Harry Blackstone - The Elusive Moth

Memoirs of an Elusive Moth is Adele Friel Rhindress’ story of trouping with the Blackstone magic show. Adele was cast in the role of the elusive moth. Costumed with green gossamer silk wings and a pair of antennae the elusive moth becomes stuck in a spider’s web suspended high above the stage. Then, just moments before she is snatched up by the spider, she vanishes in a puff of smoke.

The Blackstone company debuted this illusion on August 18th 1948 at the Erlanger Theater (formerly the Palace Theater) on Clark street across the street from Chicago’s City Hall. Adele’s tale brings to life the team of technicians and creators responsible for making the Elusive Moth illusion a success. Her story also gives an up close gritty view of life in a roadshow.

That life includes digs in Chicago's Croydon Hotel where Blackstone's troupe stayed during its Erlanger Theater run. The Croydon at Ontario and Rush was a popular stomping ground for vaudevillians.

Adele's tale conjures up the twilight of magic roadshows and the happening Croydon Hotel that, like the elusive moth, seemed to have vanished in a puff of smoke. 


Rhindress, A. (2011). Memoirs of an Elusive Moth. Chicago: Squash Publications.