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Dr. Carlo

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Dr. Carlo

Cover of Genii (1946)
BornCarl Francis Sommer
August 1, 1908
Toledo, Ohio
DiedNovember 6, 1996 (age 88)
Toledo, Ohio

Dr. Carlo (1908-1996) was a magician, magic dealer and inventor in Toledo Ohio, who went on to start his own religious organization.


During the Depression, he teamed up with Winston Freer, traveling from city to city, selling their magical inventions to local magicians.

In 1926 Carlo began doing shows for schools and clubs. He also worked for six years as an entertainer and sales representative of a razor blade company.

Carlo opened a magic shop in 1941 in Toldeo. In conjunction with the establishment, he organized the Society of Toledo Magicians. A few years later, in 1944, he started their official monthly publication called "The Bunny", which he wrote, edited and printed in the back room of his shop.

A service provided by Carlo was renting out live animals which he kept in the shop. [1]

Karrell Fox, who dedicated his first book, Kornfidentially Yours (1954) to Carlo, was once a demonstrator for him. A 1943 picture of Fox with Carlo can be seen in Karrell's later book Clever Like a Fox (1976).

In the mid-1950s, Carlo put together a full-evening illusion show, as well as a midnight Spook Show (in which he took on the stage name "Dr. Carlo") that toured for nearly six years.

He was one of the first magicians to tour the country with a telephone promotion setup for his magic, illusion and hypnotic show.[2]

In the 1960s, Carlo began representing himself as a real doctor, at least by implication. He set up his "Hypnotherapy Institute" in which he would would purportedly help clients break bad habits, such as smoking and drinking.[3]

By the late 1970s, he had become "The Blessing Man", holding weekly services for his followers, as leader of "the Crusade of Love for All Mankind."[4]

After several dealings with the law, Carlo dropped out of sight for a period. In 1978, he resurfaced and blanketed the Toledo, Ohio area with direct mail advertising and television spots.[5] As the Blessing Man, he continued to preside over his "love meetings.


Several of the Carlo's ideas, with permission, found their way into the shows of Doug Henning and Harry Blackstone, who later employed his friend Charles Reynolds as a magic consultant. Other professionals for whom Carlo created effects were Leon Mandrake and Dell O'Dell.

Carlo was to invent many tricks, some of them merchandized by Gene Gordon and Lou Tannen including:

  • Gopher Birds (an early multiplying rabbits like effect)
  • Balls of Fire
  • Sensational Liquid Production
  • Pop Away
  • Rubber Dove
  • Flames of Aladdin (a floating ball of fire that changes to a live dove)
  • Carlo Glass Production


  • Hypnotize Yourself (1960)[6]


  1. Genii 1946 August Cover
  2. New Tops, October 1993.
  3. The Strange Saga of Dr. Carlo By CHARLES REYNOLDS,Magicol No.154 (September 2005) Cover