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23 February 2017

The Great Boomsky: Truro magician Isaac Willis

From The Chronicle Herald:
In the 1920s, a popular “professor” worked as a porter at the Truro train station. However this porter wasn’t a moonlighting academic.

Under the stage name of Professor Boomsky, he once mystified full houses at the world’s finest theatres. And before that, he worked at the White House.

Isaac Willis was born on Christmas Eve, 1879 in Alexandria, Va. By the age of two, he was living in Washington, D.C., where his father, a former cart driver, was a doorman at the White House. Eventually, Isaac joined his father, working there as a messenger boy.

By a twist of fate, Isaac caught the eye of Alexander Herrmann, a millionaire magician who lived a glamorous lifestyle befitting a modern-day rock star, complete with a yacht, private railcars, and a seaside mansion.

Herrmann, who often gave command performances for presidents and royalty, took notice of the charismatic Willis. In a flash, the White House needed a new messenger boy. The teen had signed on as Herrmann’s apprentice, assuming the role of Boomsky, the magician’s beloved stage assistant.

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