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Joseph Dunninger, "The Master Mind of Modern Mystery".
Born April 28, 1892(1892-04-28)
New York, NY U.S.
Died March 9, 1975 (aged 82)
Cliffside Park, NJ, U.S.
Occupation magician, escapologist, mentalist.
Joseph Dunninger (April 28, 1892- March 9, 1975), known as "The Amazing Dunninger" was one of the most famous and proficient mentalists of all time. He was one of the pioneer performers of magic on radio and television.
He appeared on radio starting in 1943, and on television frequently in the 50s and 60s.
Dunninger had a standing offer of $10,000 to anyone who could prove that he used confederates or "stooges". He often said he could raise that offer to $100,000. Through the Scientific American Magazine and the Universal Council for Psychic Research, Dunninger made this offer to any medium who could produce by psychic or supernatural means any physical phenomena that he cannot reproduce by natural means or explain in convincing materialistic terms.
He headlined throughout the Keith-Orpheum Circuit, and was much in demand for private entertainment. At the age of seventeen he was invited to perform at the home of Theodore Roosevelt in Oyster Bay and at the home of the inventor Thomas A. Edison, both of whom were avid admirers of his mysticism.
Dunninger was a good friend to many notables in the magic community including Harry Houdini, Francis Martinka and The Shadow author Walter B. Gibson. He is said to have been a model for The Shadow.
He died of Parkinson's Disease at his home in Cliffside Park, New Jersey.
"My magical ability and digital dexterity, I mastered only after tireless practice and acute observation, finding that I have rather an uncanny mind for developing and solving mechanics of the craft. I have made the word "originality" a foundation for my magical doings." (Dunninger— An Autobiography)
"There is one primary rule in the fakery of spirit mediumship. That is to concentrate upon persons who have suffered a bereavement."
"For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice." (Source: Memorable-Quotes.com)
^ "DUNNINGER DIES; MAGICIAN WAS 82; Billed Himself as 'Master Mind of Mental Mystery'", The New York Times, March 10, 1975. "Joseph Dunninger, who mystified millions as a magician and mind-reader for more than half a century, died yesterday of Parkinson's disease at his home in Cliffside Park, N.J."
^ The Secret Life of Houdini by William Kalush and Larry Sloman, Atria Books, 2006.
Dunninger self published many of his works, and others were published by inventor Hugo Gernsback. He also wrote articles in Science and Invention, Mechanix Illustrated, Popular Mechanics, Fate, Atlantic Monthly and other magazines. A large percentage of these articles were ghosted by Walter Gibson.
Dunninger's Tricks De Luxe (1918)
Dunninger's Tricks Unique (1918)
Dunninger's Master Methods of Hypnotism (1923)
Popular Magic (1926)
Universal Second Sight Mysteries (1927)
Houdini's Spirit Exposes and Dunninger's Psychical Investigations (1928)
Popular Magic Vol. II (1929)
Popular Magic and Card Tricks (1929)
Inside the Medium's Cabinet (1935)
How to Make a Ghost Walk (1936)
What's On Your Mind (1944)
100 Houdini Tricks You Can Do (1954)
The Art of Thought Reading (1956)
Magic and Mystery: The Incredible Psychic Investigations of Houdini and Dunninger (1967)
Dunninger's Complete Encyclopedia of Magic (1967)
Dunninger's Secrets as told to Walter Gibson (1974)
Dunninger's Monument to Magic (1974)
Dunninger's Book of Magic (1979)