The Magic of Li King Si


The performance of magic by Caucasians in yellow face has a long history. The most famous practitioner was William Robinson, who performed as Chung Ling Soo, though he was by no means the only one. Throughout the 1950s and 60s in America (and other Western countries) it was a common trope. Here’s a clip from a 1957 television magic special hosted by Ernie Kovacs with a performance from a magician who called himself Li King Si.

I’ve not been able to find out too much about him or his assistant, but Magicpedia says he was a Frenchman whose real name was Edouard (Georges) Cassel He does a credible Zombie, but the most interesting effect to me was the banner waving that his assistant does in the middle of the act.

You can see the entire 1957 television special (it includes the famous television performance of Cardini) by visiting the YouTube channel of  Todd Karr.

4 thoughts on “The Magic of Li King Si

    • I think what I like best are the little vocalizations of self-appreciation and amazement at each effect. I’m always interested in how a magician responds to the effect that just happened.

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