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BornCharles Joseph Jones
May 23, 1890
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
DiedJune 20, 1973 (age 83)
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

Colta, The Merry Magician (1890-1973), was a professional vaudeville and club act magician.[1]


He became interested in magic in 1904 and within a year he was appearing as "Colta, The Merry Magician." The name was derived from De Kolta, who was believed to be a distant family relative.

In 1908 he adopted Chinese makeup and worked a stage act in conjunction with movies as "Prince Ko-Ko, Oriental Conjurer."

From 1909 into 1911, Colta worked steadily in vaudeville. After marrying Mimi Engle in 1912, they became known as "Colta & Colta".

In 1930 the Coltas returned to home life in Harrisburg and during World War II Colta devoted over 500 hours to entertaining service men in camps, canteens and hospitals.

He was cofounder and first president of both the I.B.M. Ring 20 and the SAM Assembly No. 53 in Harrisburg. [2][3] He was later honored by the members of his assembly by naming it the Colta Assembly and presented him with honorary lifetime membership.

The Magician Alliance of Eastern States honored him by electing him as their first president and in later years he served as the state representative for Pennsylvania.

The Coltas moved to California in 1957 where he became a member of S.A M. Assembly 22 of Los Angeles and active in the Pasadena Magicians Guild. The Guild presented him with honorary lifetime membership for his many contributions.

In 1971 the Coltas returned to their native Pennsylvania where Colta continued to entertain people with magic until the last years of his life. [4]


  1. Who's Who in Magic, Sphinx, April 1931
  2. Cover, MUM June 1955
  3. Forty-One Years of Conjuring By Eddie Clever, Linking Ring February 1950
  4. Broken Wand, Linking Ring, September, 1973