Mandrake the Magician is a U.S. comic strip created in 1934 by Lee Falk (also creator of The Phantom) and mainly appearing in syndication in newspapers.
Mandrake was an illusionist whose work was based on an impossibly fast hypnotic technique. As the narrator informed us: "Mandrake gestured hypnotically" and the subject or subjects of this hypnosis would suddenly see a cane transformed in a bouquet of flowers or a cat into a tiger. Mandrake also worked against crooks and other bad guys in his spare time. This would include common gangsters, mad scientists and aliens from space. In their case, he would gesture hypnotically and they would see their guns change into snakes or red hot irons.
Leon Mandrake the stage magician, who was known for his top hat, pencil line moustache and scarlet-lined cape, bears a strong resemblance to the comic strip character. In fact, Leon Mandrake had been performing for well over ten years before Lee Falk introduced the comic strip character and today most people would acknowledge the striking resemblance between them. Many diverse sources assert that the comic character was drawn to resemble Leon. Davis did meet Leon Mandrake, they became good friends and corresponded for years afterwards.
I loved magic at an early age. I loved watching magic shows on TV, and decided I wanted to learn magic. I became a member of the Magic Guild of England, and even performed magic at parties etc into my early teens.
In August 1982 I had the privilege of meeting the real life Mandrake at the Robson Square Theatre, at possibly his last ever public performance. I was thrilled to get a signed picture of Mandrake, one of the most famous magicians of all time!