Jean Hugard (b. 1872-1959)
John Gerard Rodney Boyce
Jean Hugard, Oscar Kellmann, Chin Sun Loo
Magician, Writer, Teacher
Place of Birth
Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.
Jean Hugard possessed the masterful ability of performing, writing and teaching in the field of magic.
He was the author and editor of nearly fifty books and periodicals on the art, and has established himself as one of the 20th century's most influential magicians and prolific writers in conjuring.
In 1906, Hugard demonstrated for the first time his version of the "Bullet Catch" act; he was also the first to present the illusion with modern day guns at the time. His bullet catch was a success for many years until it was banned from the USA during the years of World War 1.
Jean Hugard was born John Gerard Rodney Boyce in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.
In 1880, Hugard took an interest in magic after seeing magician Louis Haselmayer perform.
He immersed himself in the craft, reading the works of Robert-Houdin's "The Secrets of Conjuring and Magic," and Hoffmann's "Modern Magic," developing and perfecting his routines until he started performing professionally in 1896.
He began performing in Vaudeville, and toured Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, the Fiji Islands and Hawaii.
He performed a Chinese-themed show called "Night in a Chinese Palace," featuring his spectacular version of the "Bullet Catch" routine he called "The Great Rifle Feat." He was the first to present the illusion with modern day guns at the time.
In 1915, he moved to the USA and performed in varied venues from 1916 until 1918. One of his feature attractions then was "Birth of the Sea Nymph."
The following year, he owned and performed in a magic theater at Coney Island for the next ten years. He also appeared in a Broadway show in 1928 at the Forrest Theater called "The Squealer."
He retired from theatrical work in 1934, and moved to Brooklyn where he embarked upon an impressive career as a writer, creating many of magic's most influential texts.
In addition to the works of his "Annual Of Magic" volumes, and the founding of "Hugard's Magic Monthly" in 1942, he penned a multitude of books, including "Modern Magic Manual," "Close-Up Magic;"
"Coin Magic," "Encyclopedia Of Card Tricks;" "Mental Magic With Cards," his "Card Manipulation" and "More Card Manipulations" series.
He also collaborated with American journalist Fred Braue on several books: "Expert Card Technique;" "The Royal Road To Card Magic," "The Invisible Pass," and others.
The death of John Northern Hilliard who had written only the first chapter of his "Greater Magic," had publisher Carl Waring Jones hire Jean Hugard in 1938 to complete and enlarge the text to over 1,000 pages.
The book went on to become a standard textbook of conjuring, and is considered by most magicians, both professional and amateur, as the "bible" of magic.
Among his many accolades are, the Magic Circle's highest award - the "Silver Wand," the "Melbourne Christopher Award," named 4th "Society of American Magicians" Dean of Magicians in 1951, as well as his induction to SAM's the Hall of Fame.
Although Hugard was deaf and had lost his sight in both eyes following operations for the removal of cataracts, he continued to work in the magic field until a week or so before he died in Brooklyn, New York, on August 4, 1959 at the age of 86.
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