Home / History / The Saturday Evening Post History Minute: Chung Ling Soo and the Deadly End of an Illusion

The Saturday Evening Post History Minute: Chung Ling Soo and the Deadly End of an Illusion

Published: March 23, 2018

One hundred years ago, a famous magician’s life was cut short by a trick that went horribly wrong.

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  • This is astonishing on so many levels. First and foremost, how was residue carelessly left in the gun of an inherently very dangerous stunt, a bullet catching trick, that had successfully been done for over 12 years??!

    Most likely complacency or very misguided assumption on someone’s part. Frankly it sounds so dangerous to me, it’s a wonder it (or something else) didn’t happen a long time before 1918.

    As far as William Robinson is concerned otherwise, I really admire his tenacity and ability to reinvent himself from previous incarnations, finally arriving at the Chung Ling Soo persona to make it a success. He had the talent of a magician and illusionist, but just needed the right vehicle or formula. In hindsight, it was both a wonderful and terrible thing.

    He did look Chinese when doing his act, even though he was white, which was an accomplishment in itself. The only other man I’ve ever heard of doing that was David Carradine on TV’s ‘Kung Fu’ several decades ago. Fortunately for him, his stint (and stunts) as a Chinese man were a lot safer.