Boneyard Bedevilry

By Ken Trombly - Thursday, May 12, 2022


After the 19th century’s top American magician, Alexander Herrmann’s unexpected death in 1896—he only lived 52 years, as did the 20th century’s magic star, Harry Houdini—numerous performers donned Herrmannesque facial hair and changed their names to Herman or Herrman, et al, in a dizzying array of would be successors.

This uncommon poster advertises a similarly named performer, along with whimsical artwork and the title, “Napoleon of Necromancers”, phraseology befitting Alexander Herrmann himself. Per a 1904 theatrical publication, Hellmann, also known as Hell-Mann, was born in California in 1875 and performed a “clean show”.

This one sheet poster (c. 30 x 40 inches), while printed by Courier Litho of Buffalo, NY, came from a European source. It is a personal favorite.

Hellmann Poster © Kenneth M. Trombly, All Rights Reserved

Did you enjoy this? Other examples of posters from Ken’s collection can be viewed on Instagram or at his website, magicposters.com


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