Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tom Jack, The Ice King

Physical freak, escape artist and mythological persona: the traces of a less known but original Houdini pretender

In year 1900, the new century is opened in Europe by the arrival of two distinguished Americans : Harry Houdini and James Anton Bailey. The first, exposes the theatrical world at the craze of the « escape acts » ; the second, bringing on tour the « Greatest Show on Earth », mondernizes the old-world industry of poster advertising. But is not of them we wish to talk. Today’s gallery shows an inusual exemple among many of those two influences.

Around 1910, Germany saw an invasion of home-made Houdini pretenders. But very few of them was remarked for their originality. One at least was : « Tom Jack – The Ice King ».

In concrete, he presented a most ordinary, almost mediocre act of escape from chains and ropes.

But Tom Jack was an albino.

His physical anomaly helped impresarios ad designers to imagine something that is now lost in the performing arts : the fabrication of a beliavable mithological character.

Trying to put togheter the few visual traces remaining of Tom Jack act, we discovered that putting his advertising reliquia in some arbitrary sequence, we have the illusion of a strange storyboard, almost a series of mysterious events, of we will shall never know enough about.

1 comment:

Wade G. Burck said...

Kind Sir,
I would like to commend you on an wonderful, educational blog. I enjoy purusing it almost daily.
I would also like to extend my respect for a man of obvious honor, integrity, and courage, who I have enjoyed debating, without the muddyness of personalities, on another overseas blog.
Many misconception´s have been recorded as historical fact, just because somebody was afraid of retaliation, or the misconception´s were deemed "unimportant".
With sincere respect, thank you for your time.
Wade Burck

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