Jean Hugard’s ‘Wonder Show’ tours Kauai

For three nights in the fall of 1916, Australian magician Jean Hugard’s Wonder Show delighted Kauai audiences with the best entertainment of its kind seen up to that time on the Garden Isle.

Hugard & Co. opened at Koloa Hall on the evening of Oct. 31, then performed the following night at the Lihue Social Hall on Rice Street, now the site of the Chevron gas station, and made its final Kauai appearance in the Waimea Community Hall on Nov. 2.

Admission was 50 cents, with reserved seats priced at $1; children were charged half price.

One of Hugard’s many stunts had three National Guardsmen fire their rifles point blank at a small piece of black cloth that Hugard held over his heart.

The rifles cracked, and the bullets, after having apparently struck Hugard, fell harmlessly to the floor, leaving splotches of white on the black cloth to show where they’d struck.

In another act, Hugard, in full view of the audience, would slap a card to change it from an ace to a king, or from the jack of hearts to the deuce of clubs, etc.

A man selected from the audience then came on stage, picked a card from Hugard’s pack, and after losing it somehow, discovered he’d been sitting on it.

Hugard then accused the man of stealing his cards and proceeded to shake hundreds of pasteboard squares from the man’s pockets, after which he removed a live duck from under the man’s coat.

When Ching Sung Loo, the world’s greatest Chinese conjurer appeared, looking remarkably like Hugard, he began his act by eating the flames of burning candles, and finished his performance by stuffing cotton into his mouth and blowing out smoke and flames.

Ching Sung Loo also broke several eggs into a pan and covered it. When he took off the cover, three chickens jumped out.

Later, audiences were shown a reproduction of a large empty oyster shell; the shell then closed, and after a few magic “passes” by Hugard, the shell opened to disclose a woman reclining within.

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