from Richard Webster
heard that David Alexander has tradgically passed away.
More information to follow shorty.
David Alexander daily accomplishes his lifes goal
of doing interesting things. A professional
magician for much of his adult life, magic has taken him
to places and introduced him to people he would not have
otherwise met. It has also given him a second career as
a published author and a third as a successful artist.
a child, David was fascinated with magic, becoming an original
member of the fabled Long Beach Mystics in the mid-1950s.
Prodigious study and contact with older magicians broadened
his understanding. Extensive reading combined with performances
in high school and college enhanced both his skill and self-confidence.
was fortunate in being apprenticed to the noted Spanish
vaudeville and nightclub magician, Jose Frakson. David was
in good company for it was no less than Jack Benny who once
said that he had learned how to walk on a stage by watching
Frakson. David learned several of Fraksons exclusive
tricks and routines, material he still uses today, decades
later. During his formal seven year apprenticeship, David
learned the inner secrets of stagecraft: the ability to
quickly establish rapport with an audience and entertain
was also fortunate in being friends with Charlie Miller.
Unknown to the general public, Charlie Miller is a legend
among magicians and it is from him that David received one
of his signature tricks: the production of a glass of water
from an examined bag. (See the video clip.) David and Charlies
friendship was cemented one evening when they were talking
about Max Malinis famous production of a chunk of
ice from under a hat. Charlie went through the moves and
David emulated them with a hat hed brought for the
occasion. At the end David lifted the hat and there, to
Charlies great surprise, was a five-pound hunk of
ice. Charlies feelings were expressed in his inscription
on the flyleaf of Expert Card Technique: To Dave Alexander,
whose feat of ice has made me most impressed. Charlie Miller.
college in the mid-1960s, David traveled to San Francisco
where he became the Hotel Claremonts first Resident
Magician, performing in their restaurant for several months.
During this time the Carter Collection of rare magic equipment
and memorabilia was rediscovered in San Francisco. David
became the first curator of the fabled collection.
Returning to Southern California David was hired by Princess
Cruises as their first magician. David cruised for several
years, both for Princess and later Sitmar, logging more
than half a million miles at sea while entertaining tens
of thousands of happy passengers.
toured Mexico and Central America, performing in Acapulco
for nearly a year, as well as Mexico City, Veracruz, private
parties in Cuernavaca, as well as El Salvador and Guatemala.
is the only magician ever hired by the Trader Vic Organization
and was a feature of their Señor Pico Restaurant
for over two and one-half years. David entertained at private
parties for Old Hollywood royalty such as Norma Shearer,
Ray Milland, Randolph Scott, Van Heflin and New Hollywood
royalty like James Coburn. The quality of Davids early
work was recognized by the worlds oldest magic organization,
The Society of American Magicians, when they awarded him
their Manipulation Award over three decades ago.
travels have taken him from the jungles of the Philippines
to the top of Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima Island; from the
salons of the wealthy in Beverly Hills and Acapulco to the
enlisted mens clubs on U.S. military bases around
the world; from U.S. embassies and consulates to Fortune
500 hospitality suites. He has worked his act in Spanish,
French, and Japanese and on television in the United States,
Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Mexico and Central
1979 David wrote and privately published in a small edition
limited to the magic trade: The Complete Professional Pickpocket,
considered by many to be the definitive work on stage pickpocketing.
It has been out of print for over 20 years, despite continued
requests to reprint it.
of his most unusual performances happened in late 2000 when
he was hired by the head of a university medical school
to entertain the graduating Fellows, but in disguise. He
was introduced as David Alexander, Ph.D. Harvard Medical
School Staff, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh
and lectured for fifteen minutes on modern advances in psychology.
After garnering a number of hearty laughs, he was revealed
by the head of the school and launched into his magic, but
so successful was his presentation that fully half of the
people who came up afterwards insisted on calling him Doctor,
and asked to be remembered to friends at Harvard!
the early 1990s David was chosen by his friend Gene Roddenberry
to write his authorized biography, Star Trek Creator, published
in hardback 1994 and paperback in 1995.
last published project was his investigation into the identity
of S.W. Erdnase, the mysterious author of the bible
of card magicians and gambling cheats, The Expert at the
Card Table. His investigation resulted in an invitation
to present his findings at the prestigious Los Angeles Conference
on Magic History. It also garnered the cover of Genii The
Conjurors Magazine, articles in various newspapers
including one on the front page of The Wall Street Journal,
and an extended interview on the BBC.
third profession is that of silhouette artist. Twenty-seven
years ago David encountered a silhouette artist who wanted
to learn card tricks. The two became friends and traded
skills. Today, David finds himself one of less than twenty
quality silhouette artists still practicing this rare and
David found himself going further with silhouette cutting
than he originally planned. He collected books to the point
that he has nearly everything on silhouettes written in
the English language, but he also collected examples of
other artists work.
first the collection was simply a learning tool, but over
the years it grew into the worlds most comprehensive
collection of 20th Century silhouette artists work
with David becoming a recognized expert. His next book,
to be published soon, will be The Illustrated History of
20th Century Silhouettes and Guide to Collectibles.