American Vaudeville Museum

All material 1998-2012 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc. Page 31

Ching Ling Foo &

Chung Ling Soo

Ching Ling Foo ~ 1854 - unknown


Already famous in Chinese vaudeville when he and a troupe came to the USA in 1898 to perform at the Trans-Mississippi Exhibition in Omaha, Nebraska, Ching Ling Foo was an accomplished magician whose illusions he defied anyone to copy. An American magician, William Ellsworth Campbell Robinson, not only took up the challenge but changed his name to Chung Ling Soo and claimed Chinese ancestry, all to pursue Ching Ling Foo over two continents. The American was determined to prove himself the better illusionist. The Chinese magician was intent upon revealing Robinson to be a fraud.