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The History of Frank’s Magic Bar,
How it all started…

Frank’s Magic Bar was not born in Key West. The tale starts with Frank Everhart Sr, He was born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania on September 10th, 1921. Hmm, the math doesn’t sound right huh? Frank Jr, from the Magic Bar you know and love in Key West, wasn’t born until 1973. Frank Sr, is where it all began. {Insert picture of Frank Sr} After the Great Depression Frank Sr. hitchhiked to California where he became a bartender at the El Cortez Hotel in San Diego. Frank would serve a drink and get 50 cents. The magician walked in, did a trick and got two dollars. Frank said to himself, “Well this shxts gonna’ stop”! So he put together his own show. Frank started with one card trick. This was to be the card trick that put him on the map.

Sam the Bellhop:

This is one of the most renowned card tricks in the world. At the time the majority of the Magic community had accredited Frank with creation of this masterpiece of Magic. It was known as Frank Everhart’s famous playing card playlet, “The saga of Sam the bellhop”. Frank made the trick all the rage on the north side of Chicago in the 1950’s and 60’s. As for Sam the bellhop, Frank always said in witticism, “Some guy taught it to me for a free drink”. Was he joking? It is likely this version of the story is probably what really happened. Either way, it didn’t stop Frank from leaving for Magic City, Chicago, Illinois, with his trusty sidekick, Sam, to make history in comedy and Magic. Armed with what would become his signature trick, Frank Everhart arrived in Chicago for a one night stand and stayed 21 years! 

Chicago style bar Magic!

 {Insert picture of the Ivanhoe} When Frank hit Chicago, he encountered a boisterous city teeming with life. He started out working under a top flight magician of the time named Johnny Platt. Johnny said, “It was scary. I’d show Frank a trick and he’d come back and show me how to make it funny”! One night Frank’s buddy asked him to cover a bartending shift at Chicago’s Ivanhoe Restaurant and Theater. Apparently that was common practice in those days. Frank was serving drinks when a clamorous guy who had obviously had a few libations came up to the bar making noise. The only way Frank knew to quiet him down was to do a card trick. The guy loved it so much he called 8 or so of his friends up in hopes of seeing more. Frank was in a tight spot. All of a sudden this gathering had drawn the attention of the owner, Dick Jenson. In a flash a light bulb went off in Frank’s head causing him to say, “Everybody order 2 rounds of drinks. We’re going to do 15 minutes of Magic and we’re not gonna’ stop”! Frank, who thought he was in trouble, had never been more wrong. Dick Jenson saw 18 drinks sold in 5 seconds and said to himself, “Well what a neat idea”. That night, Frank’s Magic Bar was born in Chicago at the Ivanhoe! Frank was one of the originals in an elite group known as the Chicago Round Table. These guys lived to entertain. No joke was to brasin! No gag could go too far! In a comical pomposity of manor, all these eccentric prestidigitators cared about was making their audience, and each other, Laugh, Laugh, Laugh! It was a fraternity like no other. Frank Everhart was smack dab in the middle of a baffling and hilarious artistry that would come to be known as Chicago Style Bar Magic!

Behind every good man is a great woman!:

{Insert picture of Frank and Lee} Never were more true words spoken where it concerns Frank Everhart. He met his wife, Lee, at The Ivanhoe. One particular evening Lee was asked by her best friend to accompany her on a date. Apparently, Lee’s friend had arranged a rendezvous with a new suiter. Lee was happy to be there as a safety or wing-woman for her friend. Lee was told, “Go to the Ivanhoe and meet me at the Magic bar”. Lee had never been there before. Arriving early, Lee encountered a tall, gallant man behind the bar. To her amazement, he started doing tricks that astonished her as well as the gathering crowd. Her friend eventually arrived arm in arm with her date. They all had a grand adventure at the Magic bar and the four of them went out on the town of Chicago that very night! {Insert Mom and Dad pic at the Ivanhoe} A few years later Frank and Lee would marry in July of 1969. Lee began to be instrumental in booking Frank’s shows and in the evolution of new material for future appearances. Frank and Lee even had a longstanding article in Legerdemain magazine entitled, “Frank-Lee Speaking”. Lee said anytime Frank had a show he would spend days and hours prepping for it. Frank would be nervous until the moment the show started. Then, as if from a phone booth, one hilariously fearless Frank would appear through the curtain and flawlessly fascinate the spellbound audience in laughter and amazement! One little known fact is that half the time it was Lee’s boot in Frank’s behind that got him through that curtain. They had a passionate and fun loving 35 years together. Along the way the good Lord granted them a son. That leads to Frank Everhart II, and this story can be found on the biography page. 

Flyer for Frank Sr.

1964 Frank Jr & Sr 

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