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Joseph Dunninger

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Joseph Dunninger

Cover of Sphinx (July 1910)
BornApril 28, 1892
New York
DiedMarch 09, 1975 (age 82)
Cliffside Park, New Jersey
CategoriesBooks by Joseph Dunninger

Joseph Dunninger (April 28, 1892- March 9, 1975) was born in New York, New York, known as "The Amazing Dunninger" was one of the most famous mentalists of his time. He was a pioneer performer of magic on radio and television.


Dunninger began as a magician then later perfected the mind-reading act that made him famous. Among the people Dunninger performed for were six Presidents, Thomas Edison and Pope Pius XII. Like his friend Houdini, Dunninger was a debunker of occult phenomena who modestly assessed his own skills as "Any three-year-old could do it .... with 30 years practice."

Joseph Dunninger died of Parkinson's disease in Cliffside Park, New Jersey the same day he was awarded a Masters Fellowship from the Academy of Magical Arts. He lived long enough to get a phone call from Walter Gibson describing the applause.[1]

Awards and honors

  • Masters Fellowship from Academy of Magical Arts (1975)


  • "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice." -- Dunninger's sign-off on his television shows.


Dunninger performed his mentalism on the radio in 1929 and from 1943-1944.


  • The Dunninger Show on NBC.
  • The Amazing Dunninger on ABC (May 9 - October 10, 1956)

His act consisted of reading the thoughts of audience members and visiting special guests.

  • Dunninger's final series of programs for ABC-TV, recorded in 1971, were never broadcast. By that time he was suffering from Parkinson's disease and could not summon up the strength of presentation he'd previously displayed.

Books (by or about)

  • Dunninger's Tricks De Luxe (1918)
  • Dunninger's Tricks Unique (1918)
  • Dunninger's Master Methods of Hypnotism (1923) (written by David J. Lustig [La Vellma])
  • Popular Magic (1926)
  • Universal Second Sight Mysteries (1927)
  • Houdini's Spirit Exposes and Dunninger's Psychical Investigations (1928)
  • Popular Magic Vol. II (1929)
  • Popular Magic and Card Tricks (1929)
  • Inside the Medium's Cabinet (1935)
  • How to Make a Ghost Walk (1936) (ghost written by Walter Gibson)
  • What's On Your Mind (1944)
  • 100 Houdini Tricks You Can Do (1954)
  • The Art of Thought Reading (1956)
  • Magic and Mystery: The Incredible Psychic Investigations of Houdini and Dunninger (1967)
  • Dunninger's Complete Encyclopedia of Magic (1967)
  • Dunninger's Secrets as told to Walter Gibson (1974)
  • Dunninger's Monument to Magic (1974)
  • Dunninger's Book of Magic (1979)
  • Daddy Was A Mind Reader: DUNNINGER The Truth at Last (Volume 1) by Mrs. Maxine Dunninger Hohneker (2010)


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