Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Sometimes Fact Is Stranger Than Fiction,

whilst watching New Tricks, in one episode a character played a wheelchair bound person, all of his life he never left his wheelchair in public, one of the characters in New Tricks mentioned it was like Chung Ling Soo, in appearance an elderly Chines gentleman who never spoke English and was extremely frail, well another Chinese magician Ching Ling Foo perfected the goldfish bowl trick and challenged anyone else that could perform it $1,000 Foo never showed up but William Ellsworth Robinson did, the story goes that Robinson, vexed by the non payment reinvented himself as Chung Ling Soo and maintained his role as a Chinese man scrupulously, He never spoke onstage and always used an interpreter when he spoke to journalists,
above Soo as he appeared on Stage, in 1905 in London, when both Chung and Ching were performing in different theatres, they developed a public feud — possibly a publicity stunt — referring to themselves as the only "Original Chinese Conjurer" and the other as an impostor, but for Chung Ling Soo (AKA William Ellsworth Robinson) it went tragically wrong when Chung was performing in the Wood Green Empire, London, he was performing 'the bullet catching trick' on March 23, 1918, Chung never unloaded the gun properly, the bullet was fired in the normal way, hitting Chung in the chest, His last words were spoken on stage that moment, "Oh my God, some thing's happened, lower the curtain." It was the first and last time since adopting the persona that William "Chung Ling Soo" Robinson had spoken English in public,
in fact William Ellsworth Campbell (he changed his last name to Robinson when he started his magic career,) was a strong American whose great strength like Foo's enabled him to preform the trick, but why this great preamble? well I recognized the name from a film called The Prestige, where Foo had a small walk on part, I could not believe that it was made up and sure enough it was not, I love things like this where a fictional film and a TV series or other film for that matter use a real person from history and bring them back to life even if for a short time, Chung Ling Soo, William Ellsworth Campbell, (1861 - 1918), fact really is stranger than fiction.

No comments: