Among the biggest stars of the stage set was an illusionist whose name has been largely forgotten today. Author George Patton has penned a new book which tells the story of the great illusionist, mentalist and Harlem Renaissance figure Benjamin "Black Herman" Rucker. Among the many interesting stories connected to Herman is one related to his death on stage in 1934.
"Much like his counterpart Harry Houdini, Black Herman's death was as mysterious as his life and past. While performing in Louisville, KY in 1934, Black Herman collapsed on stage, dead from an apparent heart attack. So many people believed that Black Herman's death was actually another of his elaborate tricks that throngs of people gathered at the funeral home expecting the gregarious performer to leap from his casket at any moment. He was eventually buried in the prestigious Woodlawn Cemetery in New York City."