Dell O'Dell biography photo bio woman female lady magician Queen of Magic Dorothy Dietrich First photos women Adalliade Adelaide Herrmann Joan brandon Charles Carrer, Frank Van Hoven

Dell O'
Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

Part 1, The first half.

Copyright 2010 by Dick Brookz, Houdini Museum, Scranton, PA. Thanks to Dorothy Dietrich, David Charvet and many others.

Born Oct 02, 1897 Lemonweir, Juneau, Wisconsin- Died Feb 5, 1962, Santa Monica, California

Although Dell claimed to be born Oct. 20, 1902, in Kansas, USA, our research at and the Houdini Museum into the file of the Wisconsin Births and Christenings, 1826-1926 for Newton finds that...

in Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C00315-7 System Origin: Wisconsin-EASy Source Film Number: 1302882 Reference Number: item 2-3 p 96 2188

she was born to Father's Name: William Newton, and Mother's Name: Weston Forand on 02 Oct 1897 in Lemonweir, Juneau, Wisconsin.

Not surprising as what woman would have wanted to list their birth date as before the turn of the century!!! Our apologies to Dell.

Dell O'Dell was the stage name of Nell Odella Newton, an American magician who is regarded as one of the few pioneers who provided a role model for modern female performers. She was one of the most successful female magicians of the first half of the 20th Century. She specialized in snappy and cute rhyming patter, a quick wit and lots of promotional material.

Dell O'Dell is noted for being one of the first magicians, male or female, to appear on television. For a time she called herself "The Funsation Femagician." At the height of her career she was billed as "The Queen of Magic." [1]

Other pioneer woman who helped crash magic's glass ceiling would include Adelaide Herrmann, Joan Brandon and Dorothy Dietrich.
Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician   Dorothy Dietrich female woman magic magician

William "Lucky Bill" Newton married his second wife, Weston (Daisey Bell) Forand, and they had a daughter Nell, or Nellie (Odelia or Della) Newton who grew up to be the famous magician, Dell O'Dell.
Her father William Newton was a traveling circus performer, organizer and promoter.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

Nell Newton was known to her family as Odelia or Della. O'Dell grew up in Kansas and early on learned performance skills from her father and other entertainers.

Nell Newton's father worked in and ran large circuses, one of thee first to truck them around the mid west. Dell probably, early on, worked in the "girlie shows".

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician
O'Dell grew up in this surrounding for a while, before moving on to juggling and magic. Her father was well known in the fielld. William "Lucky Bill" Newton operated the as "Lucky Bill" Show from 1880 to 1917, his son, Dell O'Dell's half brother, William Newton, Jr. used the "Honest Bill" Show title 1903-17, in 1918, 1920 and 1922. Bill Newton, Jr. also called his show "Honest Bill-Lucky Bill".

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

She learned to do juggling and acrobatics at an early age, becoming an advocate of womens health and physical fitness later. As a young woman, she combined educational heath-related lectures with demonstrations using originally designed exercise gadgets. As a teenager, O'Dell became fanatical about exercise. She developed a sort of "strong-woman act" and claimed the title Miss Physical Culture. In her shows at the time, her finish was balancing a 6 foot divan on her chin.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

Odella Newton in 1917 was listed as press agent for he half brother's "Honest Bill's" Shows (William's son) . She would have been about 19 at the time. Her fathers "Lucky Bill" Show also traveled the same year with animals including elephants, eight trucks and twelve wagons. His shows also included at times camels and a pigmy rhino. He and Jr. also raised horses, and usually had a horse(s) named Cupid that did an educated horse routine. Known in the trade as pickers.

Very old picture of Dell's father doing a balancing act, Dell herself would later do a balancing act.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

At some point on her way to fame, Nell ODella Newton changed her name to the stage name Dell O'Dell. She became fascinated with the world of juggling and later magic and ultimately became one of the best-known women magicians nationally.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

Della O'Dell had a circus show with various animals and acrobats on the show, including elephants, camels and trained dogs, as well as an educated horse, or picker as they are called. By secret signal from its trainer the horse magically appears to multiply, add, subtract, find articles, etc. She learned her skills from her father and other show people. She later became proficient in juggling and magic.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

As a juggler, she went under the name Dottie O'Dell, and was juggler

PRYDE SHANNON's first partner before he teamed up with Alice Daye.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

One particular publicity stunt memorialized was a photo of young Dottie O'Dell, working with Pride Shannon, standing precariously on the top ledge of a five-story Jamestown Hotel building juggling clubs. "She did have a rope around her!" Juggler Art Jennings confessed. Photographers from Look Magazine, Post-Journal and FOX Movietone News were there.

She married Charles Carrer, (Birth Date: Oct 12, 1898 Died: Dec 25, 1971) a famous juggler known as who was billed as "The Swiss Juggler" and "The King of Jugglers". He was born in Zurich, Switzerland as Karl Karrer. We have not yet established where or when they were married, but would have probably been in the 1920's. He starred in vaudeville and appeared in two feature films, "Du Barry Did All Right": (in which he appeared as a waiter who juggles wine glasses and bottles) and "Dexterity" (both in 1937). He appeared on the TV show "You Asked For It" and contributed to Max Holden's book Manual of Juggling (1947).

Charles Carrer female woman magic magician

He was a accomplished juggler from the old country, and while he was juggling, he would use the expression "OH BOY!" during every juggling trick. It was a running gag. Charles Carrer says in his article in Popular Mechanics for July 1936, "I began juggling to improve my eyesight and this eventually led me into the entertainment field. Several years ago, while working in a factory in Switzerland, I suffered an eye strain and a specialist suggested I take up juggling in a mild form to strengthen my optic muscles. With this in mind, I began learning a few simple turns and within a few months I had progressed to the point where my services were in demand at company parties and church socials. In a short time my eye trouble disappeared, and I have never been bothered since. Glasses are a rarity among the followers of this lively art."

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician  

Dell O'Dell entered vaudeville with a kind of a balancing act. According to the following article (Reading Eagle - Aug 30, 1928) it included a Pyramid built by a "girl and two men.",5364064&dq=dell-o-dell&hl=en

In an article in the Reading Eagle - Aug 31, 1928
Vaudeville at Park Theater in Reading. Dell O'Dell balances a heavy full sized parlor couch on her head and then walked up a ladder and down the rungs on the other side. See similar picture above being done by her father.

Vaudeville Bill At Park Theatre. Sep 1, 1928,
The Park Theatre presents for the last time tonight Dell O'Dell and company in Pyramid, "remarkable feats of strength"

In the Youngstown Vindicator. Jun 24, 1931
An article mentions Dell O'Dell "Visiting husband juggler Charles Carrer appearing at the Keith Palace. It mentions she has a "school of physical culture in NY and was a comedian. This is probably when she was transitioning from a balancing act to Frank Van Hoven's comedy magic act. This makes it clear she wanted to carry on as a seperate act. They probably realized that to book a juggler and a balancing act in the same show as they traveled would not be easy. A comedy or magic act would, however, be possible to book on the same show.

Charles Carrer managed her show and constructed her trademark clever and special props.. Her husband was a extraordinary prop builder, which is necessary for a good magic act. Charles continued his own act and also would manage Dell's magic career.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

According to Source Information at: California Department of Health Years: 1960 to 1985. collection of California marriage records provided by the California Department of Health. contains data from marriage certificates registered in California from 1960 to 1985. He married again, after Dell O'Dell died in 1962, in 1971, at age 73, to Doris Stahlberg (Scott by previouse marriage) Birth Date. 1933, age: 38 Marriage Date: Sep 2, 1971 Marriage Location: Los Angeles, CA He died about 3 months later in California at the age of 73 on December 25, 1971.

[1][2][3][4] "

SEPTEMBER 29, 1927.
58th & 3rd
Dell O'Dell gives an original novelty, her routine being that of handling large furniture with ease, doing unbelievable superhuman feats of strength, interspersed with singing and dancing.

JUNE 28, 1929
Dell O'Dell
That Versatile Artist
"A Very Original Novelty" A Company of 4 Clever Performers
Miss Dell O'Dell, equilibrist, opens the show and opens her act with a singing specialty, after which she does some balancing stunts with a heavy piece of furniture.

Dexterity, versatility and ability are the outstanding features of the offering presented by Miss Dell O'Dell, who completes the roster of vaudeville. She sings, dances. plays musical Instruments and performs some sensational and thrilling balancing feats.

JANUARY 3,1931
Following is Dell O'Dell, the female Frank Van Hoven. Miss O'Dell Is known as the greatest comedienne in vaudeville and proves herself rightly so by the tremendous applause at each performance.

JANUARY 8, 1931
Dell O'Dell, the "Dippy Mad Magician," puts over an amusing act.

The Utica Observer Dispatch
January 8. 1931
Variety— At the Colonial Theater
Dell O'Dell
The Dippy Mad Magician
wisecracking chatter... Dell O'Dell skids on stage to offer a nut magician act which is carried along by her Jovial personality .... rather than from any feats of magic she performs. The young woman provides a tonic for an indigo disposition and her performance last night received tha heaviest palm clatter on the bill.

FEBRUARY 1,1933.
Charles Carrer International Juggler
Dell O'Dell & Co., "Dippy Magician"

FEBRUARY 3,1933.
ENJOY Theater
Opening the bill is Charles Carrer, famous International juggler. Dell O'Dell and Company supply the comedy with "The Dippy Magician;"

ENJOY Theater
Tonight marks the close ef the vaudeville program at the Enjoy, which features, Naomi Price and her Black Kit Four, Charles Carrer International Juggler, Dell O'Dell and company

APRIL 11, 1934.
Announcement of the signing of Mr. Carrer gives further assurance that the entertainment to be given at the charity ball will excel that of former years, Mr. Sehenek already had announced that Dell O'Dell. regarded as one of the funniest women on the stage, would be on the program.

APRIL 13. 1934.
Municipal Auditorium.
Mr Sihenck previously had announced the signing of Dell O'DelL who recently finished a long engagement at the Palladium Theatre London and Charles Carrer, famed Swiss juggler.

June 27, 1936
HELEN WERHLE, featured in EAT! Carroll Vftm'tie. '30**31
DELL O' DELL, Magic Wit and Humor
PAXTON—Ripley'* Mtntal Marvel
9W—4 Miles South of K|ng»ton, N. Y,

JUNE 4, 1937.
Dell O'Dell of Hen Rellly's Arrowhead Inn. who made such a hit at the UP A Food and Progress Show recently and entertained at the UPA banquet, was back again and as the "World's Leading Lady Magician", alternately mystified and humorlzed Her audience, save for those few unfortunates who took part "by request'' in Her act. However, It was all in fun, and mystery and humor put everyone In an excellent mood creating a spirit of good fellowship.

MARCH 26,1937
The spirit of Spring permeates the air of the Hotel St. George Italian Gardens, with Dell O'Dell delivering a rhyming routine while she performs her feats of magic

Early on Dell O'Dell bought the rights to the comedy magic act of Frank Van Hoven, (Frank Raymond Van Hoven (Born February 5 1886, Sioux City Iowa- Died January 11, 1929, Birmingham, England) and was successful with her own version.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magicianY  

Van Hoven at first tried juggling and then magic at the suggestion of Dante the magician. He was a failure at both and his magic act was said to be embarrassing and laughable. He then saw William J. Hilliar in vaudeville who was doing a burlesque comedy magic act at the time and took the concept to new heights that made Van Hoven famous.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magicianYy  

William John Hilliar (November 27, 1876 - November 15, 1936), born in England. He was a professional magician that performed in vaudeville. Wrote Novel Hand Shadows (1900). In the January 1901 issue of Mahatma, it was announced that he would start to contribute a column of interesting ideas to the paper beginning with the next issue. The first article would be devoted to shadow pictures. He moved to the United States in 1902. Founded Sphinx magazine in March 1902. He ghost-wrote Howard "Thurston's Card Tricks" (1901) He also ghost-wrote T. Nelson Down's book "Modern Coin Manipulation" and wrote his own book "Modern Magician's Hand Book" (1902). and wrote the column on magic for The Billboard magazine. He once performed, in disguise, as Howard Thurston while Thurston was sick and got a standing ovation. For many years he was with the Barnum and Bailey Circus and other large circuses in charge of the side shows. Hilliar committed suicide by shooting himself just before his 60th birthday.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magicianYy   Dell O'Dell female woman magic magicianYy  

Van Hoven did a satire on magicians and extensively used stooges in his act. One of his bits, that Dell o'Dell would do after he died was called "The Act That Made Ice Famous." This famous bit had as many as three youngsters come on stage and have one hold a large cake of ice, while he would attempt to make a handkerchief vanish that was to appear inside the cake of ice as the freezing helper was holding it. He also used to pull a dopey-looking fellow out of the audience after an argument up on stage. Famous columnist Walter Winchell was known to comment on Van Hoven's signature gimmick of talking back to himself. He was also known to try in a cumbersome manner to construct a "magic box" out of some pieces of wood, on stage telling the aucience he would assemble them into a box and make a live dog appear. He then proceeded to attempt to put the box together. Pieces would fall over, he would have it nearly assembled and it would collapse, etc. etc. Finally, after several minutes of frustration and audience laughter, after bumbling thorugh it all, Van Hoven would yell, "LET THE DOG DIE!" and throw all of the pieces off stage. It was a riot. Audiences were known to go into histeria laughing at him to the etxtent he said he was leaving the stage while they were laughing to go next door to the bar and have a drink. He was one of the first of very funny rare burlesque magic acts to follow.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician 

Here is a quote from a writer explaining what he does, "exceptional mad magician of Frank Van Hoven. Van Hoven carries farther than anyone else the appearance of not knowing the audience is to be amused. He complains in a mutter of the presence of human beings, individually probably all right, but en masse . . . ! He leaves the stage and passes out of the auditorium, bidding the audience amuse itself while he's gone. And his great finale, with a bowl of goldfish, a handkerchief in a trunk, a table covered with a cloth, an inflated paper bag, and a revolver shot-at the sound of which exactly nothing happens, is the last word in destroying... the magician and all his works.", Frank Van Hoven was one of the most succesful comedians in vaudeville. In the early 1900's he was making as much as $10,000.00 a week. About three times what Houdini was earning. He performed the top theaters in the world. The B. F. Keith's Palace Theatre in New York in 1927, in which he was billed as "The Mad Magician," as well as The Brighton Hippodrome, where he was presented as "The American Dippy Mad Magician." Van Hoven first set out to become a juggler .On seeing him practice, Harry Jansen (later becoming Dante) advised him to take up magic instead. Not faring well at being a traditional serious performer, he transformed his magic act into a comedy routine where nothing went right.

Click here for three chapters in Will Goldston's book, "Sensational Tales of Mystery Men" on Frank Van Hoven.

Frank Van Hoven female woman magic magician

The above picture is from Variety. Van Hoven was billed as the "Mad Magician" and "The Man Who Made Ice Famous", with the routine that would have a "volunteer" from the audience holding a large block of ice during his act while he kept trying to make a borrowed handkerchief appear inside it.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

Dell O'Dell doing a promotion for the ice act in front of a theatre.

Van Hoven died of pneumonia on his second tour of England. He was famous enough to warrant an obituary in the New York Times.

To continue click here for part 2. Dell O'Dell, the second half-the magic years

Click here for story of Frank Van Hoven as in Will Goldston's Sensational Tales of Mystery Men.

Click here for an extensive biography on William "Lucky Bill" Newton, Dell O'Dell's Father, and half brother "Honest Bill.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

Lucky Bills only daughter, Della Newton, claimed to be born in 1902, and lived a life filled with entertaining others. Being the daughter of "Lucky Bill", she grew up surrounded by entertainers and in front of the spotlight.

Although it is not the scope of this site to go into detail, here are pictures of a few ground breaking women of magic.

Adelaide Herrmann

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

Joan Brandon

Joan Brandon female woman magic magicianH Joan Brandon female woman magic magicianJ Joan Brandon female woman magic magicianI Joan Brandon female woman magic magicianK Joan Brandon female woman magic magician Joan Brandon female woman magic magician Joan Brandon female woman magic magician Joan Brandon female woman magic magician Joan Brandon female woman magic magicianH Joan Brandon female woman magic magician Joan Brandon female woman magic magician

Joan Brandon female woman magic magician Joan Brandon female woman magic magician Joan Brandon female woman magic magician Joan Brandon female woman magic magician Joan Brandon female woman magic magician
Joan Brandon 1955 and Joan Brandon 1969

Dorothy Dietrich

Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magicianu Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magiciand Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magicianf Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magiciank Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magicianq Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magiciang Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magicianw Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magiciane Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magiciani Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magiciana Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magicianm Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magicianz Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magicianr Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magicians Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magiciant Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magicianx Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magicianb Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magicianc Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magicianh Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magicianp Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magician Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magiciany Dorothy Dietrich female woman lady magic magicianj

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Click here for part 2. Dell O'Dell, the second half-the magic years

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

Click here for an extensive biography on William "Lucky Bill" Newton, Dell O'Dell's Father as well as "Honest Bill." her half brother.

Website of Scranton Fun Magical Mystery Entertainer Dick Brookz

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