Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Torn-and-Restored Newspaper

A number of magicians have been credited with the invention of this variation on the Torn-and-Restored Paper effect. Germany's Benno Pantel (1894-1967) seems to be the earliest specific candidate, with some sources naming him as the originator and others denying it. There is evidence for earlier performances, in which the old Torn-and-Restored Paper was done with a single page from a newspaper. See the letter from Hugall Benedict in Stanyon's Magic, Vol. 3 No. 7, April 1903, p. 62, in which he describes this idea, using a borrowed newspaper. This negates the claim for Pantel's invention of the effect, as he was seven years old when this letter was published.

Another German professional who has frequently been credited with the invention of the Torn-and-Restored Newspaper is Cortini (1890–1954), but the German literature indicates that Pantel preceded Cortini with this effect. Cortini introduced it to American audiences in 1922, using two separate sheets of newspaper. He would tear up one of the sheets, ball up the pieces and toss the ball into the audience. He then tore up the second sheet and restored it. When the spectators opened the ball of newspaper pieces, they found them restored, too.

Bill Lohmeyer and Lu Brent have also been reported to have invented the effect in the late 1920s, but Benedict, Pantel and Cortini predate these claims. Jean Hugard released his method through Holden’s in 1930. Baker followed in 1931 with his method, as did Ned Williams with his.

Slydini's version of the Torn-and-Restored Newspaper was actually the Al Baker method with an extra piece of paper added to the back, so that both sides could be shown, an idea used by Leon McGuire years before Ken Allen marketed the trick under Slydini's name. According to Jay Marshall, Slydini never did the trick as described. (See MAGIC, Vol. 14 No. 10, June 2005, p. 59.)

See also Torn-and-Restored Magazine Cover.