Season 4, Episode 11: Dantini - Baltimore's Magician
In this episode, Frank talks with Mark Walker and McCarl Roberts about a quirky, local magician who captured Baltimore’s heart.
Dantini’s tagline was: “Dantini, he knew Houdini.”
How cool is that?
Outside of Baltimore, and to be honest, in this day and age, in Baltimore, Dantini isn’t a household name. He doesn’t pop to one’s tongue the way that Copperfield, David Blaine, or even Criss Angel do, when thinking about magicians. He never had his own prime-time special. There aren’t even any books written about him.
But when he died, Baltimore mourned his passing. Articles ran in the newspapers for weeks after his death. People still fondly remember him.
That’s the kind of beauty of Baltimore. That this immigrant magician, who performed a 15 minute set in-between acts at the Peabody Book Shop and Beer Stube, could touch so many people. Early in his career he met Houdini (hence his tagline), and went on to perform on Broadway and in some films. He became a fixture of the Fell’s Point community, and was rumored to not even have a social security number.
I am constantly coming across stories like this. Of people, or inventions, that have become enduring and far reaching, but got their humble beginnings in Baltimore. There is just something about Baltimore that flourishes talent, and in a lot of cases, keeps it here. Look at John Waters, or Kevin Plank, or even Dantini, a magician who wanted nothing more than to entertain people, and he did just that right up until he died.