His life and travels in Australia and New Zealand 1898 - 1899
, by Kent Blackmore

Ask almost any magician today to tell you about Dante and they will start to discuss
Harry Jansen ( 1883 - 1955 ), the illusionist who took the name 'Dante' to great and deserved heights of fame. But there was another 'Dante' before Jansen; a magician whose talents, although scarcely known today, deserve to be recorded. Oscar Eliason ( 1869 - 1899 ) showed the potential to have become one of the magical greats of the early twentieth century. Only the tragic earliness of his death prevented his skill becoming more widely known.

In these chapters Oscar Eliason's story is told, with emphasis on his Australasian tours between 1898 and 1899. It has been possible, through newspaper research, to build up an almost complete tour route for this period, which together with theatrical reviews and portraits, makes up an interesting history of the man who first performed as DANTE.

1 - Early Days

2 - The Mormon Wizard

3 - Performance and Personality

4 - Australasia

5 - Death in Dubbo

6 - After Dante

7 - Haunting

8 - Addendum

9 - Jack “Dante” Angus

10 - Frank Eliason










© 2013

The information contained in these web pages is the current revision of previous publications. Originally published in 1984, "Oscar Eliason - The Original Dante The Great" was revised and reprinted in 1987 as a 40-page booklet in light card covers. This website contains major updates to the original work, in particular the chapters on Eliason's early years from 1893-1898. Further minor updates will be posted on occasion. I am always interested to learn more about Eliason and would welcome your assistance.

Copies of the 1987 edition are still available for $10 U.S postpaid and, although it is far less complete than this website, some collectors may wish to have a hard-copy publication for their bookshelves. You can contact me HERE.

You may also be interested in my later book, "Levante: His Life, No Illusion", the biography of the Australian illusionist Les Levante. Details can be found HERE.


Most of the information in this story has been found by newspaper research in the State Libraries of New South Wales and Victoria. Thanks also to:-

The superb digitally searchable indexes of Utah newspapers at Utah Digital Newspapers.

Trove online newspapers

Gerald Taylor, publisher of 'Magical Nights at the Theatre' (1980) for permission to incorporate from the book the notes and memories of Charles Waller.

Mrs Lois Polanshek, the niece of Oscar and Frank Eliason for much valuable assistance regarding the family's history.

Janine Barrand (Performing Arts Museum, Melbourne) and Ian Park for making available Dante memorabilia.

The Geniis Magical Society and I.B.M. Ring 102, Sydney, for undertaking to maintain the gravesite of Oscar Eliason.

Ardis Parshall for extracts of newspaper articles from Salt Lake City.

Joe Pecore for assistance including locating references to Frank Eliason post-1899

Online images, including from the W.G. Alma Conjuring Collection held in the State Library of Victoria.