Colon / Harry Blackstone
Known as the "Magic Capital of the World'" this small town has gained widespread recognition for the invention and manufacture of magic tricks. Colon's reputation as a magic mecca began after Australian Percy Abbott visited the famous American magician Harry Blackstone who lived in this area. Abbott subsequently returned to Colon and started the Abbott Magic Novelty Company in 1933. Mainly a mail-order operation, the company continues to devise tricks which baffle the human eye and mind. In 1934 Abbott sponsored the first "Magic Get-Together," now an annual event attracting thousands of professional and amateur devotees. Blackstone himself as well as other famous conjurers have performed at these festivals.
One of America's most notable magicians, Harry Blackstone (1885-1965), lived in Colon. Born Harry Bouton, he began his professional wizardry career at the age of sixteen in his native city of Chicago. Blackstone's fame grew in the first three decades of the twentieth century when magic shows were a staple of vaudeville and Broadway. During World War II millions of servicemen watched him perform at gatherings of the USO (United Service Organizations). His show often included the "dancing" handkerchief trick and rabbits which were given to young spectators. Blackstone utilized split second timing and "misdirection" of the audience to create illusions. His colorful personality enhanced the drama of magic and endeared him to Colon which in the early 1960s renamed Main Street in his honor.