Real Name: Chris Garson

Identity/Class: Human (post-World War II era)

Occupation: Stage magician

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: An aged wizard; Helen (his fiancée)

Enemies: A group of sorcerers

Known Relatives: Unidentified mother and father (mentioned only)

Aliases: "The Great Garson, Master of Magic" (in his dreams)

Base of Operations: An unidentified American city

First Appearance: Strange Tales I#47/3 (June, 1956)

Powers/Abilities: Chris Garson was a stage magician, but not a very good one -- he was clumsy and his lack of self-confidence always interfered with his performance. An aged wizard eventually performed a spell on Chris that endowed him with self-assurance and a new outlook on life, and he was able to resist the mystical attacks of a group of vengeful sorcerers.

History: (Strange Tales I#47 (fb) - BTS) - Chris Garson's mother and father were professional magicians who had a magic show that they performed on stage. They taught their act to Chris, but unfortunately he was a bit of a bungler and lacked the personality and self-confidence to be a good performer. He wanted to give up the vicarious life and find something decent to do that would give him a future that he could look forward to, but the magic act was all Chris knew how to do.

(Strange Tales I#47) - Chris proposed to his girlfriend Helen, but Helen refused to marry him because he was a "cheap vaudeville magician" and she felt that their marriage would be filled with poverty, misery, and quarreling.

Returning to his dingy apartment, Chris ran into his landlady, Mrs. Coombs, who gave him a message from a woman who wanted to hire him to entertain at a kid's party, then Mrs. Coombs asked him for back rent. After seeing the address that the party was at -- in a swanky neighborhood in the estate section out at Woodlawn -- Chris told Mrs. Coombs he would be able to pay her after this job. Chris packed some of his magic tricks in a bag and climbed aboard a bus, but on the ride he felt ashamed because he was reduced to picking up a few dollars at children's parties and he blamed his work for costing him the only real happiness in his life -- Helen.

When the bus neared the area, Chris got off and started to walk the rest of the way, then it started to rain. He took a shortcut through the woods, but got lost as the storm's intensity grew. Chris became more concerned with finding shelter than the job, and saw the lights of a house in the distance, so he headed towards it.

As he got closer to the dilapidated home (which looked like it hadn't been lived in for centuries), Chris had a bad feeling, but was forced to enter because of the ferocity of the storm. Inside the house, he found a group of strangely garbed men who turned out to be sorcerers who met in the house (once owned by their "leader") every twenty years. Initially thinking Chris to be one of the "gifted," the sorcerers grew suspicious and thought Chris to be an intruder spying on them. As some of the sorcerers began to chant their incantations against him, Chris tried desperately to convince them that he was a sorcerer too, so he used one of his stage tricks to "magically" light a cigarette, which was enough to fool the sorcerers for a moment. An aged wizard saw that Chris lacked cleverness and self-assurance, so he performed a spell to give Chris those traits. Just then, one of the sorcerers poured out Chris's bag of "magic" and saw that he was only a cheap trickster. The sorcerers once again attacked Chris with their powers, but Chris found himself endowed with a strange new strength -- fearlessly, he walked through the flames, flood, and monstrous beasts the sorcerers conjured up against him.

Chris found himself outside the house, then he sprinted back to the bus. Later, he went to Helen's apartment, and she sensed a change in him. The confident Chris Garson felt the change himself -- he would give up the magic tricks; he was through being a failure...

Comments: Created by an unknown writer and Bob McCarty.

The aged wizard looks kind of familiar -- although he was never identified, I wonder if he could be Merlin/Merlyn (perhaps in search of a new agent/apprentice?).

Yeah, it is kind of far-fetched that true masters of necromancy and the occult arts could be fooled by a simple "parlor trick", but who'd ever believe that you could scare off an alien smoke-monster with a cigarette lighter? (see Diablo)

And a big THANK YOU to Dennis Giansante for scanning this story for me!

Profile by John Kaminski

Chris Garson has no known connections to:

An aged wizard

The one sorcerer in the group who helped Chris Garson out by casting a spell that endowed Chris with a new feeling of self-confidence.

--Strange Tales I#47/3





A group of sorcerers

At least nine members (including the aged wizard), none were identified. They met every twenty years (for reasons unknown) in an old house once owned by their "leader". Sensing that Chris was not one of them, they began to chant incantations to magically attack him, but they were stopped momentarily when Chris fooled them with one of his magic tricks. Later, they renewed their attacks on Chris using the forces of fire, flood, and monstrous beasts, but because of a spell cast upon him by the aged wizard, Chris found himself with a new confidence that allowed him to resist their mystical assaults.

--Strange Tales I#47/3





images: (without ads)
Strange Tales I#47, p9, pan1 (main image)

p9, pan2 (head shot)
p12, pan4 (aged wizard)
p11, pan7 (sorcerers)

Last updated: 08/22/06

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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