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Frank Herman

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Frank Herman

Cover of Genii (1954)
BornFrancis Joseph Herman
November 8, 1916
New York City
DiedJanuary 4, 2000 (age 83)
San Diego, California

"Skipper Frank" Herman (1916-2000) was a ventriloquist and pioneer of magic on television. He was a Los Angeles based children's show personality, hosting CARTOON CAROUSEL and FOR KIDS ONLY in the 1950s.[1]


Raised in Poughkecpsie, New York, he learned at age ten from library books and a Mysto Magic set. At the age of 15, Herman was hired to perform at President Franklin Roosevelt's mother's home in Hyde Park, New York. Herman added vent to his magic endeavors in the thirties and his first professional performance was at the State Theatre, Poughkeepsie in 1932.

In 1935, he went to New York City and worked part-time at a magic shop, free-lance magician's assistant, pitchman, and played a few club dates.[2]

Herman eventually made his way out to Hollywood, working at Wheeler's novelty store. Later he opened Hill Street Fun Shop in Los Angeles.

Herman served in the Army during War World II and ended up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He also did shows for the USO. There he was married and became a local radio personality, doing a daily kid show.

In 1949, he returned to Los Angeles and began working TV, club dates, and magic shops.[3] He joined the "Mystic 13" and in two years he had his first TV show called "Magic Party" (which only lasted a year).

During the Korean War, Herman toured the Orient as magician, Emcee, and show manager for the USO.

Returning to L.A., Herman bought the old Unique Novelty Company from Elmer Biddle just before the opportunity of the "Skipper Frank" TV series was offered to him. He starred on the show for the next nine years.

In 1960, Frank appeared as a act on It's Magic! and was later invited to emcee the annual show. Herman may have been first magician asked to do a week of stand-up at the Magic Castle, of which he was a lifetime member.[4]

In 1978, a local UHF TV station station put "Skipper Frank" back on the air.[5] Unfortunately, the show had to be cancelled when Frank discovered he had cancer. After successfully battling the cancer, he spent the next several years in Oregon and Washington, doing school assembly shows.

In the early '80s, he moved back to California where he ran a small magic shop in Oceanside, as well as a mail-order magic business from his home. He also helped start the S.A.M. Assembly No. 218, in Oceanside. [6]

Frank contributed numerous tricks and articles to magic magazines and wrote at many booklets,[7]



  • 15 Methods for Doing the Cut and Restored Necktie (1942)
  • Necktie Magic (1971)
  • How To Do Instant Impressions (1979)
  • That's the Troublewit (1982)
  • Your Money's Mirth (1982)


  2. Linking Ring, May, 1945
  3. Frank Herman, Versatility Personified By C. Verne Bloch, Linking Ring, Jan 1953
  4. Cover - Frank Herman assisted by Dorothy Minninck, Genii 1954 January
  5. Cover, Linking Ring, March 1980
  6. Magician of the Month, MUM, June 1989
  7. Obit, Magic Magazine, February 2000 and Genii 2000 March