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Another Loss.. PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

I’ve lost yet another good friend, Earl "Presto" Johnson, a generous, dedicated, magician of rare talent. He was a skinny Afro-American guy who spent a lot of love and effort on the youngsters of Harlem in NYC, helping them to find themselves.  He taught a score or more the conjuring trade, and he invented a number of sleight-of-hand effects that were brilliant. He died of a heart attack last month, having had a long history of heart problems. He was an icon in the New York magic world, a legend among his peers, who performed his stage act in his trademark white tail suit with silk top hat – and Bermuda shorts…

Beginning his long career at the famous Hubert's Dime Museum on Times Square in the 1940s, he went from there to tour in carnivals and sideshows, then got into the cruise ships and resorts field, and night clubs all over the USA. His unique manipulation routines with cigarettes, coins, cards, and balls inspired many future professionals. I recall that “Pres” spent every dollar he had, as soon as he earned it, and a lot of that went to help his less-fortunate friends.

My friend Presto was buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Hillside, New Jersey, and I and my friends are raising money to purchase a marker to indicate where this fine and skilled gentleman is interred, so that his fans may visit to honor his memory.