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CABINET / Polaroid’s Secret Showman

CABINET / Polaroid’s Secret Showman

2023-04-28 16:54:38

3 March 2023

Kalanag and the magic of instantaneity

Jonathan Allen with Jan Isenbart

Memento Polaroid {photograph} displaying Reinhard Müller on stage with Helmut Schreiber in March 1954 on the Delphin-Palast, Wolfsburg, Germany. Courtesy Reinhard Müller.

If it has develop into extra pressing now to investigate immediate pictures’s magic, exactly on the level when its know-how advances in direction of obsolescence, it’s as a result of we now have not a lot left behind the cultural body of instantaneity opened up by the Polaroid as develop into completely immersed in it.

—Peter Buse, The Digicam Does the Relaxation (2016)

Within the spring of 1954, Reinhard Müller stepped onto a stage within the German metropolis of Wolfsburg as a volunteer in a magic present. His presence was captured in a small sepia {photograph}, the place he might be seen in dialog with a tuxedoed magician holding the elegant pocket watch that Müller has simply entrusted to him.[1] The conjurer is Helmut Ewald Schreiber (1903–1963), higher identified by his stage title Kalanag. He’s within the ultimate phases of a trick known as “The Satan’s Mail,” a preferred function of his world-touring magic revue, Simsalabim. Just a few moments earlier than, Müller’s watch had been diminished to fragments in a mortar by sharp blows of the magician’s wand. Within the {photograph}, Kalanag might be seen returning the now miraculously restored timepiece to its proprietor. However his watch isn’t all that Müller will take with him when he leaves the stage. To his delight, he may even carry this snapshot, delivered to him in an envelope by the magician inside moments of the very scene that it depicts.[2]

In an period of smartphones and accelerated digital networks, photographic instantaneity has develop into a commonplace. Within the early years of Kalanag’s present, nevertheless, this {photograph} would have been a sensation, particularly since neither a digital camera nor a photographer had been seen on stage at any level previous to its look. Rubber-stamped in inexperienced ink on its reverse with the phrases “Kalanag’s Magical Flashfoto,” Müller’s memento even bore a timestamp of kinds handwritten on the envelope: forty-seven minutes previous six within the night, on 11 March 1954.

Data rubber-stamped and handwritten on reverse facet of Reinhard Müller’s memento Polaroid of March 1954. Courtesy Reinhard Müller.

The digital camera utilized by Schreiber in Wolfsburg was Polaroid’s first immediate digital camera, the Land Mannequin 95, launched for public sale in the USA in late November 1948 by its charismatic creator, Edwin H. Land (1909–1991). But this was not the primary time that Schreiber had used Land’s groundbreaking gadget on stage. The trick, described by the magician as “The Quickest {Photograph} within the World,” options on his playbills throughout the spring of 1948 and seems to point out Schreiber making use of probably the most influential cameras in photographic historical past many months earlier than its first fashions grew to become out there to the American public.[3] How, within the ruins of post-war occupied Hamburg, did a German magician acquire entry to this cutting-edge gadget? Moreover, was Schreiber—“Hitler’s chamber magician” and performer to Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Göring, and plenty of different distinguished Nazis—one in all Polaroid pictures’s earliest inventive interpreters, if not its first?[4]

Helmut Schreiber’s understanding of the darkened efficiency house of the theater and the photographic darkroom developed concurrently. An avid conjurer from an early age, Schreiber was the editor of the German journal Magie between 1927 and 1945, and the president of the German Magic Circle from 1936 to 1945. Nonetheless, it was his early curiosity in movie manufacturing, significantly the stop-motion strategies of French magician and filmmaker Georges Méliès, that formed his early profession.[5] Earlier than the outbreak of World Conflict II, Schreiber held a place at Tobis Filmkunst, the place, in 1939, he produced Robert und Bertram, the one anti-Semitic musical of the Nazi period.[6] In 1942, inside the newly nationalized German movie {industry}, he was promoted by Reichsminister Goebbels to manufacturing chief of Bavaria Filmkunst in Munich, and on the identical time appointed to the advisory board of the Reich’s movie academy. This positioned Schreiber, then “the digital czar of conjuring” in Germany, on the very middle of the nation’s movie manufacturing within the buildup to, and all through, the warfare.[7] Schreiber wrote in 1936 that “the best magician—and a magician who succeeds in all the pieces and who could make something occur—might be movie.”[8] Whereas this curious assertion seems to prioritize the transferring picture above magic as a device for re-envisioning the world, it additionally means that Schreiber felt that the 2 mediums may in some way coalesce by his personal actions.

Schreiber and his spouse Anneliese, later often known as Gloria, visiting Hitler at his Obersalzberg mountain retreat, Bavaria, 1943. Photograph Heinrich Hoffmann.

In keeping with Edwin Land’s biographer Victor Ok. McElheny, the inventor’s early curiosity in science was inspired by his fascination with optical toys, specifically throughout visits to his hometown library the place Land later recalled that “the chief delight” had been a Brewster stereoscope.[9] Land’s later pioneering photographic work tends to eclipse his first, and arguably extra pervasive, invention: the glare-reducing polarizing know-how discovered on home windows, automobile windshields, and sun shades worldwide. A 1938 Reader’s Digest article entitled “The Magic of Polaroid” opens with an outline of Land’s “unusual new product” and its use inside the remark automobile of the Union Pacific’s railway streamliner Metropolis of Los Angeles, whose round “magic home windows” might be variably adjusted to regulate the passage of sunshine.[10] In his 2016 cultural historical past of Polaroid pictures, The Digicam Does the Relaxation, Peter Buse exhibits how terminology derived from magic, and specifically conjuring, was frequently related to Land and his firm’s merchandise. When Life celebrated the arrival in 1972 of a newly compact Polaroid mannequin, the journal’s coverline linked the inventor’s inventive genius on to his “magic digital camera.”[11] Commentators elsewhere famous Land’s “photographic legerdemain” and “technological wizardry.” Such was his popularity as an {industry} showman that one journalist went as far as to explain Polaroid’s yearly company gatherings as “Dr. Land’s Annual Magic Present.”[12]

Challenge of Life from 27 October 1972 that includes Land and his new Polaroid mannequin.

No examples have been discovered by the authors that present Land himself performing standard conjuring methods in a theatrical context, though, given the inventor’s charisma and stage presence, the chance isn’t completely unimaginable.[13] A dwell magic present was, nevertheless, the corporate’s alternative of leisure on Christmas Eve in 1946, when Land additionally provided his workers a tantalizing clue about Polaroid’s nonetheless top-secret pictures venture, cryptically known as “SX-70.” Land launched magician Warren E. Simms as “a good friend of Houdini, Thurston and Kellar … [who] entertains incessantly on the White Home. … I suppose that probably the most acceptable type of leisure for Polaroid we’d hope is magic, and I believe we’re about to see someone who can out-do us.”[14] On the finish of the night, Land screened a brief movie clip, asserting beforehand that “in the event you preserve your wits about you, and in the event you’re good detectives in the best way our magician taught us to be, you will note close to the top of this film one thing which will in all probability recommend to you what SX-70 is.” The movie clip was drawn from Raoul Walsh’s 1945 romantic comedy The Horn Blows at Midnight, wherein an angel, performed by Jack Benny, is photographed in heaven by different angels who use a futuristic digital camera to shoot, develop, and ship his likeness inside seconds.

Edwin Land demonstrating his new Polaroid course of in February 1947. Photograph Herbert B. Nichols.

Polaroid’s first digital camera, the Land Mannequin 95, launched in 1948.

The fruits of the SX-70 venture was the Land Mannequin 95 digital camera, whose launch at Boston’s Jordan Marsh division retailer on 26 November 1948 was introduced with newspapers ads bearing the tagline, “… it really works like magic!”[15] In early 1949, the corporate’s advertising and marketing language was actualized as soon as once more when a fifteen-minute, primetime CBS tv present was co-sponsored by Polaroid and the Pioneer Scientific Company to advertise Polaroid tv filters.[16] “The Polaroid Magic Present,” because the collection was initially described on a mailer, had begun with controversy when a deceptive article appeared within the New York Instances only a week earlier than the primary broadcast, explaining how Polaroid’s forthcoming magic collection, retitled “Now You See It” and hosted by André Baruch, would “disclose to the viewers how every trick labored.”[17] The article drew a right away grievance from Al Altman, the ethics committee chairman of the Society of American Magicians, prompting an apology from CBS.[18] Regardless of this fractious begin, the twice-renamed present, The Masters of Magic, was aired weekly at 7:45 pm from mid-February to mid-Could 1949, and featured established worldwide performers resembling Milbourne Christopher, Ade Duval, and Richiardi Jr.

Flyer promoting the later-renamed “Polaroid Magic Present,” 1949. Courtesy Polaroid Company data, Baker Library, Harvard Enterprise Faculty.

By the point that The Masters of Magic was broadcast, “The Quickest {Photograph} within the World” seems to have been a function of Kalanag’s present for at the least ten months. What circumstances had led to Schreiber’s pre-emptive entry to this groundbreaking photographic gadget? There are at present no clear solutions to that query, however numerous contextualizing components might be taken under consideration. First, as a longstanding film-industry insider, Schreiber might effectively have had advance information of Land’s technical breakthrough.[19] Had the 2 males not been opposing belligerents throughout the latest international battle, one may envisage the bold magician-filmmaker soliciting Polaroid for a pre-sale mannequin of the digital camera on the grounds that its experimental use by him on the theater stage, or on movie units, may yield sensible info helpful to the corporate.[20] With out that possibility out there to him, Schreiber might have turned to the black market throughout the rapid post-war interval to realize entry to the digital camera. In keeping with his former stage supervisor Ludwig Hanemann (1907–1996), in any other case often known as the magician Punx, Schreiber was “the king of the black market in Hamburg. He had all the pieces; he had cash, he had {dollars}, he had antiques, … he had diamonds.”[21]

Might a Land digital camera, then, have come into Schreiber’s possession by completely unlawful means? Unflatteringly, Punx lends credence to this idea, including that “Germany was stuffed with American gangsters and robbers, they usually had been the right companions for Helmut Schreiber.”[22] No matter contingency led to the digital camera’s conveyance, Schreiber’s magical and photographic literacy shortly allowed him to repurpose Land’s invention. If rhetorical magic helped Polaroid promote the Land Mannequin 95, then Schreiber discovered a option to deploy the digital camera effectively prematurely of its public launch to promote his personal model of enchantment.

How exactly did Kalanag use the Land digital camera on stage? “The Quickest {Photograph} within the World” seems to have been added to his present as a “kicker,” that’s, an impact that gives added impetus to the ending of an already sturdy trick.[23] That trick, “The Satan’s Mail,” was often referred to within the magician’s stage notes merely as “Die Uhr” (The watch). In placing distinction to the contemporaneity of Polaroid’s know-how, this conceit reached far again into conjuring’s repertoire. One of many earliest references to the trick seems in Henri Decremps’s 1784 exposé of the Italian conjurer Chevalier Pinetti, La Magie blanche dévoilée, the place it’s known as “La Montre pilée dans un mortier,” a title translated in 1785 by Thomas Denton asThe Watch Beat to Items in a Mortar.”[24]

Press shot for “The Satan’s Mail,” 1954. Courtesy Stiftung Zauberkunst, Nottuln.

In Kalanag’s up to date and significantly extra complicated model, a volunteer keen to mortgage their watch was welcomed to the stage and seated on a small stool. With theatricalized carelessness, their watch was damaged into items by the magician and its fragments folded right into a cone of paper. This bundle was then handed to a stage assistant who stepped into a big outstretched internet mendacity on the stage.[25] Now raised aloft, the web instantly dropped, immediately vanishing the assistant and leaving the sheet of paper fluttering to the bottom. Seconds later, the identical assistant reappeared excessive above the stage, now crouched in a suspended glass field and carrying a wrapped parcel tied tightly with string. When lowered to the bottom, the assistant delivered the eponymous “satan’s mail,” which, when unwrapped, contained a collection of nested picket bins inside which the undamaged timepiece was finally discovered. As if this bewildering sequence was not complicated sufficient, it was at this level that Kalanag reached into his jacket pocket and drew out a sealed envelope addressed in individual to his volunteer. The {photograph} inside depicted the 2 in dialog, with Kalanag holding the intact watch between his fingers.[26] An epidiascope—a sort of enlarging projector—was then typically used to venture the tiny picture onto a big display to ensure that the viewers to substantiate the identification of its sitter and to share within the {photograph}’s obvious impossibility.[27]

One of many many challenges that Kalanag confronted within the design of this trick was to discover a means by which to covertly place and function Land’s digital camera, an object some twenty-six centimeters in peak and weighing virtually two kilograms. His first resolution, it appears, was to direct the digital camera towards the stage from a hid location within the theater wings, though this additionally required using a flash publicity to supply a Polaroid of enough readability. As late as 1954, Kalanag was nonetheless typically hiding the digital camera on this manner, as might be deduced anecdotally from Reinhard Müller, who remembers a “flash from the wings” whereas on stage.[28] The account of one other volunteer reveals Schreiber’s various technique. When Bruno “Joro” Hennig sat down on the stage of the Kaiserhof in Cologne in February 1956, he was approached by a stage assistant with a vendor’s tray who provided him a refreshment. Solely later did he notice that the {photograph} he subsequently acquired had been shot utilizing the “newly born Polaroid digital camera … hidden inside the seller’s tray!” [29]

{Photograph} displaying Kalanag’s custom-designed Salem No. 6 vendor’s tray, late 1952. Verso reads: “Salem Lady, reserving into the Kalanag Revue, Oct to Dec 52.” Photograph Klaus F. Kallmorgen. Courtesy SHMH-Museum der Arbeit, Hamburg.

The bespoke tray described by Hennig handed to different magicians and collectors following Kalanag’s dying in 1963.[30] One distinguished ingredient of the tray’s custom-made design allowed for the digital camera’s concealment: a big white die whose entrance face displayed the quantity three and thru whose central spot the lens of the hidden digital camera might be directed. On the pretense of providing the seated volunteer an merchandise from the tray, one of many magician’s co-performers was capable of take up place at a pre-planned distance in readiness for the publicity.[31] As proven by surviving efficiency scripts, Kalanag then mounted the volunteer’s consideration—and thus head place—utilizing a barrage of non sequiturs: “The watch belongs to you? … Cigarette? … How lengthy have you ever had the watch? … Are you married?” When numerous these memento pictures are positioned alongside each other, their compositional similarity reveals simply how efficient this type of interrogation proved to be.

One may suppose that an unusually massive white die atop a vendor’s tray would have aroused the suspicions of audiences at Kalanag’s performances. The truth that it didn’t was as a result of one other facet of the magician’s skilled acumen: his industrial instincts for product placement and sponsorship alternatives. Actually, German audiences within the mid-Fifties would have been fairly conversant in this specific motif because it was central to the celebrated posters of that interval designed by Swiss artist Herbert Leupin for Salem No. 6, a cigarette model made by the German firm Reemtsma. In these ads, a single white die—all the time with its lucky-six dealing with outward—appeared alongside matchsticks, cigarettes, and taking part in playing cards, all set inside poised realist compositions that evoked the risk-taking glamour of the on line casino and projected it onto the smoking habits of the German public throughout an period of uninhibited tobacco advertising and marketing.

Considered one of Herbert Leupin’s ads for Reemtsma’s Salem No. 6 cigarettes, mid-Fifties.

Between 1952 and 1956, throughout the peak of Leupin’s marketing campaign, Schreiber’s German applications file Reemtsma as a sponsor. Though the contractual particulars of this enterprise association stay obscure, pictures from the corporate’s archive point out that Schreiber’s creative resolution to this hybrid drawback—one each magical and semiotic—absolutely performed an element in securing the deal. The pictures present a younger girl, virtually definitely one in all Kalanag’s co-performers, and maybe even one of many photographers for “The Quickest {Photograph} within the World,” posing in entrance of a stage curtain carrying the die-bearing tray on which a number of Salem No. 6 logos might be clearly seen. Though Schreiber continued to place the digital camera within the theater wings when circumstance required, it’s clear that, from round 1952, the seller’s tray grew to become the principal means by which he and his co-performers hid and deployed Land’s digital camera.

All through 1948, and maybe for a yr or so thereafter, Kalanag would have been significantly forward of his audiences, whose information of Polaroid’s new know-how would on the time have been very restricted.[32] Inside a couple of years, nevertheless, those self same audiences would have been way more attuned to Land’s invention. Regardless of the trick’s diminishing capability to shock, “The Quickest {Photograph} within the World” remained a daily function of Schreiber’s present for a decade and a half, throughout which era numerous volunteers left his exhibits in possession of {a photograph} rubber-stamped in inexperienced ink on its reverse with the phrases “Kalanag’s Magical Flashfoto / taken on stage / throughout a efficiency of the Kalanag Revue / A memento from the largest and most lovely / magic revue on this planet / and as a thanks to your form help.”[33]

Photocopies of Polaroids depicting Elmar Riedlinger at Deutsches Theater, Munich, 1962, and an unknown sitter at Titania-Palast, Berlin, 1962. The unique pictures haven’t been situated. Courtesy Stiftung Zauberkunst, Nottuln.

As media historians Frédéric Tabet and Pierre Taillefer have lately proven, late nineteenth-century magicians had shortly acknowledged pictures’s potential as a promotional device and had, in numerous methods, conveyed photographic photographs to their audiences immediately from the stage.[34] What distinguished these earlier examples of stage-bound photo-publicity from Kalanag’s Polaroids was that the latter allowed the magician to present his volunteer a picture of their interplay virtually in actual time. The capturing of those pictures may, in some other context, have been thought-about problematically non-consensual.[35] On a magic present stage, nevertheless, the place capitulation to numerous types of theatricalized deception is concomitant with leisure, the ensuing photographs, as soon as projected utilizing the epidiascope, briefly certain collectively the volunteer, the viewers, and the magician, earlier than the Polaroid itself was returned to its topic within the type of a singular—that’s, unreproducible—memento.

Learn one other manner, these photographs might be seen as working portraits of a male magician shot by his (principally feminine) co-performers.[36] In a single {photograph} taken close to the top of his life, Schreiber seems to be rising from, or maybe withdrawing into, the stage shadows. The aloof disposition of his volunteer is matched solely by the magician’s obvious self-absorption. By then, Edwin Land’s invention was a worldwide industrial success, whereas Schreiber’s now-outmoded trick would have misplaced a lot of its enchantment.[37] Moreover, dwell magic itself was being supplanted by a brand new medium—tv—that means that, alongside different mortifications, Schreiber was taking part in smaller venues. Neither was the magician’s private legacy assured. His skilled popularity had been tarnished, significantly outdoors Germany, by the revelations of his shut affiliation with the Third Reich and his suspected membership within the Nazi Occasion.[38] His spouse and main co-performer, Gloria de Vos, had left him. Like an iconographic personification of time, Schreiber factors at his volunteer’s watch. He might be useless inside ten months.

Polaroid depicting Hans Diem at Festhalle in Sulzbach, Germany, 1963.

The legacy of Kalanag’s photographic thriller might be understood in numerous methods. In strictly conjuring phrases, “The Quickest {Photograph} within the World” constitutes an elaborate variation of Decremps’s “The Watch Beat to Items in a Mortar,” reanimated in the course of the 20th century utilizing an unprecedented imaging know-how. The trick additionally marks the primary of many subsequent illusions made doable with variants of Land’s know-how, a strand of magical innovation that continues to today. Furthermore, Schreiber’s near-live mediation of a volunteer throughout his exhibits anticipates an necessary contribution to magic made in latest a long time by the American magician David Blaine, whose tv specials within the late Nineties centered much less on him as a performer, and extra on his road audiences as they responded to his methods. Even the cropped-in, over-the-shoulder framing of Kalanag’s Polaroids is paying homage to footage from Blaine’s TV exhibits.[39]

Recognizing Kalanag’s work inside the historical past of pictures, nevertheless, yields a extra problematic legacy. In his aforementioned research of Polaroid tradition, Peter Buse develops the idea of a “pictures of points of interest,” which he adapts from the work of movie students Tom Gunning and André Gaudreault, whose “cinema of points of interest” demonstrated that at the moment’s narrative cinema was preceded by movie’s earlier success as a preferred and sensation-driven spectacle on public fairgrounds, vaudeville phases, and, certainly, as a part of magic exhibits. Buse advances his personal idea by recognizing a continuum between the stereography craze of the nineteenth century, seaside while-you-wait cameras, the automated amusement park picture sales space, and the participatory pleasures of Polaroid’s immediate pictures. Alighting from this “pictures of points of interest,” Buse sketches Land as a “photographic showman,” in addition to providing a number of different compelling examples of the identical, together with the maverick Chicago bellhop Ted Serios, who got here to public consideration within the late Sixties when his claimed potential to venture psychological photographs immediately onto Polaroid movie was documented by eminent psychiatrist Jule Eisenbud in his 1967 guide The World of Ted Serios: “Thoughtographic” Research of an Extraordinary Thoughts.[40] Between 1948 and 1963, Schreiber covertly recast the Land Mannequin 95 as a magical attraction in a manner absolutely unimagined by the digital camera’s inventor, or by its copywriters. Ought to Schreiber no longer be acknowledged as one of many know-how’s earliest inventive interpreters, as Polaroid’s secret showman? “The Quickest {Photograph} within the World” undoubtedly connects, or maybe reconnects, a fancy and difficult determine to Polaroid’s historic timeline.

Left: Ted Serios projecting his ideas onto Polaroid movie. From Life, 22 September 1967. Proper: A 1964 “thoughtograph” purportedly depicting London’s Large Ben. Courtesy Jule Eisenbud Assortment, College of Maryland, Baltimore County.

An necessary query stays unanswered. Was Edwin Land conscious of Helmut Schreiber’s covert deployment of his invention? To pose this query appears acceptable sufficient within the gentle of Schreiber’s pre-emptive entry to the know-how, of Polaroid’s widespread use of magic-related promotional language, and of the corporate’s enlistment of a troupe of globe-trotting conjurers across the identical time that Schreiber was experimenting with Land’s invention. It appears unbelievable that the company’s vigilant public relations equipment wouldn’t have been conscious of Schreiber’s exercise—if not instantly, then quickly after the magician first carried out utilizing Land’s digital camera—however, so far, no associated documentation has been recognized by the authors inside the firm archive. Maybe following the flip of occasions in 1949 with The Masters of Magic, the corporate’s strategists acknowledged that conjuring’s consultant group may, and would, advocate strongly on behalf of its membership and, in consequence, assented to magic’s well-documented codes of secrecy.[41] Alternatively, as Schreiber’s nefarious previous started to meet up with him, significantly throughout his ill-fated US tour of 1957, when enduring anti-German sentiment translated into adverse leafleting campaigns, the corporate and its (Jewish) co-founder might need quietly distanced themselves from any affiliation with a performer linked so toxically to histories nonetheless so shut at hand.[42]

Schreiber performing for Adolf Hitler on the Führerbau in Munich throughout the celebration of the Day of German Artwork, 1939. Courtesy Stiftung Zauberkunst, Nottuln.

One specific story would definitely have given Polaroid’s executives pause for thought. In Der große Kalanag (2021), Schreiber’s biographer Malte Herwig recounts the revelations of Hitler’s valet Heinz Linge and his adjutant Otto Günsche, who reported to the Soviet secret service NKVD throughout their interrogation in Moscow after the warfare, and whose descriptions of the magician’s performances earlier than the Führer reveal simply how snug Schreiber felt inside the Third Reich’s internal circles.[43] Two candid pictures depict one such scene on the Führerbau in Munich in 1939, the place Hitler might be seen anticipating after which responding to a close-up trick carried out by Schreiber.[44] Of their testimony, Linge and Günsche describe one other magic present at Hitler’s mountaintop Obersalzberg dwelling in 1944, throughout which Schreiber introduced an audacious model of the trick that was quickly to develop into “The Satan’s Mail.” The impact could be given new impetus by Polaroid’s know-how simply 4 years later. The volunteer was Eva Braun, and the watch was a diamond-studded platinum wristwatch, gifted to her by Hitler in 1939 for her twenty-seventh birthday. Had a photographer recorded that second, the Führer would absolutely have stored the picture as a treasured memento.

Jonathan Allen and Jan Isenbart want to thank the guardians of the Polaroid Company data within the Baker Library at Harvard Enterprise Faculty (with specific due to Melissa Murphy); Stiftung Zauberkunst, Nottuln; Stiftung Historische Museen, Hamburg; and the various particular person pictures and magic historians with out whose generosity this textual content wouldn’t have been doable. Allen and Isenbart’s shared analysis was first introduced on the Magic Circle Historical past Day in London on 10 September 2022.

  1. Not but twenty, Reinhard Müller was already a eager magician and knew about Kalanag’s watch trick. Within the hope of being chosen for the act, he borrowed his grandfather’s beneficial vintage gold look ahead to the event and hurried to the stage as soon as Schreiber known as for a volunteer. The authors are grateful to Müller—now a well known card magician and prolific author on magic—for his generosity as they ready this text.
  2. To most volunteers participating on this part of Kalanag’s present, and to his audiences, the {photograph} would have appeared to depict the temporal sequence described by the authors on this introduction. But, all was not because it appeared. By standing in an an identical place alongside the seated volunteer at the beginning and the top of the trick, Kalanag intentionally exploited the volunteer and viewers’s confusion over exactly which second within the efficiency the Polaroid depicted. If the viewer believed that the {photograph} depicted the top of the trick, then the instantaneity of its look would appear all of the extra exceptional. Actually, the picture all the time depicted the magician and his volunteer at the beginning of the routine, thereby permitting time for the {photograph} to be processed backstage and positioned in an envelope earlier than being secretly returned to Kalanag onstage. “Time misdirection”—that’s, the deliberate manipulation of subjective time notion—is a precept effectively understood by magicians. See Thomas Fraps, “Time and Magic—Manipulating Subjective Temporality,” in Subjective Time: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Temporality, ed. Valtteri Arstila and Dan Lloyd (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2014).
  3. Helmut Schreiber’s present applications from his first run of performances on the British Military’s Garrison Theatre in Hamburg might be discovered within the magician’s private, chronologically assembled scrapbooks, held in Germany at Stiftung Zauberkunst in Nottuln. Though these applications are undated, different documentation inside surviving efficiency information present Kalanag’s performances on the Garrison working intermittently from 19 October 1947 to twenty April 1948. A number of of Kalanag’s later Garrison Theatre applications throughout this era function “The Quickest {Photograph} within the World,” indicating that Schreiber will need to have had entry to Land’s digital camera sooner or later earlier than the top of that interval. A further run befell on the British Military–operated Garrison Theatre in Iserlohn between 15 and 20 March 1949.
  4. The time period Kammerzauberer, which interprets as “chamber magician,” was utilized by actor Fritz Benscher to explain Schreiber’s untroubled relationship with the Third Reich’s management. See Rolf Aurich, Kalanag: Die kontrollierten Illusionen des Helmut Schreiber (Berlin: Verbrecher Verlag, 2016), p. 141. The guide’s title interprets as “Kalanag: The managed illusions of Helmut Schreiber.”
  5. Malte Herwig, Der große Kalanag: Wie Hitlers Zauberer die Vergangenheit verschwinden ließ und die Welt eroberte (Munich: Penguin Verlag, 2021), p. 47. The guide’s title interprets as “The nice Kalanag: How Hitler’s magician made the previous disappear and conquered the world.” In distinction to its typically constructive obituary problem devoted to Kalanag in 1964, the American conjurers’ journal Genii turned its June 2021 problem over to Herwig’s revelatory remedy of the magician, translating numerous sections from the guide for English readers. See Genii, vol. 26, no. 6 (January 1964), and Genii, vol. 84, no. 6 (June 2021).
  6. See Rolf Aurich, Kalanag, pp. 92–98.
  7. Milbourne Christopher, The Illustrated Historical past of Magic (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Firm, 1973), pp. 401–404.
  8. See “Movie und Magie im Dienste des W. H. W.,” Magie, vol. 19, no. 2 (February 1936), p. 33. German unique translated by Jan Isenbart.
  9. Victor Ok. McElheny, Insisting on the Unimaginable: The Lifetime of Edwin Land (Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books, 1998), p. 19.
  10. See “The Magic of Polaroid,” Reader’s Digest, vol. 33, no. 197 (September 1938), p. 104.
  11. See Life, vol. 73, no. 17 (27 October 1972).
  12. See Peter Buse, The Digicam Does the Relaxation: How Polaroid Modified Images (Chicago: The College of Chicago Press, 2016), p. 127. The primary two examples are drawn by Buse from Jack Murphy in “Extra Magic from the Miracle Employee,” Du Pont Journal, vol. 68, no. 2 (March–April 1974). The third instance is drawn by Buse from Richard Kostelanetz, “A Vast-Angled and Shut-up Portrait of Edwin Land and His Polaroid Cameras,” Lithopinion, problem 33 (vol. 9, no. 1; Spring 1974). Such descriptions call to mind one other company performer, and a terrific admirer of Land, Steve Jobs, whose predilection for linking Apple’s merchandise to magical language is a matter of file. Polaroid know-how’s hyperlink to magical language has continued by the work of Florian Kaps, the Austrian entrepreneur and former spider scientist who salvaged Polaroid’s distinctive analogue know-how for a brand new era of image-makers by the Unimaginable Undertaking. See Kaps, Polaroid: The Magic Materials (London: Francis Lincoln, 2016).
  13. Magicians themselves shortly acknowledged Polaroid as a probably helpful new materials of their theatrical arsenal. Within the conjurers’ commerce journal The Sphinx, Kennett H. Malan described how photographs “as if painted by some ethereal hand” might be produced by selectively swiveling sheets of Polaroid materials towards each other. See “For Magical Functions: Two Supplies Which Could Be Utilized in a Number of Results,” The Sphinx, vol. 39, no. 8 (10 October 1940), p. 188.
  14. A typescript of Land’s speech might be discovered within the Polaroid Company data, Sequence V: Information Associated to Edwin H. Land, field V.2, folder 10, Baker Library, Harvard Enterprise Faculty. See p. 9 and p. 34. The transcript omits numerous particulars regarding Simms that may be heard on surviving sound recordings of the occasion. See Polaroid Company data, Sequence VI: Audiovisual Assortment, 014681354_AT_0068, Baker Library, Harvard Enterprise Faculty.
  15. The related part of the advert learn: “Provides everlasting, sensible, footage of fantastic high quality, the minute they imply probably the most … it really works like magic! snap it … pull tab … get pleasure from footage in a single minute.” The primary batch of fifty-six cameras and the demonstration mannequin bought out inside a couple of hours. For extra on the launch occasion, see Christopher Bonanos, On the spot: The Story of Polaroid (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2012), pp. 42–44.
  16. Pioneer Scientific Company held an unique licensing cope with Polaroid for the favored Polaroid tv filter, which vastly elevated the viewing decision of the period’s early tv screens. See “Polaroid Paradise: Half Two of a Research of TV Equipment on the Air,” Sponsor, vol. 3, no. 14 (6 June 1949), p. 62. Pioneer’s public relations crew—headed up by Invoice Cayton of Cayton Inc.—created an impartial, hard-selling promoting marketing campaign of which Masters of Magic was only one half. Given Polaroid’s codependent model affiliation with the product, it may be assumed that the marketing campaign was evaluated and agreed upon by Polaroid’s personal advertising and marketing crew. See additionally “How a Small TV Accent Proved a Gross sales Bonanza for Sellers,” Radio and Equipment Journal, vol. 66, no. 1 (January 1949), pp. 20–21.
  17. See “Radio and Tv: ‘Now You See It,’ Present That includes Magicians, Will Make Bow Feb. 16 on WCBS,” The New York Instances, 9 February 1949. A flyer referencing The Polaroid Magic Present and two variations of a booklet titled Parlor Tips (given free to prospects of Polaroid tv filters) might be present in Polaroid Company data, Sequence IX: Company Archives Information, field IX.25, folder 13, Baker Library, Harvard Enterprise Faculty.
  18. The apology letter, signed with “Kindest private regards” by “John J. H. Peyser, Director of CBS’ Masters of Magic,” was printed in a number of magic {industry} journals, together with The Sphinx and M-U-M.
  19. See Also

  20. See, for instance, “Polaroid President Invents New Digicam That Produces Completed Prints in One Minute,” Digicam, vol. 69, no. 4 (April 1947), and Ralph Samuels, “A New One-Minute Course of,” Minicam Images, vol. 10, no. 8 (Could 1947).
  21. Polaroid had lengthy engaged specialist consultants, probably the most celebrated instance being Ansel Adams, with whom Land interacted from 1948 onwards. See Victor Ok. McElheny, Insisting on the Unimaginable, pp. 204–205; Peter Buse, The Digicam Does the Relaxation, p. 143; and Christopher Bonanos, On the spot, pp. 44–45.
  22. Hanemann’s feedback are drawn from English-language audiocassette recordings he made in Munich on 12 December 1986 and 20 February 1987 in response to written questions from British magician Val Andrews. This quotation is from the December recording. The recordings had been kindly made out there to the authors by magic historian Paul Kieve.
  23. Hanemann recording of 20 February 1987; by “right,” he means “acceptable” or “pure.” See additionally Richard Hatch, “Kalanag and the Vanishing Banknotes,” Magic, vol. 7, no. 11 (July 1998), wherein the writer investigates Kalanag’s long-rumored affiliation with a big cache of untraced paper forex and gold bullion beforehand “a part of the Reichsbank reserves rigorously hidden on the finish of the warfare within the hopes of sometime financing a Fourth Reich.” See additionally Malte Herwig, Der große Kalanag, pp. 246–252.
  24. In a few of Kalanag’s applications courting from October 1947, “The Satan’s Mail,” or “Mail from Hell—A Devilish Affair,” options irrespective of the later-added pictures trick. Packages for Schreiber’s performances on the Garrison Theatre in Hamburg all through 1948 function the trick, which is often known as a separate present merchandise, however linked by an ellipsis: “The Satan’s Mail … and the quickest {photograph} on this planet.”
  25. Thomas Denton, The Conjurer Unmasked; or, La Magie Blanche Dèvoilèe … Translated from the French of Monsieur Decremps (London: privately printed, 1785).
  26. “The Satan’s Mail” comprised numerous impartial results, every with their very own efficiency histories and authorship, linked collectively as a performative assemblage that diverse through the years and from venue to venue relying on the theatrical sources out there. For example, the vanishing phantasm involving the web—also referred to as “Dizzy Restrict” or the “Bengal Internet”—was originated by Oswald Williams round 1924.
  27. The exact staging of the “The Satan’s Mail” is described by East German magician Wolfgang Scheuer in his detailed article “Kalanag’s Uhrenmörser,” in Mauerspechte, ed. Alfred Czernewitz (Rheinbach: printed by the editor, 1991). Following Schreiber’s dying in 1963, Scheuer introduced a part of Kalanag’s present for a number of weeks in November–December 1965 on the well-known Friedrichstadt-Palast in East Berlin.
  28. A prop checklist in all probability associated to the magician’s 1954–1955 tour of England contains “Fast picture with epidiascope,” and there are references to a projection display elsewhere inside surviving stage notes and efficiency data. This added layer of mediation might have been launched to Kalanag’s present in response to suggestions from viewers members or in response to point out critiques. See, for instance, Arnold Furst, “Kalanag—Overview of His Present at Franz-Alt[h]off-Bau Theatre, Frankf[u]rt, Germany,” Genii, vol. 20, no. 7 (March 1956). Spelling errors within the title have been corrected.
  29. This info was conveyed to Jan Isenbart throughout a dialog with Reinhard Müller in 2021. Whereas Müller’s recollections of the occasions date from over seventy years in the past, the Polaroid displaying him and Kalanag on stage shows a lighting impact according to a flash publicity, and a compositional framing that corresponds to a digital camera place at a long way from its topic.
  30. Like Reinhard Müller, Bruno Hennig was additionally a magician and later described his experiences on Kalanag’s stage in his article “Zauberplauder mit Joro / Nachdenklich,” Magie, vol. 101, no. 5 (Could 2021), p. 265. Though Hennig’s Polaroid was not out there to the authors, different Polaroids apparently shot from contained in the die-tray show the tight compositional framing that is likely to be anticipated from an publicity shot near its topic.
  31. After Schreiber’s dying, the magician’s props had been returned to his spouse, Gloria de Vos, who later bought the majority of the Kalanag present to Claude Isbecque (a.ok.a. Claude Klingsor). In 1987, the seller’s tray was one in all numerous Kalanag’s props bought by British magician Paul Daniels. TV and stage producer, writer, and collector John Fisher was the die-tray’s subsequent proprietor, who then bought it at public sale in 2012, the place it was purchased by British magician Scott Penrose. The present proprietor and site of the prop are unknown.
  32. Surviving stage notes for Simsalabim state that the digital camera lens ought to be set for a distance of six toes or much less, and that acceptable stage marks similar to these lens settings be made as a information for the stage assistant. The authors want to thank Paul Kieve for entry to materials inside his assortment.
  33. Given the circumstances, it’s doable that Kalanag was the primary proprietor of a Land 95 digital camera in Germany, and probably even in Europe.
  34. The German unique learn: “Kalanag’s Magisches Blitzfoto / aufgenommen auf der Bühne / [here the name of the venue and city was handwritten] / in der Vorstellung der Kalanag-Revue / Ein Andenken an die größte und schönste / Zauberrevue der Welt / und zum Dank für Ihre freundliche Mithilfe.” Translated by Jan Isenbart.
  35. See Frédéric Tabet and Pierre Taillefer, “‘The Suspension Ethéréenne’ beneath the Photographer’s Lens: Magic Tips Photographed,” in Magic: A Companion, ed. Katharina Rein (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2022), pp. 146–147.
  36. Walker Evans’s subway portraits, infamously shot between 1938 and 1941 on the New York Metropolis subway, weren’t printed by him till 1966, virtually definitely as a result of devious manner wherein the photographer captured the pictures. Evans’s naturalistic portraits of subway riders had been produced utilizing a digital camera with its silver elements painted black; hidden beneath his coat, it was triggered by a launch cable fed down his sleeve.
  37. As mentioned by Francesca Coppa and Katharina Rein, the labor and experience of girls on the magic stage have been traditionally under-acknowledged. See Francesca Coppa, “The Physique Immaterial: Magicians’ Assistants and the Efficiency of Labor,” in Performing Magic on the Western Stage: From the Eighteenth Century to the Current, ed. Francesca Coppa, Lawrence Hass, and James Peck (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), and Katharina Rein, “Ladies in Stage Magic round 1900: Feminine Conjuring,” in Magic, ed. Rein.
  38. In 1963, Polaroid issued its first vary of colour movie and launched the much-advanced Land Mannequin 100.
  39. A US doc dated 24 January 1946, which might be discovered within the assortment of the German Federal Archives, had confirmed that Schreiber had been a member of the Nazi Occasion, however few had been conscious of this corroborating documentation whereas he was alive.
  40. See, for instance, David Blaine: Road Magic, aired 19 Could 1997 on ABC.
  41. See Peter Buse, The Digicam Does the Relaxation, p. 133. By staring intensely into the lens of a Polaroid digital camera and utilizing a small tubular piece of paper—which he known as a “gizmo” and which, he claimed, helped him channel his ideas onto the lens—Serios was seemingly capable of generate “thoughtographs,” semi-blurred photographs of road scenes, buildings, landscapes, and different assorted topics. In a way paying homage to the investigation of Victorian spirit photographers by skilled conjurers within the early twentieth century, Serios and his “gizmo” had been later investigated by magicians Charles Reynolds and David B. Eisendrath Jr., whose findings had been inconclusive, however pointed strongly towards some type of deception. See Reynolds, “An Wonderful Weekend with the Wonderful Ted Serios: Half 1,” Fashionable Images, vol. 61, no. 4 (October 1967), and Howard Greene, “‘Thought Footage’ Duplicated,” The New Tops, vol. 7, no. 10 (October 1967).
  42. See Edwin A. Dawes, “Rule 13,” Cupboard, no. 26 (Summer season 2007).
  43. Magic historian Gabe Fajuri states that previous to Kalanag’s thirteen-day run in Detroit in October 1957, “town had been flyered with leaflets describing Kalanag’s affiliation with Nazi Germany all through World Conflict II.” See Fajuri, “Kalanag,” Magicol, no. 132 (August 1999), p. 18.
  44. See Malte Herwig, Der große Kalanag, p. 154.
  45. See Jonathan Allen, “Deceptionists at War,” Cupboard, no. 26 (Summer season 2007), pp. 68–70. When the preliminary analysis on Schreiber was carried out in preparation for the 2007 article, the German magic group was far much less open about his problematic profession. In consequence, far fewer pictures documenting Schreiber’s contentious previous had been out there throughout that interval than there are at the moment. Additionally see Jonathan Allen, Kalanag, on exhibit at David Risley Gallery, London, from November 2007 to January 2008, and included within the 2008 exhibition “The Nice Transformation: Artwork and Tactical Magic” at Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany.

Jonathan Allen is a London-based artist and author. He’s a curator on the Magic Circle Museum and an affiliate fellow on the Warburg Institute. For extra info, go to

Jan Isenbart is a German magician, results creator, writer, and collector. He’s a member of the Magic Circle of Germany and a supporter of Stiftung Zauberkunst. For extra info, go to his weblog

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