Friday Magic Showcase: Al Flosso (1895-1976)

Dubbed "The Coney Island Fakir" by Milton Berle, Al Flosso perfected the side-show barker character and was the first magician to appear on the "Ed Sullivan Show". For nearly 40 years, Flosso owned and operated the famed Martinka & Co. magic shop in New York, previously owned by Houdini. Flosso's first major business choice was to stop cleaning the magic shop, as he didn't want to disturb Houdini's dust. His son, Jackie Flosso, took over the business after his father's death.


Anonymous said...
9:49 AM

"Houdini's dust" sounds like a remark Al Flosso would make, but I think it was more a case of his not bothering to make things neat.
I hung out at Flosso's store most weekends for about 2 years when I was a young teen. The "store" had things on display shelves and counters. They were crowded with new and used effects and props. But, he would pull out whatever was the newest device he had gotten, which he often did not display. But, there was the back room. This was a large area with lots of old stage effects, props, etc. It reminded me of someone's storage garage. He did not usually show it to customers, not even "famous" ones, such as The Amazing Randi who came by one day.

Anonymous said...
1:23 AM

I used to drop in on Jack Flosso at Martinka whenever I was in Manhattan in the '80s and '90s, and would buy whatever antique magic props from the back room I could afford on my magic budget at the time. On several such visits, I got to talking magician talk with a young girl, short with a frizzy mop of dark hair, always wearing a black derby hat, who also spent time there and was a performing clown magician. Turns out she was Larry Fine's grandaughter! - which she never mentioned, but which Jack told me one day after she had left. She did look just like him.

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