Sadly, recordings of Dell O’Dell’s television series from 1951 to 1953 have not survived; the films were thrown out years ago.

But other recordings do exist. Dell and Charlie made hours’ worth of home movies, the couple hobnobbing with magician friends and here is a brief compilation of some of those movies:

Dell would occasionally sneak her camera into theatres to film her colleagues, and historians are thankful that she ignored the “No filming” signs at the Morosco Theatre in New York when the Great Dante played there in 1940. Hers is some of the best surviving footage of his legendary “Sim Sala Bim” show.

There are also scattered clips of her own performances, as well as of Charlie’s. Here again, is a compliation of clips of Charlie Carrer doing what he does best:

Charlie Carrer did part of his act in two 1937 shorts for MGM and Warner Brothers, and also juggled on television programs. Combined with the moments he captured filming his wife onstage and off, these scenes form a lively archive of the couple in their prime.  


In 2008, when I was doing research for a biography of Dell and Charlie, I spent an afternoon with Bill McIlhany, a lawyer in Beverly Hills, who had a passion for collecting magic props and preserving magic on film. He had acquired six hours’ worth of Dell O’Dell footage, and we watched all of it together, as Bill narrated, identifying many of the noted magicians who graced Dell’s parties in Queens. Since I was born ten years after Dell died, these films helped bring her exuberant personality to life for me.

After McIlhany’s passing in 2017, Magicana acquired his extensive film archive—all 4,500 pounds of it—and is making this rich visual resource available for public viewing. Here are some delightful moments of her bright and sparkling magic.


Dell O’Dell Playlist