Monday, March 29, 2010

W. H. Dilger, Vaudeville Entertainer

William H. Dilger was born on July 23, 1880 in Sandusky, Ohio. His father, also named William H. Dilger, was a landscape gardener and florist in Sandusky in the 1880’s and 1890’s. The book Sandusky of Today credits William H. Dilger, Sr. with beautifying the city parks of Sandusky. By 1900 William H. Dilger, Sr. had moved to Michigan, where he continued work as a landscape gardener.

The younger William H. Dilger was in show business for many years. He lived for a time in New York, but then moved to Sarasota, Florida, and later to Miami, Florida. In correspondence with former Follett House curator, Helen Hansen, Mr. Dilger wrote that he had appeared in illusion shows at Cedar Point, and performed an original illusion entitled “The Moth and the Flame” at the Biemiller Opera House in Sandusky in 1910. He claims to have originated many magic tricks and illusions for professional magicians when Vaudeville was at its height. W. H. Dilger performed in Vaudeville from about 1908 through 1913.

The following article, from the April 1909 issue of Popular Mechanics, illustrates the remarkable “Safe Escape Act” of W.H. Dilger.
According to the Social Security Death Index, William H. Dilger passed away in Florida in June, 1968. You can read an article written by W. H. Dilger in the February 21, 1963 issue of the Sandusky Register, in which W. H. Dilger details his father’s career as a florist, landscape gardener, and consultant.

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