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Harry August Jansen (Harry August Jansen)

Harry August Jansen

Harry August Jansen was born on October 3, 1883 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Jansen came to St. Paul, Minnesota at the age of 6 with his family. At the age of 16 Jansen made his stage debut under Charles Wagner. He then set off on a world tour for 5 years as the Great Jansen. In 1922, magician Howard Thurston, realizing Jansen’s talent and possible competition to him, engaged Jansen to star in the #2 Thurston show. Thurston gave Jansen the stage name of Dante. The name came from the original Dante, Oscar Eliason (1869–1899), who had been killed in a tragic hunting accident in Australia years earlier. In 1925, Dante the Magician Inc. came into being with Thurston as co-owner. The 2nd unit Thurston show was built and co-produced by Jansen. Dante was known throughout the world under the name Dante the Magician, working in vaudeville, burlesque, legitimate theatre, films, and in later years, television. Dante and his troupe, consisting of between 25 to 40 performers, made several global trips and appeared in many U.S. theaters. His stage trademark was to utter three nonsense words, “Sim Sala Bim” (taken from the lyrics of a Danish children’s song), during his performances to acknowledge applause. He can be seen using these words in the Swedish 1931 feature Dantes mysterier (Dante’s Mysteries) and in the 1942 Laurel and Hardy comedy A-Haunting We Will Go. In 1940 Harry August Jansen produced and starred the Broadway revue Sim Sala Bim on the Morosco Theatre. With television, the public stayed home more often, and the world of variety theatre suffered drastically. As a result, Dante retired to his Southern California in the late 1940s. Harry August Jansen died at his ranch in Northridge, California, of a heart attack, at the age of 71. He was alone at the time of his death.

 

 

 

 

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Born

  • October, 03, 1883
  • Copenhagen, Denmark

Died

  • June, 16, 1955
  • USA
  • Northridge, California

Cause of Death

  • heart attack

Cemetery

  • San Francisco Columbarium
  • San Francisco, California
  • USA

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