Lester Fulton Weeks, stage name Larry Weeks, was born in Salem, MA and died in a VA hospital in New York at age 95. At the age of ten his family moved to the Bronx (Districts 501-750), in New York in 1929. His mother was Sarah Weeks, born 1891. When he was ten, his father, Aaron Weeks, born 1888, an importer who worked for the Scandinavian Embassy, taught Larry a few magic tricks. This early life experience would stay with him the rest of his life. Larry performed at P.S. 46 and attended Bronx Boys High School and Brooklyn College.
In the late 1930s Larry performed magic in New York City parks with Abe Hurwitz (father of Television star Shari Lewis} and his Peter Pan Magic Club. I, would many years later at the request of members, change the name to FAME, Future American Magical Entertainers. Carl Ballentine visited the club and wisecracked, "I love your peanut butter!", so they all decided they wanted a new name for the club. At that time the SAM, Society of American Magicians had no club for youngsters that I would later help to put together in NY.
in 1937, Larry Weeks won the inter-collegiate baton twirling championship.
It is believed that Larry Weeks was the originator of apple juggling in which he took a bite of the apple at each turn until he was juggling only the core.
His big break came in Irving Berlin's Broadway show and movie "This Is The Army".
It was a patriotic extravaganza during World War 2. Larry Weeks had a show-stopping number juggling while on k.p., that was cut in the movie.
"This is The Army" toured military bases all over the world.
It played on Broadway, in 1942, performing a total of 1,200 shows for 2,300,000 audience members. It opened of course on the Forth of July, 1942.
In 1943, it was made into a movie which featured Larry doing a very brief portion of his act, eating an apple while juggling it and two potatoes. (4 or 5 seconds)
The movie starred Ronald Reagan, Irving Berlin, George Murphy & Joan Leslie. It won an Academy Award for Best Original Musical. The movie was released August 14, 1943. The movie also featured the first public singing of 'God Bless America,' by Kate Smith. Directed by Michael Curtiz. Written by Casey Robinson and Captain Claude Binyon.
Larry Weeks-1963 on the road with the Broadway show Carnival
Larry Weeks later produced 49 quarterly "Big Apple Conventions" between 1966 and 1979 which featured vaudeville shows (mostly magicians), lectures by magicians, film clips of old acts, and vendor tables selling magic equipment. The Big Apple Conventions were an opportunity for younger generations of performers to meet old timers and learn from them, and to ply their trade before new audiences, some of whom might be inspired to carry on the tradition themselves. As an example Jeff McBride, now a Las Vegas headliner, showcased there in his teens. We have on display at The Houdini Museum in Scranton, PA, a vest of Houdini's with a hold-out type device that makes a spectators card rise out of it's pocket, that I purchased from him at one of his conventions. It started to be attacked by moths and he did not want to deal with it. I, and later Dorothy Dietrich, have both remained close friends over the years and would see him or speak to him several times a year.
In 1979 and 1980 he produced two of the New York "Salute to Magic" shows featuring his friend Master Magician Richiardi. He had discussed with us later to have Dorothy Dietrich starred and honored in one, but it never come to fruition.
Juggler Larry Weeks called himself "Houdini's biggest fan" and amassed one of the best Houdini collections in the world, specializing in films of Houdini. He had the only known print of Houdini's lost film, "The Grim Game." He was known to show it at various occasions in his life time. It is reputed to be the best of Houdini's five films. D o r o t h y Dietrich a n d D i c k Brookz h a d k e p t a f r i e n d l y r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h L a r r y W e e k s a n d t h a t i s w h a t h e l p e d t o m a k e t h i s h a p p e n . D i e t r i c h a d d e d " O u r s h o w b u s i n e s s c o n t a c t f o r n e g o t i a t i o n s , f i l m p r o d u c e r , and friend for over 20 years