Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Sad news to report is the passing of Carl Ballantine who passed away in his sleep at the age of 92. As "Ballantine the Great" or "The Amazing Ballantine" Carl's vaudeville-style routine involved transparent or incompetent stage magic tricks, which tend to flop to the wisecracking Ballantine's mock chagrin.In his early career, Meyer Kessler did a straight manipulation act but gave up "real magic" when he realized he could not be as good as some of his peers. He changed his name to Ballantine early on after he noticed a bottle of Ballantine whisky in an advertisement and decided that the name of his magic act was to be "Ballantine, the World's Greatest Magician". He proved successful enough that he became the first magician to headline in Las Vegas. The general public will likely remember Ballentine as Lester Gruber, one of the PT boat sailors in the television series McHale's Navy (1962-66). Ballantine was the husband of actress Ceil Cabot (8 March 1927, USA - 24 January 2000) and is the father of actress Sara Ballantine.

Last time I saw Carl Ballentine was at the 41st Annual AMA Awards.