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*Phone: 314-422-6453*

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Website Last Update: November 7, 2016

Magicians, Collector's & Historians: Welcome To O'Dowd Magic Books aka O'Dowd Conjuring and/or Mfg. Serving Magic & Magicians Since 1952 At Town House Magic !!!

 

We will be listing (with descriptive photos) used, out-of-date, very unusual and rare Magic Books, Stage Illusion Books, Close-Up Magic Books, Stagecraft Books, Historical and Documentary Books re: Magic & Magicians, Magic Related Books, Children's Magic Books, Mentalism Books, Spiritualism Books and all sorts of books and magazines on Magic and Related Arts.PLEASE NOTE: WE DO NOT CARRY STOCK ON ANY OF THESE ITEMS; ALL ARE SINGLE LISTINGS AND WHEN SOLD WILL NO LONGER BE AVAILABLE FROM US (unless otherwise indicated)!!! After 50 years of Magical Performing, Collecting, Researching, Writing, Manufacturing Magic Tricks and Selling other collections, these listings are comprised of the acquisitions for the O'Dowd Library Of Conjuring. Of course we can not list these all at once and will keep adding and replacing items on this site - SO, if there is a title you are looking for just mention it to see if we can fill you in!!!! Please - no requests for individual issues of periodicals.

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O'Dowd's -------------HALL OF FAME-----------

Presenting Outstanding Magicians and/or Contributors To The Art of Magic

Francis Carlyle - A True "Star of Magic". Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, and, most importantly, Magicians of all ages truly devoted to the Art, (I know, I am being VERY dramatic but I cannot emphasize enough the power and influence this man had on the art of Magic as well as on my life and my Magic [and still has to this day!]) I present to you a man of GREAT passion and GREAT influence upon the art of Magic, MR. FRANCIS CARLYLE....Check your library, you will find him in the "Stars Of Magic" series put out by Tannen and before. IF you do not have it, you should for the effects of Francis Carlyle if NOTHING else. I am indebted to Allen Okawa of Hawaii for reminding me of the true genius of Carlyle because of Allen's interest in Francis which rekindled my own re-interest.

I was fortunate to meet Francis Carlyle when he came to St. Louis in 1963. I have no idea what brought him to St. Louis in the first place and only wish I did BUT he was here and presented himself to the DeVoe Magic Den and it's proprietor, Gene DeVoe, for whom I had been working as a demonstrator of Magic for two years. That being the case, let's fill in some of the gaps before going on.

Francis Xavier Finneran was born in Falls River, Mass. on September 19, 1912. If you search "Francis Carlyle" online there seems to be some question about whether he passed away on the 26th or the 27th of December, 1975). NOTE: I think Francis would (#!). Be insulted in his intelligence that people can't get it right and (#2). Play the game and add to the mystery while he relished the confusion.!! At any rate, Francis X. Finneran also had a twin brother named Mathew and the two of them would delight in playing with people's minds because no one could tell them apart.

NEW DATA : In the Second World War (1939-1945) Francis X. Finneran (he enlisted in June of 1943, which put him 3 months away from being 31) was a Magician in the U.S. Army and was the only full-time Magician assigned to doing bedside Magic at the Percy Jones General Hospital in Battle Creek, MI. This duty was well known to be some of the most challenging, tough and heart wrenching but our Francis was cited and well known for often bringing the most lethargic and battle weary out of their withdrawal (stupor?). Although I have not as yet seen it this information was part of a story on Francis in "The Saturday Evening Post" of January 19, 1946.

Francis was married to Lillian M. Finneran. Lillian M. Harvey was born September 11, 1903 and passed April 14, 1977 in Santa Barbra (sp?), CA. I do not know the date of their marriage. When I knew Francis in 1963, he mentioned that he had been married but declined to talk about it.

As far as I know there is no comprehensive biography of Francis and little known about his early years but the story picks up after the war when Francis Xavier Finneran became Francis X. Carlyle of Greenwich Village and New York City.(If anyone knows of a biography of F.X. Carlyle, PLEASE let me know of it and how to get or read it!!!) He was an important part of the "Inner Circle" of the New York Magic Scene, which was THE ONLY place to be in the late Forties and Fifties. Francis was fully accomplished and held in equal awe as his peers: Dai Vernon, Doc Daley, S. Leo Horowitz, John Scarne, Doctor Jaks, Charlie Miller, Jarrow, Leipzig, Slydini and Paul Rosini. THAT'S HEAVY COMPANY to hold your own in!!!!! Francis Carlyle did just that and some of his material was published in Jean Hugard's "Card Manipulations", John Scarne's "Scarne's Card Tricks" as well as the exclusive "Stars Of Magic" series.

It was a crisp day in St. Louis in 1963 when we took my infant daughter, (Kelly) to get her official baby pictures in downtown St. Louis, then went to DeVoe Magic Den to gossip a bit. The date was NOVEMBER 22, 1963!!!!!

A man came bursting in the door, visibly upset and agitated and proclaimed:

"Someone shot the President in Dallas! The President of the United States has been assassinated.!!"

That was my introduction to Francis Carlyle, a man who had tremendous influence on me on one of the darkest days in American history. Since that day I do not think of President Kennedy without remembering my daughter's baby pictures and Francis Carlyle.

That night Francis did a lecture for St. Louis Assembly 8 of the S.A.M. The lecture was outstanding but poorly attended for obvious reasons.

Over the next few weeks I got to know Francis Carlyle more and more intimately and learned what an amazing, intelligent and creative man he was. Gene DeVoe arranged with an agent for Francis to entertain August A. Busch's Christmas Ball and Busch's children's party. Busch was, of course, Chairman of Anheuser-Busch brewery. Francis was an incredible hit with the Busch family and, consequently, was kept busy during the Christmas season performing throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Francis Carlyle spent quite a few nights as the guest of my family and was endlessly fascinated and amused by my infant daughter, Kelly's cooing, attempts at communication, facial expressions while sleeping, play habits and general personality. He was sensitive as well as intelligent and, as an example, composed the following bits of poetry:

"To crush the little atom was all mankind's intent. Now, perhaps, the atom will return the compliment !!!"

"Cynic tread softly, for I have few illusions left and, desperately, I guard my little store of faith and truth. A few illusions, all that remain of the zeal and beauty from the heart of youth. Let me believe, among the darkness and decay of all the world, one tortured plume stills flies where all the flags are furled; let me believe that honor stills lives, even if only in little grains and gleans. Cynic, tread softly here for men grow desparate when you tread on their last dreams.!"

Francis Carlyle would be quite powerful and intense when he recited the above lines that he named his "Creed". We know that he drank and that, ultimately it killed him BUT it is my unprofessional and possibly naive opinion that the magnificent mind of Francis Carlyle was so aware and so sensitive to the follies of you and me and mankind in general that drinking was often the only way this fantastic, beautiful man could put up with us. His approach to Magic was simplistic genius and he was able to take the most elementary effect and turn it into an impossibility, even though you thought you knew how it worked,

I was to see Francis Carlyle again in the early 70's at a St. Louis S.A.M. convention and he had quit drinking for years and continued sober until December of 1975 when Francis was at a party in California. There was a crass, self important gentleman at that party who had heard stories of Francis when he was inebriated and thought it would be "cute" to see it for himself. He spiked Francis' soft drink and, thereby, knocked Francis off the wagon and, tragically, sent Francis on a binge that ended in his death and cost Magic and humanity one of the most brilliant, most unrealized and unrecognized, creative minds ever to grace our existence.............

SPECIAL NOTE: It has been our honor and pleasure to be in touch with members of the Finneran family due to the appearance of this tribute to Francis: one of the most incredible human beings I have ever come in contact with; AND he influenced my whole life ever after!!!! At any rate, it was a pleasure to be contacted by these wonderful relatives of Francis who, unfortunately, have never met their fantastic blood relative and were anxious to hear any and all bits of time or experiences they could add to the data of their family. I am honored, humbled, flattered and made small by my infinitely fortuitous (sp) luck and God's generosity to make this man intersect with my life and influence it forever!!!!!