Daniel Henry Chappell was born in Rutland UK on June 14th 1880. A trained electrician, he had a love of theatre and worked whenever possible doing lighting and make-up in London theatres. He emigrated to Canada and married in 1907. He had a variety of jobs, working in mining and on the railways, before settling in Toronto with a secure position with Canadian General Electric.


This allowed him time and opportunity to further his entertainment interests. He was particularly keen on Conjuring, and also on the newly revived interest in puppetry. He performed initially at church functions, community events and social evenings at work. His magical enthusiasm was encouraged by his friendship with Sid Lorraine, well known in the magic world as a writer, illustrator and teacher.


His puppet interest was inspired by the Bessie Alexander Ficklen book A Handbook of Fist Puppets (Frederick A. Stokes & Co. 1935). In this he found a script for Punch, and also a description of the characters. He carved a set of figures, and these were dressed by his wife Hester.


The Royal York Hotel in Toronto became a frequent venue for Daniel Chappell's talents doing both his own performances and working with Sid Lorraine who became a lifetime friend. He continued his interest in both magic and Punch until his death in 1950.

We have a wealth of information about early Punch in Britain and in America, but very little about his exploits in other parts of the English speaking world. I am grateful to Janet Skoreyko, Daniel Chappell's grandaughter for the above information.

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