Signor Blitz (also known as Sig. Blitz, the "worlds greatest magician and ventrioquist" ) performed at a
fundraiser for the Darby Library on March 1, 1873. Sig (or Signor) Blitz (1810 - 1877) was born Antonio
van Zandt in Deal Kent County, England, and was an accomplished magician, ventriloquist (with his
dummy Bobby), juggler and bird handler. He would advertise himself as a Moravian as he found he
could get more work in England as a foreigner. He even perpetuated the myth in his autobiography.
Antonio Blitz arrived in America from Europe in 1834. He was a great showman who used magic in his
acts usually accompanied by humor. Laughter and mystification were his goals. At the height of his
career, a dozen other magicians were performing under the name "Blitz" in an effort to capitalize on his
popularity. His favorite effect was the Bullet Catching act (but eventually dropped it as being too
dangerous) and Plate Spinning. He was living in Philadelphia at the time of his death where he gave
lessons from his home . His grave was later rediscovered in New York by Benjilini and has since been

Biography researched by Tom Smith
Sig. Blitz and his learned canary birds
"Let those laugh now who never laughed before
and those who always laugh now laugh the more"
"Darby History" home

Darby Library web site
Darby Library is America's oldest public library in continuous
service, founded in 1743, the year of Thomas Jefferson's birth
Tickets available at Shaw's Drug Store, Darby