"I came away from the DVD & text with the feeling
that he was truly a great magician and an honest, hard working,
innovative gentleman. My favorite performing magician by far was
Dante. I saw him many times and he was exceptional. I get
the feeling from your production that I would have thought the same
about Thurston if I had seen him. An excellent documentary."
Robert Albo, MD
Famous Magic Author, Historian, and Collector
CLICK HERE TO READ THE
LETTER FROM BILL ANDREWS
- Bill Andrews
President - 1987-1988
"...tremendous and must have been a labor of love."
- Seth Briliant
"Everyone who considers themselves a magician should
see this DVD. Howard Thurston was my idol and this DVD brings back
memories that I treasure."
- John Calvert
"Your Editor has been watching Bill Rauscher &
Rory Feldman's DVD "When Thurston Came To Town" and and recommends it
to all those interested in Thurston or magic history. Included
is film from Thurston's 1932 show."
enjoyed the Thurston DVD."
Renowned Author and Historian
Member of the Magic Circle
"The DVD is
just great! It is fantastic and something to treasure. I loved it.
The whole thing was great and wonderful. I especially enjoyed the rare
footage of Thurston performing for the crippled children at Bellevue
Hospital and Jane Thurston singing 'My Daddy Is A Hocus Pocus Man.'
It was dynamite!"
- Mark Evans
Magician and Illusion Builder
"The new DVD
"When Thurston Came to Town" has now been released by noted Thurston
collector Rory Feldman. This DVD is a broadened and visually enhanced
version of William V. Rauscher's magic lecture of the same name, which
he presented during a Magic Collectors' Association weekend back in
the 1990s. Feldman has certainly put his heart and soul into
this project. What you get is Bill's wonderful lecture supported by
never-before-seen photos of Thurston and his memorabilia, every known
archival film footage of Thurston including some never-before-seen,
interviews with leading collectors and magicians who either saw
Thurston or were influenced by him, recordings of Thurston's voice,
his daughter Jane singing, "My Daddy is a Hocus Pocus Man," and much,
much more. With Jim Steinmeyer's forthcoming book on Thurston, the
timing on this DVD couldn't be better. It is not available through
magic dealers but through Rory Feldman. Rory's website is:
www.thurstonmastermagician.com. Bill and Rory are to be
congratulated for this effort to elevate Thurston back on to the
pedestal as America's favorite magician, a position he so justly
message from Tom Ewing was taken from "Alan Watson's Magic New Zealand
- Issue Number: #756"
Click here to see Tom Ewing's comment poster on The Genii Forum.
Historian, and Collector
"Congratulations on a job well done. Thurston was
truly an amazing person."
Magician, Historian, and Collector
“The material is really quite wonderful. An unabashed homage to
a one-of-a-kind entertainer, a man who was an enormous star in his
prime, which lasted several decades. Standing out among all this
captivating material are the film clips of Thurston. The entire
package - a six panel sleeve with a slipcase and 32-page biography of
Thurston - is beautifully produced.”
July 2010 -- Full Page Review
produced a master piece in your DVD...When Thurston Came To Town. It
is a great piece of magic history, very well documented. I thought I
knew a lot about Thurston however I was pleased to learn even more
from your DVD. You and your host, Bill Rauscher, are to be commended
for the time and effort you both put into the making of this
one-of-a-kind DVD. Anyone who enjoys the history of magic and
magicians should have a copy in their collection. By the way,
the packaging of your DVD is terrific, the best I have ever seen."
- Ray Goulet
Magician, Historian, and Collector
CLICK HERE TO READ THE 2 PAGE
LETTER FROM RICHARD L. GUSTAFSON
- Richard L. Gustafson
President - 1973-1974
"M-U-M" - 1966-1968
did purchase "When Thurston Came to Town" and love it. I purchased two
as I have a friend that is 81 years old; who is a big fan of Thurston
and had never seen any moving pictures of his performances. Thank you
for putting this together, he loved it and am glad he had an
opportunity to see Thurston while still with us. I thought you
should know that the production truly made an 81 year old mans
- Mark Jarvis
Magician, Historian, and Collector
"A wonderful contribution to the history of
magic and Thurston. They [the DVD's] are wonderfully done."
- Ken Klosterman
Magician, Historian, and Collector
have just spent a memorable evening with Howard Thurston...'When
Thurston Came To Town' the DVD, is a GREAT contribution to our ART.
Every magic aficionado must see it."
Magician and Illusionist
"Over the past decade, Feldman has
continued to add to his collection, amassing what is undoubtedly the
world's foremost archive of material -- covering the life of Thurston.
Three years ago, Feldman approached Rauscher about creating a video
version of When Thurston Came To Town. The result is this nearly
three-hour DVD set that places Thurston squarely back on his pedestal
as the greatest American magician of his time."
"Still, for the die-hard Thurston fan,
or one who wants to know just about everything about him, this DVD set
contains many rare treats -- among them Thurston's voice, not once,
but several times. And then there's marvelous footage of Thurston in
action, showing the scope of his mammoth show. Particularly
fascinating is film of an outdoor appearance at Bellevue Hospital in
the 1920s, when Thurston brought practically his whole illusion show
to the patients."
Seeing his handling of the Dove
Catching net is a lesson in how the trick is supposed to be done, and
it shows that Thurston was indeed as good a performer as we've been
"The closing moments of the DVD, when
Jane Thurston (in her eighties) sings the original song "My Daddy Is A
Hocus Pocus Man," are a fitting finale that humanize the whole story."
"The production values of the DVD are
very good. The tri-fold slipcase includes a 32-page color
booklet with a previously unreleased press biography of Thurston.
In all, it's a beautiful package."
"...those who buy it will find new
appreciation for Howard Thurston and his place in American magic."
- David Charvet
Reviewed in the August 2010 Magic Magazine
"A 'must have' item for historians and enthusiasts."
- MagiGuy (TheMagicCafe.com)
"If you get the opportunity to purchase Rory's DVD on
Thurston that he worked with Bill Rauscher on, I recommend it. It's
very nicely done." -- "Buy the DVD.
It's worth it."
- Frances Mai-Ling
World's Youngest Illusionista
"It's really wonderful. Excellent work! The
audio message from Thurston seeming to talk to his friend from
heaven was fantastic. He really had superb voice. Never knew this
CLICK HERE TO READ A PDF OF THE REVIEW
"I enjoy the history of
magic, so I was eager to view this DVD. Bill Rauscher and I have been
friends for many years and I have always enjoyed his performances and
lectures. This package is no exception. This is a very classy
production. The packaging is beautiful, and includes a thirty-two-page
booklet, which is a biography excerpted from Thurston’s 1928
manuscript. The DVD itself is beautifully produced, and runs for over
two and a half hours. This was truly a labor of love for Feldman, who
has amassed the largest Thurston collection in the world. The music
throughout is provided by the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra and is
authentic to the period. It is a wonderful addition to the production.
The DVD is advertised as a part of the William V. Rauscher Lecture
Series, but this is far more than just a lecture. Bill serves more as
a host for this DVD, and his lecture was totally rewritten for this
project. His presentation is perfect for the purpose. He often reads
from letters or articles about Thurston written by a number of
magicians. The text is also superimposed on the screen for further
clarity during Rauscher’s commentary, as well as during historical
audio clips, which may be a bit muddled due to age. There are audio
and video interviews, and commentary by John Booth, John Calvert,
George Goebel, Walter Gibson, Dorny, Maureen Christopher, Tom Ewing,
Ray Goulet, Rev. Robert E. Olson, Charles Reynolds, James Wobensmith,
and many others. There are over ten video clips of Thurston himself as
well as additional audio clips of him. There are hundreds of images of
Thurston throughout the disc. The final piece is a wonderful recording
by Jane Thurston Sheppard, who toured with her father’s show for many
years. This is not so much a history of Howard Thurston as it is an
homage. There is not a lot of new information given from an historical
perspective, but it becomes very apparent that Thurston was most
influential on aspiring magicians of the time. Everyone involved
refers to him as The World’s Greatest Magician, and idolized him.
Performers such as Blackstone, Birch, Milbourne Christopher, and John
Calvert state that they felt Thurston was the best they ever saw, and
all felt he deserved the title far more than Houdini. I came away from
viewing this DVD wishing I had had the opportunity to see Thurston
perform in person. I guess this is the closest I will ever come to
that. The one thing that seems to be missing is Rory Feldman’s story.
Although he does speak on screen about Thurston, I would have liked to
hear him talk about how his interest in Thurston began and some of his
own history. He began to collect the materials at a very young age,
and has an amazingly extensive archive of this fantastic performer. He
has expended a lot of time, effort, and money pursuing his interest
and sharing it with the magic world, which is something to be
commended. This is an absolutely sumptuous product. If you love the
history of magic and learning about the past masters, you will enjoy
this immensely. I feel that every magician should watch this DVD. We
should all learn for our past masters. My only hesitation in highly
recommending this product is the price. At $100 for a single disc, it
is no bargain. I am certain Mr. Feldman had to look at the
considerable costs involved in producing this marvelous project and
analyzed how many people would likely purchase such a niche product.
There are no tricks taught, and this is priced higher than the typical
multiple-disc sets currently on the market. I personally feel, given
these factors, that the price is justified. It is a joy to watch and
to be inspired by. Given all of that, I do recommend this product,
especially for those with a love for magic’s history."
- Marc DeSouza
Reviewed in the March 2011 M-U-M Magazine
"The work you put into this production
is impressive. Your Thurston collection, Rory, is the best and most
comprehensive there is. But in particular we are grateful for your
gathering, documenting and putting into video the statements of all
those who had the opportunity to see and meet Thurston. The stories
from people like John Calvert, Larry Weeks, and even the Dorny
recordings gave us a glimpse of the magician. It was a particular
treat to hear William Self telling us the story of how he won the
magic contest and performed on stage with him. Your efforts will
preserve the Thurston legacy long after all the witnesses are gone.
THANK YOU again for such a contribution to magic history! May there be
more installments by Rory Feldman Productions, and may there be more
narratives and research by you, Bill! (BTW, your diction is
- Norm and Lupe
Magicians, Collectors, and Historians
visual and audio treat awaits the purchaser of this DVD that was
created to honor the greatest magician who ever lived; Howard
- Ron Pascu
Illusionist, Historian, and Collector
"I spent a very enjoyable afternoon yesterday watching 'When Thurston
Came To Town.' Now, I know what you are thinking, I should have been
out playing tennis or running a marathon but no, I was lounging on my
sofa watching, with great joy, the story of the world's greatest
magician (the title really fit him like a glove). Like so many
others, I regret not having seen the Thurston show. I guess it was
about 1932 (I was 12) when I listened to the Thurston radio program
and sent away for his magic booklet. I remember his sponsor was the
Swift meat packing company. I don't know what happened to the booklet
but I still have a mental picture of the orange cover with a drawing
of the master. You did a great service to the magic community
with this DVD. It will be viewed and enjoyed by magicians for
decades. I can certainly appreciate the time and effort you put into
Famous Children's Magic Show Performer
"Thurston deserves every minute on this comprehensive
DVD. He was the man people said he was and more."
- Charles Reynolds
Co-Author of 100 Years of Magic
"Last night at 11:00p, I decided to
take a look at your Thurston DVD. I was going to spend a few
minutes and then watch it later. THE TEXT, THE VIDEO MOVING
PICTURES, THE STILL PHOTOS FROM MANY YEARS AGO, AND BILL RAUSCHER'S
VOICE AND APPEARANCE WERE ALL SO UNBELIEVABLY AMAZING THAT I COULD
NOT TAKE MY EYES AWAY FROM THE SCREEN!!! I WAS GLUED TO EVERY
SINGLE FRAME UNTIL 2:00a THIS MORNING. CONGRATULATIONS ON A SUPERB,
SUPERIOR, SUPER SUPER SUPER PRESENTATION! I shall study this
treasure and feel the excitement time and time again. This is the
Adele Friel Rhindress
Blackstone Sr.'s "Elusive Moth"
few days ago I received a copy of your DVD: When Thurston Came to
Town. Unbelievable! I have watched and listened.
It was like being transported into another dimension. You forget
everything around you while you penetrate the soul and artistic life
of this Maestro. I enjoyed every second of it, and I will
treasure it. Also, I like the compendium booklet; the written
biography you did. In my library I have 8-10 books of the
Master, but I never enjoyed so much the "visual" life of Thurston as I
did with your DVD. Please give my compliments to Rory Feldman
for the beautiful cover, and all the work of graphic prints."
"This amazing DVD is a rich panorama of Howard Thurston's fabulous
career and a celebration of the Golden Age of Magic. Never
before have so many rare and one-of-a-kind photographs, movies, and
voice recordings of a great figure in magic made available. For
two and a half hours, hundreds of rare images of Howard Thurston
appear on the screen, one after another, as the host of the program,
noted magic historian Bill Rauscher, leads the viewer through the
exciting days "When Thurston Came To Town." More than three
years in preparation, this elaborately produced video combines the
recollections of those who knew Thurston or saw him perform with a
virtual tour of Rory Feldman's incredible collection of Howard
Thurston memorabilia. (For more information on Rory Feldman and
his astounding collection of over 25,000 pieces of Thurston
memorabilia, see Bill Rauscher's article in the February 2010 issue of
The Linking Ring.) Over twenty five audio and video
commentaries, mostly by Thurston's contemporaries, provide personal
insight into the great magician. As John Calvert, Walter B.
Gibson, Dorny, Bill Self, John Booth, and many others talk about their
experiences with Thurston, his power to impress and influence others
becomes apparent. Ten video segments of Thurston and five
recordings of his voice also provide insight into his warmth, dignity,
and charm. Thurston's stage presence, evident in films of his
shows, confirms that he was the foremost magician of his day, leading
the field with "The Wonder Show of the Universe." -- certainly worth a
hundred dollars -- high production values -- The DVD is package with a
beautifully designed folder and slipcase. It includes a booklet
of thirty-two pages, containing a 1928 biography of Thurston from an
original manuscript in the Feldman collection, illustrated with rare
photos of Thurston. For those of us who have only read about
Thurston and have tried to imagine what the star of "The Wonder Show
of the Universe" was really like, this DVD is a time machine back to
the hey-day of magic when Thurston came to town. Now we
understand why, for example, John Calvert still raves about Thurston
in 2010 -- and he saw the show in 1919! Highly recommended."
- Samuel Patrick Smith
Editor of The Linking Ring
Reviewed in the December 2010 The Liking Ring
"Congratulations to you and Bill on a very pretty,
informative, and well-produced collection of important material. You
did a great job."
- Jim Steinmeyer
Famous Illusion Designer, Inventor, Magician, Author & Historian
Author of "The Last Greatest Magician In The World"
finished viewing your Thurston DVD I only have one word to describe
this most comprehensive collection on Thurston, MAGNIFICENT!!!
I now know more about Thurston than I know about myself. Great job on
this wonderful reference for the beginner or professional entertainer.
As they say, the more you know about history the more you'll
understand the workings about almost anything or anyone. Once again,
congrats and wonderful job!"
- Gene Voshell
Historian, and Collector
magicians and then there was Thurston. Thanks to Mr. Feldman, this
artist finally gets the attention he deserves. This DVD is required
viewing for everyone with a true love of the theatre."
Historian, and Collector