Archive of material belonging to hypnotist and magician John Kolisch

N.p. N.p., 1950s-1970s. Substantial archive of material belonging to Austrian-American stage hypnotist and magician John Kolisch, including two three-ring card binders with typescript and manuscript notes for Kolisch's live shows, and 271 vintage photographs of Kolisch in performance. Archive appears to date from the 1950s through the 1970s, the heyday of Kolisch's career.

One binder holds notes and scripts for Kolisch's magic tricks, powers of suggestion, and general show patter and jokes, while the other binder focuses primarily on feats of hypnosis. The binders hold a variety of material relating to Kolisch's performances, a mix of more formal typed scripts for routines alongside manuscript draft notes and annotations noting potential "ad-libbed" interjections. Several pages capture Kolisch recording his ideas for changes to the pacing and setup of his shows, as well as reminders about modernizing his patter and updating his celebrity references.

Although the bulk of Kolisch's material is undated, earlier acts appear to reference specific actors, films, or shows, such as opera singers or the television show "Cavalcade of Stars," while later routines simply note the names of prominent contemporary actors and celebrities to insert at random. Kolisch, who billed himself as "The Fastest Hypnotist in the World," apparently used a blend of serious hypnotism, stage magic, and standup comedy in his shows, and accordingly, an entire binder section, labeled "Funny Lines," is devoted to ripostes and one-liners. These zingers cover every performance eventuality, from hecklers ("Have you ever been to the zoo? I mean as a visitor?") to a silent audience ("Well they say a silent tribute is the sincerest of them all!").

The archive's considerable collection of photographs captures the spirit and energy of Kolisch's live shows, with audience members engaged in a number of humorous activities—stripping, saluting, yelling and singing, dancing, acting as human furniture, kissing and hugging each other, playing musical instruments such as maracas and the ukulele—or simply sleeping. Several photographs bear Kolisch's name and company address in Jackson Heights, New York, in the recto margins, an address that also appears in Kolisch's company letterhead on many of his show notes.

Included in the archive are 17 contact sheets, capturing images from performances and portrait photographs of Kolisch. Also included are two gatherings of typescript and copied material related to Kolisch’s lectures on “dynamic auto-conditioning” and “dynamic auto-suggestion,” with many pages annotated by Kolisch in manuscript ink or pencil. Archive also features a 17-page bound treatise, titled “Your Incredible Subconscious Mind,” published in 1956 by the "Subconscious Research Institute" (an organization possibly created by Kolisch himself).

Photographs range in size, with the majority measuring 10 x 8 inches. Near Fine to Very Good plus, with occasional edgewear and creasing.

Binders, contact sheets, lecture material, and treatise Near Fine to Very Good plus, with some light edgewear, creasing, and soil on binder exteriors.

[Book #159183]