“Monk Watson” By Dorny
From The “New Tops” Magazine, July 1965 By Werner Dornfeld: “Hold onto your hats, everybody! If you will look at the picture above you will see the face of the most incurable “Nut” in the entire realm of magic. He’s been around a long time. And all of that time in show biz! In almost every branch of that noble (?) profession at that. He is one of the most versatile men in the business. Does magic; juggles; plays a flock of musical instruments; directs a big band; acts as a master of ceremonies; does comedy and he dances. And what else is new? A veteran of World War Number One where he entertained service men all over Europe. It was here he first met Miss Elsie Janis, who was also busily engaged entertaining the troops after having given up a very successful and lucrative long run engagement in a London revue. At the end of the war Miss Janis organized an all-soldier show called “Elsie Janis and her Gang.” ‘Monk’ was one of the very first to be signed up for this opus, as was your scribe. We had thirty-eight wonderful weeks on tour with the show, playing the best theatres coast to coast.
At the end of the trip ‘Monk’ was booked in Vaudeville thru the efforts of Miss Janis. He did a comedy act with another chap at this time. Later on he was engaged as the personality bandleader and emcee of the La Salle Gardens Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. Here he proved to be such a success that he and his show ere moved to the much larger Grand Theatre. He remained there for 4 years … 5,000 shows. He had many opportunities for displaying his versatility as the show was completely changed every week. Several standard acts were booked on these bills and many of them later became big names in the theatrical world.
Donald “Monk” Watson, for such is the name of our boy, proved to be a tremendous “Draw” at this theatre and had sandwiches, sodas, sundaes and games named after him. He was really “In.” Magic was, and still is, his favorite form of entertainment. For the past years he has been gainfully employed doing commercial magic for various successful businesses, one of which was the Hastings Piston Ring Co., where he helped to introduce and popularize one of their products called “Casite.”
He now lives in Colon, Michigan, where the citizens of that bustling village elected him as mayor a few years ago. He has a host of friends all over America and he also has one antagonist who delights in taunting him thru his long silky moustache in the column of TOPS every now and then. But “Monk” takes it all in stride and writes it off as silly concealed professional jealousy. Naturally ole “Monk” comes back at his rival in the manner and all in all it provides provocative and interesting reading for the subscribers. ‘Monk’ is also an avid collector of all kinds of magical memorabilia as well as phonograph records. Oh yes! Tape recorders too. And that runs into money. I wonder what the poor people are doing?