Catching Up with Milo and Roger by Dustin Stinett
Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii January, 2008)
When I was 14 years old, I saw Milo and Roger in both their appearances on Hollywood Palace, a popular television variety show in the tradition of The Ed Sullivan Show, and two of the main sources for budding conjurors to see magicians perform. I never forgot the bouncing over sized turban on the head of Milo, and the endless supply of water from his battered Lota Bowl. But it wasn't until 1999, when Arthur Brandons (aka Milo's) autobiography was published, that I rediscovered who it was I had seen in those memorable appearances, along with the story of their lives and magic. Milo & Roger, A Magical Life [reviewed July 1999 Genii) is doubtless one of the best autobiographies in the history of magic, and if you haven't read it, I highly recommend this personal and personable memoir. At the 10th Los Angeles Conference on Magical History in November of 2007, attendees had the chance to hear Genii colleague Dustin Stinett report on his personal search for additional photographs and memorabilia, which he felt were significantly absent from the autobiography that had so charmed him. In this monograph, Mr. Stinett recounts an incredible treasure hunt that led him through countries and continents (okay, via phone, e-mail and freight we're not talking Bourne Identity here) and which, through both determined effort and fabulous turns of coincidence and luck, eventually delivered a bounty of irreplaceable photos, posters, handbills, stationary, press clippings, that were all but lost to history.
Mr. Stinett joins the ranks of countless grass roots historians who have rescued magic's past for its future practitioners and researchers, and my hat is off to any and all who contribute to our communal historical record in this fashion. One is tempted to dub such pursuit to be without substantial reward, but the true fans of our history the ones who troupe to the history conferences and, by the lime the conventions are over are already eager for the next installment know that the reward lies is in digging up some new relic, discovering some tidbit of information, bringing to light a new addition to the story that will be appreciated so much by so few. If you've read the Milo &r Roger book already, you'll want to add Mr. Stinett's labor of love to your shelves as you revisit the experience; if you're new to Milo & Roger, wait not a moment longer to obtain both the book and this delightful companion volume, to help illustrate and expand the journey.