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National Festival of Smoke and Mirrors Day

March 29, 2012

In honor of National Festival of Smoke and Mirrors Day (March 29th), we are featuring images from our photographic collections that showcase the talents and activities of magicians, illusionists, and escape artists in Texas. A majority of the photographs are of the magic show of Willard Family, a troupe of magicians that traveled throughout Texas and the Southwest, beginning in the 1920s, that performed a variety of stage illusions. The troupe consisted of Harry F. and Joy Willard, their daughter Rosemary, Tommy and Corinne Willard , and Jimmy Carmichael.

We are also including a photograph of Fred Brown, an escape artist  from El Paso, Texas. Police found Brown in a strait-jacket and chains as shown in the photograph from which he freed himself during a street demonstration. After finishing his escape from the strait-jacket and chains, Brown passed around a hat to the crowd that had gathered to witness his feat only to be jailed as a vagrant shortly thereafter.

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