Dell O'Dell: A Compilation

Here is Dell O’Dell doing what she does best. Even though this is a silent clip, her energy bursts through the screen. In this short compilation of clips, where she is performing most of her Night Club Act (here is another clip of that act), and assisted by her husband, Charlie Carrer, we see Dell moving elegantly on stage.

We see moments of her famous umbrella routine, the Nest of Boxes, and the P&L Blooming Rosebush.

Most important, we see the ease and grace with which Dell commands the stage and the audience’s attention, with her deft handling of all props—including the large microphone and stand, which were so important for her act. Her strong personality and trademark rhyming patter were two of her defining characteristics. She was a powerhouse.

playlist 6 videos

Dell O'Dell

Starting her training early as a circus juggler and acrobat, Dell O’Dell eventually found success as a glamorous and entertaining magicienne, launching her magic career in 1929. Working with her husband, Charlie Carrer, a professional juggler from Switzerland, the couple often worked together, and Charlie did double duty by serving as Dell’s assistant on stage, too. During the Fifties, Dell and Charlie moved to the West Coast. While maintaining a touring show, Dell also made time to film her own television show, aptly called The Dell O’Dell Show. Her live, half-hour, magic show aired weekly in Los Angeles for two years, and in 1953, she became the first female magician nominated for an Emmy.


Dell and Charlie made hours’ worth of home movies, filming themselves and with magician friends; and there are also short clips of Dell and Charlie performing. These scenes form a lively archive of the couple in their prime. We are pleased to present a few of these treasured moment of history in this playlist. Clips here were originally housed in the McIlhany Collection and are now a part of Magicana’s archive.

By Michael Claxton
Author of the biography Don’t Fool Yourself: The Magical Life of Dell O’Dell