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Elmer Pelkin

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Elmer Pelkin
BornElmer N. Pelkin
Green Bay, Wisconsin
DiedSeptember 19 1973

Elmer (Edgar) Pelkin (1891-1973) was a full-time professional who traveled the United States playing theaters, tent shows, auditoriums, and, back when it was still popular, vaudeville.


Early on became enamored of the theater and magic, in particular, but his religious and conservative parents disliked show business.

One of his first jobs was working as a stagehand at the Orpheum Theater in Green Bay where he oversaw the hanging of scenery.

Pelkin decided then to start his own magic show and using his connections with the Orpheum organization toured across the circuit. He had a fairly large show, and billed himself as "The Man Who Walks Away From His Shadow."

Pelkin was also a carpenter and built many of his illusions himself.

During the Great Depression, he traveled with his magic show in a Model T automobile that he converted into a house trailer. His catch phrase when he wanted the magic to happen was the tongue twister "Hokey Pokey, Wicky Wong, Kalamazoo, Kamoley Kong."

When vaudeville died, he performed in school auditoriums and fundraisers for churches.

During World War II Pelkin performed magic during war bond rallies. After the war he ran silent movies in small theaters around Indianapolis.

At one time in his career he also performed magic with the Al Miller Tent Show which traveled throughout the south. [1]

He retired from magic in 1955.[2]


  2. Broken Wand, Linking Ring, December 1973
  • Conjurors and Cornfields: Magic on the Indianapolis Stage by Tom Ewing