Northshore Magazine

Northshore April 2020

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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94 of mounting a magic show in the Cuban and European traditions. David Bull briefly met Pelaez over Easter dinner at the family home. He was impressed by the professor's knowledge of psychology, his own field of study at Boston University. After graduation Bull reconnected with Pelaez, and self-taught himself to perform magic-making from reading books, hoping to impress him. He helped found the company of 17 members merging as White Horse Productions, which pooled $110,000 to buy e theatre. Bull says, "Cesareo had a very specific vision of what he wanted to put on stage. He was very insistent that stage magic could be presented on the level of great opera and ballet." But first they needed a revenue stream. After a "48-hour intensive scrub-down," the theatre began showing movies. Pelaez's deferred dream gained momentum and plans for a magic show ramped up. Others joined in, preparing the stage, building props, and honing theatrical skills. On February 1976, the Cabot Cinema in Beverly was fading fast under the ownership of the movie chain, E. M. Loews. e 56-year-old building at 286 Cabot Street was in disrepair after a storied history that began when it opened on December 8, 1920, as the Ware eatre. en, throngs lined up to view live vaudeville acts and an assortment of movies—silent, of course—to the accompaniment of rousing music from the huge Austin pipe organ. It was one of perhaps 20,000 theatres in America that provided the novel thrill of moving images to awestruck audiences in lush, ornate palaces of their day. Talkies wouldn't arrive until 1927 with e Jazz Singer. A few blocks away, the Larcom had been in the entertainment business since 1912, offering a fare of vaudeville amusements as well as shorts and feature films. Founders Harris and Glover Ware of Marblehead launched their second venue as the craze for movie going was changing the social landscape. Most cities and towns of a certain size had their own cinemas, but the two in Beverly still exist today due to a succession of vigilant community groups determined to preserve them. If, as Emerson opined, "An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man," then the Cabot's most successful rebirth and preservation surely must be credited to a Cuban immigrant Cesareo Pelaez, who believed in magic. His childhood dreams were fueled by the magic shows he attended in Havana's grand theatres. He learned from the masters like Fu Manchu, and as a teenager he joined friends in producing shows. He once told a reporter, "I have never been able to stop dreaming since childhood." But a revolution forced him into exile, and his magic would have to be put on hold. He sought asylum in Colombia and taught there for one year before coming to the United States. At Brandeis University he was a devoted follower of Abraham Maslow, founder of humanistic psychology. He taught there under his mentor, and then moved on as a professor of psychology at Salem State College (now University). Meanwhile, the charismatic Pelaez revealed to friends and colleagues his dream PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF THE CABOT

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