A.H. Stoner I.B.M. Ring #221

Bringing Magic to Fort Wayne since 1929

‘Keep Routines Secret’ Advises D. Proctor to Would-Be Houdini’s

Stoner’s Magic Shop, 712 S. Harrison St., is a familiar store to Delmar Proctor. What else could it be to a boy who has developed his magician talents from a mere hobbyist to a semi-professional standard.

Ever since he was intrigued by a magician at a carnival, Delmar has spent five years practicing tricks. Much recent help has been contributed by Mr. James Purkhiser, who was interested in this hobby as a boy.

In starting his hobby he obtained tricks through stores, catalogues, and magazines. Delmar pointed out that in ordering a trick from a catalogue you have to take the chance of knowing how to interpret the instructions, whereas at the store, Mr. Richard Stoner, who is a professional magician, is kind enough “to help a guy out by demonstrating.” Some of the tricks, he mentioned, take only a matter of a half hour to learn, but, he adds, “I have had one trick for six months which I haven’t been able to master yet.”

Most of his practicing is done right after he has obtained a new trick. The most practical way to learn one, is to stand in front of a mirror so that you can see it being done from the audience’s standpoint, he reflects.

The equipment of a magician is very expensive. Most of the construction is really an art in itself. The painting, designing, and the coloring plays an important part. Delmar has never done any of the constructing himself, although he is working on something now which he hopes to use in Varsity Varieties next spring.

Most of his equipment is bought through a company in Colon, Mich., about 70 miles north of here. Right now, he has around $300 invested in his equipment and costumes.

The keynote to a magician’s success is his ability to keep his routines very confidential. This is not just a suggestion, for it is part of the Fort Wayne constitution of the Fort Wayne Magicians’ Club to which Delmar belongs. The manner of speaking to the audience is also stressed in putting over the trick. Much of the things you seem to see are the result of clever influencing by the magician, for illusion plays an important part. Watching other people perform their routines, Delmar looks for these things in judging their ability.

Many times he has watched other magicians put on an act and returned home with new ideas. He said that tricks of others are not hard to analyze since many tricks are based on the same principles.

However, after seeing some of the professions he has more than once been stumped. Some types of magic can be learned by anyone without much trouble. “As far as card tricks are concerned.” he said, “sometimes it is just a matter of stacking the deck.”

Each routine has a name, it being chosen by the way the trick is carried out. The two which Delmar enjoys doing best and seems to leave the audience in quite a daze are Hippity Hop Rabbits and Mentaleptic. The last one is conducted by having anyone picked from the audience to stand by his place and have a word in mind. With deep concentration the magician is able to write the correct word on his slate.

Delmar has performed for many groups in and around Fort Wayne. The Lion’s Club, PTA organizations, Masons and Eastern Star, are just a few of his audiences. Many times he is called upon to entertain at private parties. For birthday parties and other parties for small children he has a special act where he dresses in a clown costume and adds the needed antics to his regular show.

Delmar’s hobby means a lot to him. He hopes that in the future he will have a chance to continue practicing magic, perhaps even to the point of becoming a professional.

Meanwhile he is thinking of becoming a dramatics teacher. In school he is taking speech and is a major hand on the stage crew.