Bert Allerton (1889-1958)
Bert Allerton was born Bert Allen Gustafson on January 1, 1889, in Lynn Center, Illinois.
After serving overseas in the first World War, he became a salesman for the Sun Oil Company. He became interested in magic in 1934 when given a set of Tarbell Course lessons by the printer who had multigraphed the original course.
Following the death of his wife, Bernice in 1935, he turned to magic. First as an absorbing interest and then, beginning in 1939, as a full time profession.
Bert made his mark entertaining at the individual tables in such spots as the Cotillion Room of the Hotel Pierre in New York City and at the Ambassador East Hotel Pump Room in Chicago; he also performed at as the House of Murphy in Hollywood.
He was one of the few magicians at the time to work exclusively in the close-up arena.
Two of Bert's most effective tricks were "The Nest of envelopes" devised by Paul Le Paul and the "Vanishing Bird Cage". He performed the Vanishing Bird Cage under the spectator's nose while seated at a table.
He died on February 22, 1958, in Elgin, Illinois. He was a past-president of the Chicago Assembly of the Society of American Magicians and a past national president of the Society.
Information: courtesy of Jim Peterson, and MagicPedia.
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