Larry Weeks 1919-2014
Posted October 24, 2014
With heavy heart, we say good-bye to Lester Fulton Weeks, who died last week of cancer at the age of 95.
"Lester Fulton Weeks, best known as Larry Weeks, was born in Salem, MA and died at a VA hospital in New York at age 95. His family moved to the Bronx in New York in 1929. When he was ten, his father, Aaron, an importer who worked for the Scandinavian Embassy, taught Larry a few magic tricks. Larry performed at P.S. 46 and attended Bronx Boys High School and Brooklyn College.
"Larry learned to juggle and earned the nickname 'speedsational' for his amazing balance and rapidly paced act. He developed an act called 'Juggling For Fun', which toured in New York, Boston, and Montreal. In the late 1930s Larry performed magic in New York City parks with Abe Hurwitz and his Peter Pan Magic Club.
"In World War II, Larry found himself at Ft Monmouth where he was seen by Irving Berlin and transferred to Fort Upton in 1942. He became part of the 'This Is The Army' detachment as part of the traveling show that raised funds for the war effort. The show appeared on Broadway and played in 21 countries. Corporal Weeks, the baton-twirling juggler was now juggling knives, forks, potato spuds, and apples an act built around the KP duties of the kitchen police. It should be noted that Weeks was the originator of apple juggling in which he took a bite of the apple at each turn until he was juggling only the core. In 1943 he repeated his role in the Warner Brothers film of the same name.
"Once back in civilian life he both juggled and did magic, developing a children’s show market. He also found a way to make seamless sponge balls and marketed them under the name of Spongecraft. He booked other performers and in September of 1966 came up with the idea of producing the first all-day magic convention held at the hotel Lexington in New York City. For a three dollar registration fee the attendees got a movie, close-up magic, a dealer demo, auction, raffle, and a professional evening show. He drew 200 magicians and it was during his lifetime.
"Weeks was a friend to many of the famous magicians of our time including Cardini, Roy and Connye Benson, Frakson, and Paul Rosini. In 1979 and 1980 he produced two of the New York 'Salute to Magic' shows featuring his friend Richiardi.
"Larry Weeks was a collector of vaudeville props, books, juggling and magic props, escape tricks, and films specializing in Charlie Chaplin, WC Fields, and Houdini. Larry always attended the collectors meetings and was a regular attendee at Sid Radner’s Houdini séances. He was very proud and boasted that his final resting place was a plot at the Machpelah Cemetery a few hundred yards away from the Houdini family graves. He was interred there with a graveside Jewish service, a military honor guard, and the Society of American Magicians Broken Wand ceremony. He was also a longtime member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, who sent their condolences."
–George Schindler, Dean, Society of American Magicians
September 24, 1919–October 13, 2014
(Photo courtesy Rene Clement)
Note from the JuggleNYC Editors: Posted as received.