LEVANTE - His Life No Illusion

by Kent Blackmore

"He was a giant of a man in every way. His magic inspired  magicians as much as it entertained them ... though his shows were never built up as extravagant spectacles, they were nevertheless the ones the public remembered, and indeed strangers to magic, asked about the art,  always remember The Great Levante. I think this was because they were  presented without boast or bombast ... Levante was not only a real  magician, a large and vivid personality who could work wonders, but he  was also a human being. I have said that Levante shunned the  extravaganza festooned with razamataz. But when you analyse it, he  didn't need the trimmings. He enjoyed the pageantry of parading magic,  but he did it through his personality. The tricks, from the largest  illusion, to the smallest front cloth quickie, had style. His humour had heart. He isn't the last of the 'greats' but what I do know is that he  was unique in inspiring others. That's real magic."
- Alan Kennaugh, "Magigram" magazine


Levante Photo Gallery

and see more Levante photos from the State Library of Victoria

Levante - His Life, No Illusion
is the seventh installment in the award-winning series of
Magical Pro-Files published, in 1997, by Mike Caveney's Magic Words. Though it is now out of print, copies may still be found with U.S. magic dealers - search online by the book title.

The format for this biography of the great Australian illusionist, Les Levante (1892-1978), is unlike any other book in the series. After discovering Levante's unpublished autobiography, author Kent  Blackmore spent five years researching the fascinating life of perhaps  the last of the great touring illusionists.

Each chapter is divided into two distinct sections. First comes  Levante's personal memories of the many adventures he experienced while  touring the world with his ever-expanding, full-evening illusion show.  Levante's words are followed by the author's considerable research which adds greatly to the story, makes corrections and places into context  Levante's reminiscences.

In describing his heroic struggle to the top of his profession,  Levante provides a word's-eye-view of show business during the early  part of this century. Travel with Levante and Company as they visit  Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan and India. As a headliner in  England's music halls, Levante socialized with many of magic's greatest  names including Dante, Goldin and Selbit.  Levante - His Life, No Illusion contains over a hundred photos  illustrating his long career and spectacular magic show. An appendix  describes many of Levante's classic tricks and illusions that have been  explained in magic magazines over the years.


"Les Levante was the most famous performing magician to come out of  Australia and also probably the last of the great post-vaudeville road  show magicians, still touring well into the 1950s. Kent Blackmore has  provided an interesting and readable account of this worthy subject in a decidedly unusual format ... what comes across is a portrait of a man  who was adaptable, hard-working, good-natured, and with a clear talent  for business ... a classy and pleasing job all around, as befits the life it portrays."
- Genii magazine, September 1997 (Jamy Ian Swiss)

Blackmore has not only accomplished this storytelling mission, he has written the genuine and definitive Levante book ... It affords a true  picture of the style and performance persona of Australia's greatest  illusionist at the height of his magical career... throughout the book  there's fascinating information about others magicians of the times. An  example is the four-page unravelling of the complex history of magicians in Australia who cashed in on the success of P.T. Selbit's "Sawing" ... it will be difficult to put the book aside until you finish every intriguing word.
M A G I C, July 1997 (John Moehring)