... (continued from previous page) shows a young Howard Thurston with Harry Houdini.

Thurston's autobiography, published in 1929, was "My Life of Magic". The copy shown [opposite] was inscribed by Thurston to the powerful syndicated gossip columnist Louella Parsons, who in the entertainment industry of the 30's had the power to make or break careers.

But Thurston's life was anything but grist for the gossip pages. He was devoted to his wife, and his daughter Jane became his partner in the show. Okito (Theo Bamberg) relates in his book "Okito on Magic" (originally published in 1952) how Thurston first met his wife, a war widow, and her young daughter Jane, in Ottawa, Canada, and within a week had proposed to her.

In this open copy of his autobiography Thurston is shown performing his famous levitation illusion. [For larger image click on the book page, or click here.]

Thurston was expert at exploiting the commercial opportunities inherent in his show and widespread fame.

Pictured [below left] are souvenir programs and pitch-books Thurston sold at performances, for 25 to 50 cents -- a not insignificant sum at the time. Thurston's "Fooling the World" is noted as having had a first edition of "ONE MILLION".

And Thurston knew the value of his his name to advertisers, producing advertising premiums including the "Thurston's Book of Magic" series published by Swift's Hams [see below].