Henry Barton Turner

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Henry Barton Turner
BornDecember 2, 1885
Brierley Hill, Birmingham, England
DiedDecember 6, 1970 (age 85)

Henry Barton Turner (1885-1970) was a magician, specializing in escapes, that performed as Houdeen, Henri Deville, the Wizard of the Army, The Great Deville.

Biography

Turner became a music hall performer as The Great Deville, the Wizard of the Army, in the 1920s and this career continued until the early 1930s.

The act incorporated Houdini-style escapes and earlier in his career, during the first decade of the twentieth century when Houdini and his brother Hardeen were topping bills Europe, Turner briefly adopted the name of Houdeen.

"The Wizard of the Army" title used by Deville was a foil to Val Walker, "The Wizard of the Navy", who was also featuring unusual escapes in the early 1920s.

Illusions were also featured by Deville in some of his performances including "Dividing a Lady in Two, the 20th Century Unsolved Problem and Super Miracle", a version of Selbit's "Sawing a woman in half".

By 1936, he started a business selling illusions, manuscripts and books. Some of his manuscripts offered were of Hindu Fakir's Feats, 25 Long Lessons in Hypnotism, and Ventriloquism for Amateurs with 9 Dialogues.

During World War II, Deville worked for the Fairey Aviation Company building aircraft but also managed to continue his magic business[1]

See also: Mr Eugene Deville "Dr Henri Deville" of Manchester, who was elected to membership of The Magic Circle on 4th June 1929.

References

  1. No. 134. THE GREAT DEVILLE, WIZARD OF THE ARMY, Complete Rich Cabinet of Magical Curiosities by Edwin A. Dawes (2005)


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