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October 27, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Free
Thursday, Oct 27, 5-7 pm
The La Quinta Museum is proud to present an exhibit based on M.R. Cannon’s exhaustive research and first-hand information about the incredible life of Horatio “Harry” Cooke, the American Wizard.
In 1981, author M.R. Cannon was performing a magic show in nearby Yucaipa, California, when things took an unexpected and fascinating turn. An 85-year-old audience member, Clara Louise Wasem, took over his show and captivated the audience with tales of her father, Professor Horatio G. Cooke, who had been a Special Scout for Abraham Lincoln, an escape artist and Spiritualism debunker, and a mentor and friend to Harry Houdini. This chance encounter was to be life-changing for Cannon, as Clara Louise entrusted the author to transcribe Cooke’s diary and preserve his meticulously kept scrapbook with a charge to share her father’s amazing story.
Visitors will view the scrapbook kept by Horatio Cooke himself with mementos from the late 1800s to early 1920s, along with reproductions of playbills and photographs that were passed along to Cannon to keep and protect. All tell the story of an extraordinary life, from the rope tricks that impressed a President and led to a death-defying Civil War escape, to the night of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, to years on the road performing magic and going head-to-head with fraudulent Spiritualist mediums. In his later years, Cooke would serve as inspiration to Harry Houdini, and become a leading driver of the Los Angeles Society of Magicians along with the great Harry Kellar. As the exhibit examines an extraordinary life that came close to being forgotten, it invites the viewer to ask: what hidden histories their own communities are just waiting to be rediscovered and retold?
The public is invited to experience the magic of Lincoln’s Scout at the Author’s Reception on Thursday, October 27, 2022, from 5-7pm. The evening will feature the personal insights of M.R. Cannon on his research and book, Lincoln’s Scout: The Diary of Horatio G. Cooke: Soldier, Spy, Escape Artist as well as close-up magic performed by Dean Apple.