Louis Zingone was a society party entertainer who excelled at cards.
In the 1930's and 1940's, it was common for the wealthy to have the best entertainers at their private parties. Louis Zingone certainly fit the bill.
Reportedly learning the most advanced card moves ever devised from a book on the legendary Erndnase, a young Zingone practised incessently during the idle hours at his job as a car washer in the late 1920's. All the practice paid off, because when the Great Depression hit, the car wash job vanished, but the wealthy still had money for their private parties.
Zingone became one of the most sought-after private entertainers of his era. His dark good looks and his charming personality, along with his incredible card skills, made him a natural performer.
He developed a number of tricks and moves of his own which he marketed to the magic fraternity, including the Zingone Spread, a difficult but very effective card location method.
In 1941, he put out a series of card magic lessons- on 78rpm phonograph records. The three-record set came complete with an illustrated booklet and was sold through direct mail.
The series was so popular that C.W. Post Cereal Company licensed the idea, and offered the records as a premium that same year. In-store displays allowed customers to purchase the records if they also bought a box of Post Toasties cereal.
General Foods, parent company of C.W. Post, sent out sample records to grocery store merchants, explaining the promotion (see the Merchant Record at left). The record revealed instructions for two tricks, "Mind Reading Trick (Coincidence)" and "The Magic Name".
The cover of the merchant record reads: "Here is your Zingone Record telling you how to work two fascinating card tricks! A deluxe record of the same tricks your customers will get. This record is presented to you with the compliments of General Foods, makers of Post Toasties. You'll see what a knockout premium these Zingone records are when you first play the record and try your hand at being a magician... you'll have a grand time entertaining your own friends with Zingone's world-famous tricks! The voice of Zingone himself comes to you on this record. It tells you exactly what to do. Both tricks are entertaining... mystifying... and easy to work! Try them out this evening- you'll have the time of your life! And you'll see why these Zingone Card Tricks are the hottest premium ever offered!"
More than a million copies of the record set were pressed, and Zingone agreed to a license for 500,000 of the promotional premium records.
He prounounced his name as "Lew-ee Zin-GO-nee".
Credit: This biography originated on MagicTricks.com. Please credit this source if you use this information.