James Swoger

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James Swoger
BornJames Wesley Swoger
1918
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
DiedNovember 2, 2006
Oceanside, California

James Swoger (1918 - 2006) was a professional magician and magic dealer.

Biography

His father owned a music store, manufactured the Swoger electric organ, and supplied many vaudeville acts with sheet music for their shows. This gave Jim a backstage pass to vaudeville at an early age, allowing him to meet Houdini before a show at the age of eight.[1]

He started a mail-order business (managed by his mother) called The House of Enchantment in 1937.

After drafted into the army, he entertained troops in the same USO unit as Milbourne Christopher.

Swoger was one of the first magic dealers to produce magic made out of plastic and became known as the Plastic King. He was one of the largest magic producers in the world during the 1940s and 1950s. He continued to make props for major retail magic shops through the 1980s. He also printed catalogs under the name of The International Magic Company.

In the early 1950s he teamed up with Ed Mellon to produce many mental effects.

His first store was located in Wilkinsberg, Pennsylvania and called "Regow’s" House of Enchantment. He inverted the name Swoger to prevent confusion with his father's music store and his brother's photography business.

Later he moved to downtown Pittsburgh and eventually renaming the business "James Swoger House of Enchantment" around 1968. In the early 1970s, he moved his retail shop and manufacturing plant into his home, still in Pittsburgh.

Swoger got an offer to move to California where he expected to start up the business again. However, the moving truck full of his equipment and props was involved in a head-on collusion and his partner was seriously injured.

He semiretired and in 1995, Swoger sold the rights for the House of Enchantment name along with all of the equipment and props to Jay Leslie for one dollar.

Swoger headlined 18 magic convention shows. He was a member of the I.B.M. ( member of the Order of Merlin Excelsior for 60 years continuous membership) San Diego Ring 76 and Ring 292, the Magic Guild of California. He was also a member of S.A.M..[2]

Swoger invented hundreds of magical effects. His most notable invention was Tricky Bottles. Others included: Blushing Nickle, Sparkle-Lite Production Tube, Mental Stamp, Mental 13, Swoger Coin Box, Spider Beside Her, 7th Wonder Card Box, Digitelephathy, Enchanted Confections, Keni Key, Mental Slate, Skeleton In The Closet, Sliding Glue, Sphinx Production Box, Stage Size Chineese Gong, Topsy Turvy Drink, and Tricky Bottles.

Books

  • Enchanted Ball Manipulation (1959)

References

  1. Obit, Linking Ring, February, 2007
  2. http://thehouseofenchantment.com/pages/swogerpage.html



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