John Henry Anderson

John Henry Anderson

John Henry Anderson

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John Henry Anderson (1814–1874) was a professional magician, born in The Mearns, Scotland. Anderson is credited with helping bring the art of magic from street performances into theatres and presenting magic performances to entertain and delight the audience.

Orphaned at the age of ten, Anderson started his career appearing on the stage with a traveling dramatic company in 1830. At seventeen, he began performing magic and in 1837, at the age of twenty-three, he performed at the castle of Lord Panmure, whose endorsement of Anderson inspired him to put a touring show together which lasted for three years. In 1840 Anderson settled in London, opening the New Strand Theatre. Sir Walter Scott is said to have given him the stage name, The Great Wizard of the North.

Anderson's success came from his extensive use of advertising and popular shows which captivated his audience. The Wizard was committed to philanthropy and expert showmanship, making him one of the earliest magicians to attain a high level of world renown. Anderson declared: "It is the duty of all magicians to give entertainment," and he was not content to perform an illusion to simply demonstrate that he could accomplish something that the audience could not explain. If the effect was not enthusiastically received, Anderson would remove it from his act. Anderson is famous for a lifetime of successful performances of the bullet catch illusion. Although he did not invent the trick, he made it widely popular...
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