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Herr Bolke

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Herr Bolke
BornRichard A. Boehlke
October 6, 1874
Berlin, Germany
DiedSeptember 15, 1923 (age 48)
Wildwood, New Jersey

Herr Bolke (1874-1923) was an acrobat and magician who created the illusion "Creo".


Bolke emigrated to the United States with his family as a young boy. He became an accomplished theatrical acrobat and married Mary E. Harbolsheimer in 1898. For a number of years he, his wife and his sister were acrobats known as "The 3 Nudos ... Marie, Beth and Richard."

While touring as an acrobat, Bolke became interested in magic and he began the development of his illusion "Creo" in about 1905. The Creo illusion begins on stage with three rods, a female head of plaster, a wig, a long cloak and a tray of theatrical make-up. After they are placed together to form the shape of a woman (without any over), the lifeless eyes of the plaster head open, the face becomes animated and begins to smile. The cloak is removed and a living, breathing woman steps down. Many imitated the effect using methods of their own creation including Thurston, Dante, Nicola, Maurice Rooklyn, Mark Wilson and Harry Blackstone, Jr. Thurston renamed his version "The Vampire," which was also the name of the marketed version by Thayer and Owen.

Bolke retired from the theater in 1917, but was about to return when he became ill with pernicious anemia and eventually died.[1]


  1. Herr Bolke's "Creo" The illusion that fooled Hugard, Tarbell and Jarrett! by Tad Ware, Magicol No. 142, February 2002