Note: This poster just SOLD – October 24, 2020) Thank you for your interest.
Name of Poster: The Wanda’s Goddess of Mystery
Date: circa 1910
Size: 1-sheet European – 31″ x 47″”
Lithographer: Louis Galice, Paris
Good Condition (B) / Mounted – Overall, poster is in good condition and it is mounted. The colors are bright. The only imperfections are that the poster was originally folded. The fold marks can be seen but have been neatly flattened by the mounting process. There are a few repairs and paint color restoration around the top, left side and bottom borders which do not interfere with the image.
Biographical notes: The main character on the poster is Elizabeth Wandas, and the lady coming out of the fire is Suzy Wandas.They were a mother / daughter act that performed magic and dance during the first three decades of the 20th century.
The mother was Elizabeth Van Dyk Wandas (born on December 7, 1875) and her daughter was Jean that later assumed the stage name of Suzy who was born on March 5, 1896. They billed themselves as the “Wandas Sisters” and were considered by critics tow of the best female magicians in the world.
Elizabeth was born in Belgium and started show business when she married Charles Louis Van Dyk, a member of the Van Dyk Brothers who dis music, balancing, magic and puppetry acts in Belgium. After they got married, he under the name of Charles Wandas and his wife opened a traveling theater for magic.
In the show, Elizabeth performed as the “Queen of Flowers” which consisted of flower productions which filled the stage. Suzy was born in 1896 followed by her brother Louis. They both trained in music, acrobatics, dance and magic.
Suzy was talented and became part of her parents’ show featuring violin, dance, tap dance, vocal imitations and magic. Her father was a friend of T. Nelson Downs who instructed her when she was eight years old. She was inspired by Talma. In 1910 she had an act called “The Devil’s Dinner” in which she produced table settings, bottles, wine food and other objects from empty tubes.
The family did their traveling show until Charles-Louis died unexpectedly on March 1, 1911. Elizabeth, Suzy and Louis started performing at Music Halls. The act consisted on vanish and reappearance of the assistant’s glove, color changing scarf, scarf vanishes and appears tied between two others, billiard balls, Devil’s Dinner act, card and coin manipulations, and a giant production of flags, flowers, etc.
Louis went to WWI, had injuries and never performed again. His mother and sister continued as the “Wandas Sisters”. Remarkable sleight of hand with no sleeves.
Elizabeth retired in 1936. Suzy continue to perform a manipulation act in music halls and theaters. She did cigarette, coin, and card productions and was called the “Lady with the Fairy Fingers”.
Suzy appeared in the 1953 Abbott’s Get-together and was a hit.
In 1954 Elizabeth went to Antwerp to receive the honor of being the “Dean of Belgian Magicians” due to her accomplishments. She became ill at the ceremony, taken to hospital, went into a coma and never recovered.
Suzy retired in 1959 and three months later she married Dr. Zina Bennett a doctor from Detroit Michigan, past president of the SAM. In 1975 she was inducted into the SAM Hall of Fame, and was given a Performing Fellowship in 1981 by the Academy of Magical Arts. She died on July 12, 1986 at age 90.