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.com

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

Part 2, The second half.

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

She eventually incorporated magic into her act and began making a name for herself in the 1930's, 40's and 50's. O'Dell would mingle with the audience before her performance began, so that "by the time she was doing the show, they were already on her side,"

She became a highly successful night club performer appearing in most major New York clubs as well as other major cities. She was also a favored performer for society functions.

O'Dell featured for a time her version of the BAR ACT; the props made by Carrer.
 Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

Dell usually had animals in her act. Here she is pictured with doves and rabbits. After her early years traveling with elephants, horses, a rhino and camels, doves and rabbits had to seem simple to her.

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In June of 1940 the IBM convention was put on in Davenport Iowa. Performing were many fine acts of the day. Al Baker, Al Saal, Dell O'Dell, Eugene Laurent, Paul LePaul, Ed Reno, Dorny, Bill Baird, Doc Mahendra, Tony Kardyro, and Clem Magrum.

A friend was quoted as saying '"We were always doing casual dates together, especially Christmas shows. At one of the shows, I told Dell that I had found five abandoned Barn Owl chicks and I was raising them. There was a serious expression on her face when she asked me, "What do you plan to do with them and are they tame?" Of course I proudly said yes, and believe it or not, they were. I hand fed them horse meat every day and I could move then with confidence from a gloved hand to a perch. The owls became very docile and easy to handle. I guess she was impressed because she asked me if I would like to sell them. When I asked her why, she said, "As you know, I use birds and rabbits in my act, but I think it would be very unusual to use five owls in a Magic trick. I don't remember if I sold them or gave the owls to her, but she did create a trick where the owls appeared and disappeared, only to reappear again in a little red barn. Later Dell told me that she had turned them loose in the countryside up in the hills of North Hollywood."

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

In the 1940's, O'Dell developed a style that featured witty dialogue, live animals, snappy patter and cute rhymes, which became a trademark of hers. She was highly organized and her patter notebooks were organized by category of trick and contained the scripts for hundreds of magical effects O'Dell would perform, everything from illusions to close-up and pocket tricks. Many scripts were written or typed in the rhyming patter that was O'Dell's trademark. Dell O'Dell possessed the ability of magical versatility. She could perform before an audience of any setting; whether it be in front of a group of sailors, in night clubs, theaters, or banquet halls, or in the next moment perform a children's birthday party and be completely appropriate in all venues. Her occasionally bawdy sense of humor and her sly innuendos prompted gossip columnist Elsa Maxwell to quip, after a party, "There was the roughest lady magician, Dell O'Dell, whose libido was as free as if we were at an Elk's Convention." She did another act apparently that was not of a family nature. I heard that she could cuss with the best of them. Dell could handle a room full of drunks in a night club with a string of expletives that would make a sailor blush! She coud be one "tough lady." Dell O'Dell's act featured rabbits, doves, ducks, and goldfish, and her business acumen and work ethic all really propelled her forward. Her name graced books, stamp albums, dolls, hand cream, puzzles, novelties, magic shops-you name it, she branded it.

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As she criss crossed the country working top supper clubs, she traveled in style. Instead of packing and unpacking in hotels she had a top of the line trailer to make her life on the road as comfortable as possible.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

To give one an idea of some of the many routines she did here are a few blurbs from various sources.
"Then came Dell O'Dell to close the show with her fast and unusual Magic, the hit of which for Magicians and the public alike were her parasol trick, rabbit production, and Sands of India, which in the hands of this performer seemed like miracles. She also presented in her own inimitable fashion the chopper guillotine, rose bush, linking rings, duck pan production."

"Dell O'Dell then appeared and for the next thirty minutes the crowd was regaled with the wonders the "Queen of Magic" performed for them rabbit productions, passe bottles, an umbrella trick, sand and sugar, the blooming rose bush (from which she cut a dozen or more real roses to pass out to ladies in the audience), winding up with a clock production with a giant alarm clock as a climax."

ODell married Charles Carrer, an expert juggler who was born in Switzerland. She had met him backstage. They lived in Long Island, New York, entertaining large crowds at posh venues. He was dubbed the King of Jugglers and she the Queen of Magic. They also loved to entertain friends at the couples home, which was filled with custom-designed metal furniture, including a collapsible chair, which provided amusement for all. In an article titled, Dell ODell on Both Sides of the Footlight, which tells the short story of her life of fame, the author writes, Although Dell has played before the most famous people in modern history, she never forgets she owes a debt to the less fortunate. She is the favorite in orphanages, crippled childrens homes and institutions throughout the country. Dell travels 75,000 miles a year giving magical performances, but never fails to go to hospitals and other like places where she puts on a full show at her own expense. [5]

She pre-dated several other noted pioneers of television magic, such as Mark Wilson, whose first television show began in 1955, and Richiardi Jr who made the first of his record run of appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956. She became a pioneer of television magic when "The Dell O'Dell Show" began transmission on a local station in the Los Angeles area in California on 14 September 1951. ItS was one of the first, if not the first, regularly broadcast magic programs. KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles gave her her own TV show that aired for more then one season. Each week she would present a half hour themed magic show that was always different........never repeating a trick.It was a weekly half-hour show picked up by all ABC-TV stations in 1951. The Dell O'Dell Fan Club was also quite successful, having one of the largest memberships for any such club devoted to a magician. At its height it numbered up to 20,000 members. Her quick humor added to the event to make her a standout, and later, a national hit. She formed the Friends of Magic Club, which boasted more than 20,000 enthusiasts. Considerable time and money was spent sending notices to each club member, at regular intervals, telling about something new in the magic world. She distributed hundreds of thousands of souvenirs and magical novelties to the club members over the years.

Billboard - Aug 31, 1946
Fun Time Frolics highlights the hilarious Gene Sheldon, master pantomimer, and Dell O'Dell, femme mystifier, who lead a solid supporting pack thru 90 minutes of sock entertainment... Difficult spot of following Sheldon proved no handicap to Miss O'Dell. She won 'em immediately with her wide variety of legerdemain and pleasant line of fresh chatter. Table sitters got a terrific kick out of her money on the bunny bit and she garnered a walloping round of applause at the bow-off. Her distribution of magic favors between shows endeared her all the more to patrons.

Billboard - Oct 23, 1948 - Page 47
Dell O'Dell and Charles Carrer opened Friday(15) at the Club Norman, Toronto for a two week stand, ... Dell O'Dell at Percy Abbott's recent magic shindig at Colon, Mich.

Billboard - Jun 26, 1948 - Page 41
Magic -By Bill Sachs- DELL O'DELL and Charles Carrer shoot us a set of 13 photos to describe pictorially their new $16000 custom-built Duo Empress trailer in which they are making their home while on the road these days... Dell and Charley, who closed a months engagement at the Brown Hotel, Louisville, Saturday (19), hopped to Mackinac Island, Mich., where they play for the Michigan Automobile Dealers' Convention June 22 and another conclave two days later On June 28 they open at the Nixon Cafe, Pittsburgh, for two weeks, and August 20 they move into the Plantation Club, Moline, Ill. They are planning to fly to Reno for the forthcoming convention of the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians.

Billboard - Jun 29, 1959 - Page 53
Gene (Bat Masterson) Barry made a personal appearance at the fair Sunday (21). A variety show headlined by Craig (Peter Gunn) Stevens highlighted the program on the closing day. On the program with him were Dell O'Dell, magician... Charles Carrer, Juggler; ...

Billboard - Jul 15, 1944
Wildwood off to big season... Setting the pace is Club Avalon formerly operated by Frank Palumbo and now owned by Eddie Suez, Philadelphia Booker. The percenter embarks on a bonifacing career with a bill that has Dell O'Dell, Johnny Cahill and Elaine Barrett sharing the spotlight, supporting with Shannon and Mein, Nat Raye, Bill Henrique's dance line, with music by Lou Del Rlo's

Billboard - Oct 30, 1943
Magic's-A-Poppin at the Barbizon Plaza Concert Hall, New York October 16th. Featured were Dell O'Dell an Charles Carrer.
Waldorf Astoria American Music Operators' Association. Billy Glason acted as emsee, and the show included Dell O'Dell, Ken Whlttmer; Day, Dawn and Dusk; Herman Hyde, Lewis and Ames and Mollie Picon. Guest stars included Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Tommy Tucker, Amy Arnell, Tommy Dorsey, The Ink Spots an many others.

Billboard - May 11, 1946 - Page 53
Dell O'Dell is back as headliner at the Bowery, Detroit.

Billboard - Sep 4, 1943
DuMont Television Variety 8:30-10 p.m.. Dell O'Dell, lady magician, who just finished an 18-month Park Central engagement, literally brought out her bag of tricks, accomplished her feats of fast- finger fumbling while carrying on a continuous patter set to rhyme. Cameramen were on their toes in this date, and not once did they fail to keep her in focus.

Billboard - Jul 27, 1946
Typically, Dell O'Dell, topflight fern magician, recently drew a house of 2500 youngsters including the pre- teens, probably setting an all-time house for a Bowery show, since the spot seats only 1500 normally.

Billboard - Apr 5, 1952 - Page 29
Hilo, Hawaii. "Show of Shows" The Ladd Sisters, singers; Dell O'Dell, magician; Charles Carrer, juggler, and The Ballanlines, harmonica players.

Billboard - Apr 10, 1943
DELL O'DELL, that lovely magic lady from up New York way, grabs off a fine spot in the April issue of the f emme mag Calling All Girls. The article, headed. "Mistress of Mystery," portrays in colored cartoon fashion Miss O'Dell's entrance into show business and pictures of her most thrilling experiences in the role of a magicienne. The picture story takes up five pages. Incidentally, that new eight-page press brochure being mailed out these days by Miss o"Dell is a honey, too. After looking it over, one can readily understand why she is one of the busiest magic artists in the business.

Billboard- Feb 2, 1957 - Page 67
Dell O'Dell was the star at Ivar Theater in Hollywood for two months. Following is small part of a two-column review in the Los Angeles Times, Aug. 2, 1956: "They've got a lady Houdini out at the Ivar Theater named Miss Dell O'Dell, one of the very few practicing 'magiciennes around, and let it be noted that she takes second place to no man in the legerdermain league."

Billboard - Oct 14, 1957 - Page 69
five-day San Bernardino Fair will exceed 35.000, more than 5,000 over 1956. Acts included Bill Jacobs, musical act; Willie Keo, dry diver; the Maxwells, acrobatic pantomime; The Buxel- los, acrobatic trio; Bobby Sargent, comic; Dolores and Darlen, trampoline; Wilbur Hall and Renee, comedy; Dell O'Dell, magic. Miss O'Dell played the show for four nights.

Billboard - Aug 11, 1945
DELL O'DELL closed a four-week stand July 29 at the Bowery, Detroit, setting an all-time attendance record for the spot.

Billboard - Aug 3, 1946
Dell O'Dell and Charles Carrer ... they are current at the Henry Grady Hotel.

Billboard - Jun 4, 1949
Dell O'Dell and Charles Carrer closed Saturday (28) at the Shoreham Hotel, Washington, and hit out for the IBM convention in Chicago, where they are set for the Headliners' Show at the Eighth Street Theater Thursday (2). Dell and Charly open June 10 at the Pastime Club, Des Moines.

Billboard - Aug 16, 1947
DELL O'DELL and Charles Carrer, after two weeks at the Silver Frolics, Chicago, where their work attracted numerous word-posies from local newspaper crix, returned August 4 to Chez Ami, Buffalo for two weeks with options. This will be followed with a return to Alpine Village, Cleveland, and a possible repeater at the Lookout House, Covington, Ky. They are set for December at the Henry Grady Hotel Atlanta, Another return Engagement.

Billboard - Jun 6, 1942
Climactic affair was Saturday evening show in Barbizon's theater. Dell O'Dell closed first half. Dell O'Dell's display of magic at the Park Central Hotel (where she was performing) was a meeting place for delegates thruout the two days.

Billboard - Apr 13, 1946
DELL O'DELL and Charles Carrer closed Sunday (7) at the Chez Ami, Buffalo, and hopped to Philadelphia, where they open April 15 for a six-day run at Snelensburg's department store. They follow that with return engagements at the Bowery, Detroit, and the Tick-Tock-Walkie, Cleveland.

Billboard - Oct 16, 1948 - Page 52
Dell O'Dell and Charles Carrer are the subjects of an article, "Trailerites Worth Knowing," in the September issue of Trailer Travel Magazine. In addition to a bit of magical lore on Dell and Charles, the yarn gives a plug to their new deluxe trailer, said to be the last word on wheels.

Billboard - Jan 10, 1948 - Page 39
Dell O'Dell and Charles Carrer are wowing 'em in the usual fashion in the Paradise Room of the Henry Grady Hotel, Atlanta.

Billboard- Apr 25, 1942
DELL O'DELL, the magicienesse, : and her juggler hubby, Charles Carrer, cracked the May issue of Spot magazine?] with three pages of photos and a story describing their home life under the heading "Suburban Madhouse," Dell and Charley also made the May issue of Good Housekeeping and The american Magazine, and are slated to pop up soon in Dale Carnegies's syndicated column.

Billboard- Jun 12, 1948 - Page 43
Dell O'Dell and Charles Carrer are in their third week of a month's engagement at the Brown Hotel, Louisville.

Billboard- Jul 22, 1944
DELL O'DELL has taken her bag of tricks into Eddie Suez's Club Avalon, Wildwood, N, J., for the rest of the summer. . . .

Billboard- Aug 30, 1947
Also on the bills will be Dell O'Dell, Charles Carrer, Marquis, Paul Le- Paul, Al Flosso, Lester Lake, Gene Gordon, the Lawrences, Karrell Fox, Duke Stern and others.

Billboard- Apr 25, 1953 - Page 74
Among the acts are Aubrey and Company, Harry Kahne, Dell O'Dell, Max Terhune, Charles Carrer, Johnny Mack and Neil Foster.

Billboard- Aug 10, 1946
Dell O'Dell and Charles Carrer take their magic and juggle nifties into the Lookout House, Covington, Ky., August 21, for a fortnight's stand.

Billboard- Jun 23, 1945
Dell O'Dell and Charley Career during the latter 's recent engagement at the Chez Ami, Buffalo.

Billboard- Dec 22, 1945
DELL O'DELL and Charles Carrcr concluded a two-weeker at Ghent Road ton, Akron, Monday (17), and headed for Buffalo for a repeater at the Chez Ami, where they scored six months ago .

Billboard- Mar 11, 1944
DELL O'DELL has drawn a holdover until June 25 at Sciolla's Cafe, Philadelphia

.Billboard- Aug 30, 1952 - Page 14
Newsreel, Dell O'Dell 2.1 KHJ

Billboard- Jul 31, 1954
Spokane 4 day swim show. In the dry-land portion will be Dell O'Dell magician, Charles Carrer Juggler.

Billboard- Jan 15, 1944
DELL O'DELL opened January 7 at Sciolla's Cafe, Philadelphia, for a four-week engagement, her first Philly appearance, Eddie Suck Agency, Philadelphia, made the booking.

Billboard- Sep 25, 1948 - Page 41
Dell O'Dell topped the show on the following night, and Edgar Bergen, with Cnarlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd,...

Billboard- Feb 12, 1944
DELL O'DELL hafi been renewed to continue indefinitely at Sciolla's Theater-Restaurant, Philadelphia. .

Billboard- Jan 12, 1946
DELL O'DELL and Charles Carrer were forced to postpone their Buffalo engagement to fill a previous commitment at Alpine Village, Cleveland, where they are set until January 19.

Billboard- Aug 31, 1959 - Page 61
Stapleton also had the talent at the King's County Fair, Hanford, Calif., which included Dell O'Dell, magic, and Charles Carrer, juggler, in for the entire four-day run.

Billboard- Apr 15, 1944
Dell O'Dell still here on a long run and we met her the other day for the- first time.

Billboard- Aug 7, 1948 - Page 41
After a two- week holdover at the Nixon Restaurant, Pitts- Dell O'Dell and Charles Carrer set until August 12 at. the Esquire Wichita, Kan. They open Au- 20 at the Plantation Club, Mo- to remain until September 2. when they will hit out for Percy Abbott's annual magic shindig at Colon, Mich. On September 13 they open at Jackie Heller's in Pittsburgh for two weeks and follow tat with a two-weeker at the Mount Royal Hotel, Montreal, beginning October 1,

Billboard- Mar 31, 1945 - Page 33
DELL O'DELL, with her bag of tricks and her hubby, Charlie Carrier, Juggler, open at Beverly Hills Country Club, Newport, Ky., March 30. It's their first night spot engagement in Greater Cincinnati.

Billboard- Jun 29, 1946
Four-day conclave was brought to a close Wednesday night (19) with a mammoth magic show at Keil Auditorium, with the program highlighting such magical satellites as Blackstsone, LuBrent, Charles Carrer, Dell O'Dell, ...

Billboard- Nov 25, 1950 - Page 47
Hawaii on the same plane with Dell O'Dell and Charles Carrer. currently showing their magic and juggle wares in the Islands.

Billboard- May 5, 1945
DELL O'DELL is in the midst of a four-weeker at Chez-Ami, Buffalo

Billboard- Jan 9, 1943
He caught Dell O'Dell's turn at the Park Central, New York, last week and says she's turning in a bang up job.

Billboard- Mar 2, 1946
DELL O'DELL and Charles Carrer closed Friday (22) in the Blue Room of the Brown Hotel, Louisville.

Billboard- Sep 23, 1950 - Page 60
Already signed and set to leave the end of this month to open at the Maui Fair October 12 are Dr. Giovanni, Dell O'Dell, lady magician; Charles Carrer, Swiss juggler;

Billboard- May 26, 1945
DELL O'DELL and Charles Carrer opened Monday (19) at Alpine Village, Cleveland, for a four- week stretch.

Billboard- Nov 11, 1950 - Page 55
Hollywood Cavalcade of stars 9 day run. Talent line-up includes Nancy Haynes, singer-emsee; Dell O'Dell, magician; Dude Kimball, comedy; Rima Rudina, violin; Charles Carrer, juggler; Marian Gay, dancer; Dr. Giovanni, pick pocket;

Billboard- Apr 27, 1959 - Page 52
Clowns Edwards and Valli along with Dell O'Dell and Charles Carrer are special attractions in the kiddie area during the full run of the exposition. DETROIT — Michigan State Fair

Billboard- Jan 31, 1953 - Page 44
Dell O'Dell's television stanza over KTLA, Los Angeles, has been upped from 15 minutes a week to a half an hour.


O'Dell wrote extensively on the subject of magic. She contributed a column titled "Dell-lightfully" for the magicians' magazine The Linking Ring.[1] She also produced a number of books of tricks and performance routines. Dell O'Dell's four pitchbooks (some compiled by Minneapolis printer Harry Bjorklund) were "Magical Moments" (1939), "Everybody's Fun" (1943), "A Book of Entertainment" (1944), and "Both Sides of the Footlights" (1946).

Other Magic Magazines she can be found in....

Conjurors' Magazine: Volume 1, No 10: SPEAKING OF PICTURES — The Royal Family of Magic Dell O'Dell and Charles Carrer
The New Conjurors' Magazine: Volume 4, No 7: MAGIC IN POLITICS — Dell O'Dell
No 8:
THE DELL-GALS
The New Conjurors' Magazine: Volume 3, No 2:
DUDLEY HOOVER—Dell O'Dell

The Sphinx Volume 38 John Mulholland
NO. 9: NOVEMBER 1939 Dell O'Dell.Page 216
The Sphinx Volume 39
  The Gen Volume 19 Harry Stanley & Lewis Ganson 

The Sphinx Volume 45 NO. 7: SEPTEMBER 1946
Dell-ightful Hand Cream.

SPIHNX NO. 9: NOVEMBER 1940
The Vanishing Wands. By Dell O'Dell.214

Her "Stamp Album" presentation was published in volume 4 of the Tarbell Course in Magic.

MUM Society of American Magicians Magazine, August, 2007, by Julie Sobanski  

Use Your Illusion, A mystical history of the women who broke the lovely assistant mold and sawed the boys' club of magic in half", Bust Magazine, June/July 2008 [6]

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As successful entertainers, O'Dell and Carrer moved to Santa Monica when night clubs and supper clubs throughout the country began to close. They enjoyed the fruits of their labor. The two threw regular pool side parties for their show biz friends; the jugglers were the dominant ones. She purchased the Abbotts Magic Store in Hollywood when they closed down after a magician's "flash paper" fire. She was a magic shop owner in Southern California in the 1950s. Magicians called it the pickle factory because she kept many of the delicate props sealed in glass jars to protect them as she also did in her wharehouse that stored her show props..

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Dell O'Dell continued to perform until 48 hours before her death from cancer at age 59. Her half sister, Alice Rosella (Mary) Velliquette Jensen Donald Snyder, has been quoted as saying, She died of multiple myoloma cancer in Santa Monica, CA and donated her body to UCLA Medical School. Nell Newton changed her name legally to Dell O'Dell. Her death record is in California Records as Carrer, Dell O. Birthdate 10/20/1902. Birthplace Wisconsin. Death place Los Angeles, California. Death Date 2/05/1962. age 59.

O'Dell provided a role model for modern female entertainers influencing subsequent generations.

[1] "Dell O'Dell". MagicPedia. Genii. http://geniimagazine.com/wiki/index.php/Dell_O%27Dell<
[2.] "Brief Biographies of Magic Inventors N-O-P". magicnook.com. http://magicnook.com/forum/bioNOP.htm,
[3] "Magicians' Biographies". magictricks.com Library. magictricks.com. http://www.magictricks.com/bios/whoswho-o.htm,
[4.] Dell O'Dell at the Internet Movie Database
[5] Dell O'Dell Show at the Internet Movie Database.
[6] "Presenting Magical Moments (and more)". AbeBooks. http://www.abebooks.de/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=1086958156&searchurl=vcat%3D2827747%26vcatn%3DPerforming%2BArts%26vci%3D4056120.
Further reading

* "Use Your Illusion, A mystical history of the women who broke the lovely assistant mold and sawed the boys' club of magic in half", Bust Magazine, June/July 2008
* Julie Sobanski, article on Dell O'Dell, MUM magazine, August 2007

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Dell O'Dell female woman lady magic magician

         Charles Carrer (?), Joe Karson, Dell O'Dell, Bill Neff & his wife. 22 Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician44

O'Dell was a pioneer in her field and one of the most successful and busiest female magicians of the 20th century.


Click here for part 1. Dell O'Dell, the first half-the early years.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

Click here for an extensive biography on William "Lucky Bill"Newton, Dell O'Dell's Father

Lucky Bills only daughter, Della Newton, was 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

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Joan Brandon

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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 1969 Still performing.

Dorothy Dietrich

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This site put has been put up by Scranton's Houdini Museum. It is part of our educational mission We have also been asked by the family of Houdini & the management of the Houdini Grave to provide for its upkeep. Please donate to this cause. On Sept. 27, at our own expense we restored the bust that was missing for 36 years on his grave. Please donate to keep all these projects alive.Thank you,




Click here for part 1. Dell O'Dell, the first half-the early years.

Father's Biography. William Newton Sr., better known as Lucky Bill.

Dell O'Dell female woman magic magician

Click here for an extensive biography on William "Lucky Bill"Newton, Dell O'Dell's Father



Website of Scranton Fun Magical Mystery Entertainer Dick Brookz


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The best place for birthday parties of all ages in Scranton, PA |



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