Polaroid’s Secret Showman

Jonathan Allen with Jan Isenbart at Cabinet Magazine:

In the spring of 1954, Reinhard Müller stepped onto a stage in the German city of Wolfsburg as a volunteer in a magic show. His presence was captured in a small sepia photograph, where he can be seen in conversation with a tuxedoed magician holding the elegant pocket watch that Müller has just entrusted to him. The conjurer is Helmut Ewald Schreiber (1903–1963), better known by his stage name Kalanag. He is in the final stages of a trick called “The Devil’s Mail,” a popular feature of his world-touring magic revue, Simsalabim. A few moments before, Müller’s watch had been reduced to fragments in a mortar by sharp blows of the magician’s wand. In the photograph, Kalanag can be seen returning the now miraculously restored timepiece to its owner. But his watch is not all that Müller will take with him when he leaves the stage. To his delight, he will also carry this snapshot, delivered to him in an envelope by the magician within moments of the very scene that it depicts.

more here.