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Fu Manchu

Fu Manchu

(Derby, England: 19th February 1904 - 19th August 1974)

David Bamberg aka "Syko" 1917-27, "David King" 1921, and "Fu-Manchú" (based on Sax Rohmer's famous thriller character "Fu Manchu") since 1929 (except for "Fu Manxu" in Barcelona in 1933 and "Fu-Chan" in New York City in 1937).

Only son of pro magician Tobias "Theo" Bamberg ("Okito") and his English wife, Lily. Brought by parents to the USA in 1908. Learned from observing father. Became a USA citizen in 1916. As "Syko" (a name suggested by Houdini) worked as Julius Zancig's assistant in mindreading act 1917-18. On own as "David King" toured western USA and back across Canada in 1921. Briefly as mitt-reader ("Prof. Zaza") on Atlantic City's Boardwalk 1921. Toured USA as uncle Ed's assistant in 1923. On own toured Serbia, Czechoslovakia, and Austria in 1924. As Okito's assistant 1924-25 toured Germany, Paris, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, & England.

Moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1926. Toured Brazil and played Buenos Aires 1926-27 as assistant to The Great Raymond.

Pro illusionist on own since mid-1927. Toured Spain (plus Gibraltar, North Africa, and Portugal) 1932-34. Moved to Mexico City in 1934. Toured Mexico and played Havana 1936 and New York City in 1937 when he was voted into the New York "Inner Circle". Toured Latin America from 1937 until 1941 when he returned to live in Mexico City.

Made 6 feature films in Mexico in 1943-44 (and released between 1943 and 1949). Only the first three show his magic: El Espectro de la Novia (1943), La Mujer Sin Cabeza (1944), and El As Negro (1944).

Based in Argentina since 1947. Toured Spain 1955. Returned to Argentina where he semi-retired in 1966. Dealer ("Centro Mágico") in Buenos Aires 1966-74. SAM Hall of Fame. 1984 CMI Order of Magic Lamp (posthumous).

Wrote Los Secretos de Fu-Manchú: "The Devil Doctor" (c1933). Articles in Sphinx 1937-53. Trick in Tarbell #5. Much bio info (often incorrect) is in Robert J. Albo, Oriental Magic of the Bambergs (1950); and particularly Robert E. Olson, Illusion Builder to Fu Manchu (1986). His own superb autobio is Illusion Show: A Life in Magic (1988, 331pp). The definitive work on his films is Enrique Jiménez-Martínez, Films of Fu Manchu [sic], Linking Ring (Sep 1977).

NOTE: "Fu Manchu" is wrong English form of his stage name, even though the Sax Rohmer character on which it is based was spelled "Fu Manchu". David Bamberg's letterhead and signature was always "Fu-Manchú" to give the correct Spanish pronunciation.

Coauthors: Mago Marko

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Fu Manchu & Mago Marko
Satan's Daughter by Fu Manchu & Mago Marko

For the first time in the English language one of the most highly successful magical plays of all time. From the pen of Fu Manchu (David Bamberg) comes Satan's Daughter, a lost treasure of the history of magic, until now unknown in the English-speaking world of magic.

Fu Manchu (David Bamberg) was the son of the great Okito and the sixth generation of magicians, originally from the Netherlands. He toured for decades with one of the finest full-evening magic shows, mostly in Latin America but also in Spain. Fu Manchu wrote and performed several magic plays of which Satan's Daughter is among the...

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