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Harvey Long

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Harvey Long

Harvey and Maxine Long (Seattle, 1974)
BornHarvey Leroy Long
April 6 1916
San Francisco, California
DiedDecember 25 1992 (age 76)
Seattle, Washington

Harvey Long (1916-1992) was a professional magician based in Seattle, Washington for over 50 years.

Early Years

Long was born in San Francisco but soon after his birth his family moved to Everett, Washington. Harvey became interested in magic as a boy after seeing a performance by Professor Raymond (not to be confused with Maurice Raymond.) In 1932 he saw Howard Thurston's show at the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle and in 1935, at age 19, Long attended the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians' convention in Hollywood. There he was encouraged by several of the professionals in attendance, including William Larsen Sr., Bess Houdini and Caryl Fleming.

Together with his friend, Bobby Fenton, Long created a black art act that they premiered at the P.C.A.M. convention in 1936, where the duo received an award for "Best Spiritualistic Act."

Long attended the University of Washington, studying Journalism. In his spare time he performed an act for clubs and groups with his partner, Maryann Bier, a xylophonist billed as "The Musical Mentalist."

In 1941, Harvey married Maxine Morford, a school teacher. One day shortly after their marriage, Long received a telephone call from Seattle booking agent, Len Mantell. He told Long that Jack Gwynne needed an assistant to replace his recently-drafted son, Buddy, in the act. Harvey and Maxine were hired and joined Jack and Anne Gwynne for the next 3 months, touring from coast-to-coast. "It was a college education in professional magic," Harvey later recalled. On the final night of the tour, New Year's Eve, 1942, Jack Gwynne was stricken with a gallstone attack while playing the Claridge Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. Harvey and Maxine stepped-in and performed the show, using all of the showmanship they had learned from their months with the Gwynnes. The show was a success.

War Years

Long was drafted shortly after the U.S. entered WWII. He was assigned to the Army in Australia and The Philippines. When it was discovered that he was a magician, Long was assigned to Special Services and helped produce and perform in the "50-50 Army Show"; an entertainment unit made up of 50 Americans and 50 Australians that toured military camps in the South Pacific for the duration of the war. Long was discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant.

Seattle's "Mr. Magic"

Returning to Seattle after the war, Long resumed his studies, graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in Journalism. He was still performing in clubs and theaters around the Northwest, together with Maxine, who had also created her own magic act during the years that Harvey was overseas. In 1946, Maxine was awarded the Magigal's "Houdini Award" - a diamond pin created from a diamond broach gifted to the group by Bess Houdini - as the best female magician at that year's P.C.A.M. Convention.

During the 1950's and 60's, "Harvey Long and Maxine" were the most popular magic act in the Seattle area, performing at hundreds of events. Harvey's popularity earning him the nickname "Seattle's Mr. Magic" as dubbed by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper. Long created a 15-minute television show, "Magic Time" that was broadcast over KING-5 in 1950.

With his daytime job as Northwest Advertising Director for TV Guide magazine, Long came into contact with many businessmen who used his magic as entertainment for their company events.

Junior Magician's Club

During the 1960's and 70's, Harvey and Maxine hosted a group of young magicians, what became known as "The Seattle Junior Magicians Club", in their home. The group met twice-monthly in the Long's fully equipped basement theater. There the "juniors" practiced their tricks and received critiques from the Longs and other members, in ways to improve their performance. Once a year, the club hosted an annual show in June where trophies were awarded for the best and most-improved performers. Through the years, dozens of club members from ages 10 to 18, participated in the club.

Later Years

After leaving TV Guide, in the 1970's Long became a regional advertising representative for community newspapers around Seattle. This brought him into contact with more business people who could use what Long called his "Magic Touch" to help promote their businesses. He was one of the first performers to focus on entertainment at large shopping malls during these years. Long's act still featured several feats he had learned during his days with Gwynne, including the Cut and Restored Turban and Temple of Benares. He was also known for his popular Bill In Lemon and "Disecto" wrist chopper routines. Long's casual performing style has been compared to comedian, Jack Benny.

Long served in many capacities in local magic clubs from the 1940's through 1980's, also serving as President of the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians in 1977, hosting their convention that year in Seattle.

Maxine Long died after a bout with cancer in 1984. Later, Harvey re-married to one of his college sweethearts, Ruth Miller. He continued to perform up until shortly before his death due to complications from Alzheimer's Disease on Christmas Day, 1992.

Books by Harvey Long

  • Optical Illusions: It's All In how You look At It. 1972. Self published.
  • Fund Raising Magic (With Kate Gross) 1977. Self published.