1910 – 1996
Seymour Davis was born June 23, 1910 in Garden City, Kansas and raised in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the third son of a Presbyterian minister. As a youth, Seymour discovered two great loves: magic and music . He became proficient in both. He first performed for schools and community organizations while still in high school. Seymour continued to perform while attending Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Oklahoma State University). His first date with his wife, Gwen, was to take her to a publicity stunt he was doing, escaping from a straight jacket while hanging upside down from the rafters of one of the college buildings! As he neared graduation, Seymour’s father encouraged him to go on with magic, if that was what he really wanted to do.
After graduation from college, Seymour and Gwen went on tour of the small towns throughout the Southwest, playing schools and community auditoriums. During World War II he served as program director for USO clubs in Abilene and Mineral Wells, Texas and then in Oklahoma City.
When World War II ended, Seymour entered into the new and untried field of business conventions. He became an instant success as an after dinner speaker and with many novelty acts. Among the novelty acts were Dr. I Kent Kook the world famous magic chef, Professor Ignatz Baderwisky the “Mad Pianist,” Doctor Bull and his Medicine Show, and a ventriloquism act.
Dr. I. Kent Kook was another of Seymour Davis’ characters that kept his audiences in stitches. Absolutely nothing went as planned in the kitchen with the Doctor on duty.
One Seymour’s best-loved characters was Professor Ignatz Baderwisky, the “Mad Pianist”. This act allowed Seymour to combine his comedic and musical talents in a way that kept audiences thoroughly entertained.
In addition, Seymour opened a booking agency with a line of chorus girls , singers, and novelty acts which played throughout the country. Over the years, Seymour and Gwen had seven children who often traveled with them. The smaller children were sometimes lulled to sleep in a prop trunk backstage during shows and several assisted in performances as they grew older.
Seymour’s four daughters, Dayna, Jerlyn, Sharyl and Arlene often danced individually or as part of the “Davis Darlings” .
As times changed and the floor shows closed up, Seymour was encouraged to move to Chicago or New York, where he could “really make a living”. However, he chose to stay in Oklahoma City, saying, “I’m an Okie and I like it!”
During the 1950s, “The Davis Darlings” often appeared on Seymour’s floorshows, along with lead dancer and choreographer, Pat Dillehay.
Seymour’s charm, grace, wonderful sense of humor and knowledge of magic continued to be an inspiration to many. Children in school and library audiences grew to love and admire “The Magic Man” .
Special honors included being featured on the cover of SPHINX magazine February 1939. Seymour was also named “Magician of the Month” by MUM magazine for June 1981 and pictured on its cover. In March 1992, he was honored at a special Siegfried and Roy performance at the annual Desert Magic Seminar in Las Vegas as one of two longtime magicians who have contributed much to their art during their lifetimes. Seymour was presented an award at the 1994 Annual Magic Collectors Convention for his superb talent as an entertainer, comedy magician, and musician, his ability to delight audiences across the country, and his contribution to the performing arts.