figure, appearing daily with usual matinees. His entertainment must appeal to old and young, rich and poor alike, and must represent an investment of a least $50,000.00.
It is on this record that the management of DANTE base their claim that he is the world's greatest stage artist today!
$10,000.00 For DANTE'S EQUAL!
Dante has a universal appeal. What is his great secret?
Three years later at the Astor House, New York City, Mr. Thurston in appreciation of Jansen's efforts, presented him with the title, that has since been made famous by its owner Harry A. Jansen, in every civilized part of the World; so where Magic is popular, DANTE is known, and where Dante is known, Magic is popular.
Now as we go to press to tell the World of DANTE'S triumphs it is well to point out that unscrupulous copyists are still at work. There are at the moment no less than three would-be Dantes. One especially by the name of Angus in Sydney, Australia, who has been retarded through two judgments in favor of H. A. Jansen, was stopped on the grounds of impersonating, and a second judgment against him was for the display of printing and lithographs produced by Dante.
DANTE takes this opportunity of thanking Howard Thurston for the cooperation, inspiration, and encouragement extended, and for a very pleasant association, lasting almost ten years.
Dante is now sole owner, producer and Manager of the greatest Mystery Show the World has ever seen.
Here is copy of a letter dated 14th March 1991, my mother ( DANTE was her Uncle ) received from DAVID PRICE, Egyptian Hall Museum, Brentwood, Tennessee who has the greatest collection of Dante material existent.
Dante's trademark was SimSalaBim, he originally used as his magic words, now copied by many other illusionists.