Dell O'Dell No. 5: Nest of Boxes

An older Dell, in the Fifites, is performing her signature version of the Nest of Boxes. She borrows small objects—rings, dollar bills, and so on—from her audience and then vanishes them in a Change Bag. Then they reappear inside a nest of boxes, tied around the neck of a white bunny.

The trick not only shows Dell's strength of personality but also her physical strength. Those boxes were heavy! 

—Michael Claxton

playlist 5 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