Many towns claim their own unique “magic.” But no other town has the MAGIC of Colon-The Magic Capitol of the World. Levitating bodies, floating light bulbs, rabbits from hats—all standard fare for the 1227 townspeople and many summer residents who call Colon home.
Home of Abbot’s Magic Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest producer of magic paraphernalia, Colon becomes the focus of international attention each August. The national media, including such prominent publications as The New Yorker, attempt to solve this magical mystery town and the townspeople who literally open their doors for the Abbott’s Magic Get-Together, a four-day convention featuring seminars, demonstrations, and public performances by some of the world’s leading illusionists.
Colon’s role in the world of magic began in 1925 when Harry Blackstone, the great magician and illusionist, bought property which is still known as Blackstone Island. Blackstone and his troupe would spend the summer months in Colon, designing their shows and perfecting their craft. Before Blackstone hit the road, he would open with a show in Hill’s Opera House, a 600 seat auditorium. Though it was a dress rehearsal for Blackstone, it was a chance to see a legend in one’s own hometown for the townspeople.
Among those who came to visit Blackstone, was his Australian friend, Percy Abbott. Not only did Abbott perform magic, but he built tricks and illusions. Together, he and Blackstone formed the company which still bears Abbott’s name.
Though the partnership did not last, the company certainly has. Under the leadership of Abbott and Recil Bordner, who directed the company until his death in 1981, the company became the most prominent and productive, in the world of magic. Today, Abbott’s continues under the leadership of Recil’s son, Greg.
More than a few residents can perform a simple card trick upon request and many can share a story or two that further adds to the magical reputation of the town. Among the residents are those who can be pried for the inside scoop—people who have built magic props, performed shows, given lectures, written books and pamphlets on the art of magic. But don’t expect all the answers. Remember, it’s a magician’s secret!
The merchants roll out the red carpet year around to serve visitors and answer questions regarding the village and magic. Perhaps they will even guide you to the cemetery where magic legends such as Harry Blackstone, Sr., his brother Peter Bouton, Percy Abbott, Ted Banks, Monk Watson, Bill Baird, and Duke Stern rest in peace. The State of Michigan has recognized the historical significance of Colon’s magic with the placement of a State historical marker on the grounds of the public library. It explains the roles of Blackstone, Abbott and this small community in the world of magic.
For the residents of Colon and the many who come to visit, the magic extends beyond the four days in August, beyond the stage of the high school auditorium, beyond the black cement blocks of Abbott’s show room. It extends into the hearts and hands of its people who welcome you to be a part of the magic—the magic of friendship that is the community of Colon.