American magician who gained fame as the "Cowboy Magician" in the late 1800's and early 1900s. Known for his flowing long hair and elaborate Buffalo Bill-type costumes, he enjoyed great success in no small part because of the public's fondness for America's Wild West.
Though he perfomed large illusions, Adelphia was most charming with his Vanishing Bird Cage trick as well as his version of the Egg Bag trick, in which he produced a large number of eggs, placed them on a plate, and changed the eggs into a pair of live chickens.
In 1912, Adelphia abandoned his cowboy character, partly because of some bad publicity he received at the hand of The Great Raymond, who had accused him of stealing some equipment. Launching a new act at the 1913 Society of American Magicians banquet in New York, he teamed up with his wife, Mabel, and his brother Jack, and together the trio worked the vaudeville circuit for several years.
After Mabel died in 1914, Adelphia began to lose his zest for performing. He formed a partnership in 1916 with three other magicians (The Great Everett, an escape artist; brother Jack Adelphia as "The Whistling Marvel" and JJ Mikulsky as manipulator), but his health was failing.
In 1917, Adelphia suffered a series of strokes and died on February 10 of that year.
Following his death, his brother Jack sold Del's signature trick, the Vanishing Bird Cage, to Harry Blackstone Sr., which quickly became a signature trick Blackstone's show.
Though Adelphia and Mabel had three children (a daughter and two sons), none of the children went into show business.
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