Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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While often credited to Will de Seive (William H. Wilson), de Seive's release of the trick was preceded by Joseph J. Kolar, who marketed it through Floyd Thayer, under the title of “The Kolar Magic Shears”. Thayer first advertised it in The Linking Ring, Vol. 9 No. 1, Mar. 1929, p. 69, and in the same month in The Sphinx, Vol. 28 No. 1, p. 4; and The Billboard, p. 46. Will de Seive didn't market the trick until November 1937, then giving it the name “Clippo”.

Harlan Tarbell gives a misleading genesis of the trick in The Tarbell Course in Magic, Vol. 5, 1948, p. 275. There Tarbell claims independent invention of the trick, along with Kolar, but twenty years earlier, in the December 1927 issue of The Sphinx, Vol. 26 No. 10, p. 349, he clearly gave credit for the trick to Kolar.

Tarbell writes that he showed the trick to Frakson (José Jiminez Seville), who took the idea back to Europe. This may have been the conduit through which Hans Katzenstein learned of it. He contributed his version, “Das Verhexte Papier”, to Magie in 1934, p. 151, using his stage name, Hakamü as the byline. The presentation involves a spectator in a Do-as-I-Do challenge as paper strips are cut and restored. In Germany, “Clippo” is still known as “Hakamü”. This was seven years after the Thayer release of “The Kolar Magic Shears.” Katzenstein immigrated to the U.S. from München in 1937 to avoid Nazi persecution, and changed his name to Howard B. Kayton. He gave his routine for “Clippo”, calling it “The Bewitched Paper”, to J. G. Thompson Jr. for Thompson's My Best, 1945, p. 251.

Further details on the saga of “Clippo” are given by Max Maven in the Summer 2014 issue of Gibecière, Vol. 9, No. 2, p. 83.