For 60 years, George L. Horn entertained Maryland residents with his puppet and ventriloquist act.
Horn dropped out of school to work in his father’s painting business. He decided to become a magician after watching Howard Thurston, “America’s Greatest Illusionist,” give a performance.
In the 1930s, Horn changed his focus to puppeteering. He apprenticed with James Edward Ross, whose stage name was Professor Rossella. Each Sunday, Rossella would perform his “Royal London Punch and Judy Show,” while Horn learned the story lines of the two fractious puppets. When Rossella died, Horn took over the Punch and Judy act.
Horn performed a novelty act seven nights a week at the original Club Charles in Baltimore, using a one-way mirror and audience tips from the bartenders. During the day, families, festivals and civic groups hired him to give shows starring Punch and Judy, and the ventriloquist figures, Oscar and Henry.
Horn died on Jan. 16 from a urinary infection. He was 98.