Ted Salter. The Man with the Magic Marker.

Ted Salter's Castle Caricature.If you have ever visited the Magic Castle in Hollywood you have admired this man’s work even if you can’t quite place the name. In fact I am fairly willing to bet that 95% of the visitors the Castle receives have never heard of Ted.

I hope I captured your interest with my snappy opening paragraph because there isn’t a lot that is flashy in my memories of Ted Salter. However in his quiet and unassuming manner Ted has left an indelible mark on the Castle with his wonderful portraits of magicians that grace the walls of our clubhouse.

In fact quiet and unassuming isn’t a bad way to begin describing Ted; then you could add kindly, gifted and multitalented. Ted was a successful freelance graphic artist who transplanted himself from England into a small friendly office on Highland Avenue in Hollywood.

A lover of all things theatrical, Ted was as pleased as punch to contribute his talent to the Magic Castle. Every now and then an 8X10 was sent to his office and a short while later he delivered one of his drawings to the upstairs office at the Castle to be added to the impressive collection that he had previously donated.

Ted was an artist in a wide variety of fields. His wife Eileen had accompanied Ted in many of his theatrical endeavors. They were the kind of couple who could davenot only create and write a musical production but they could build the scenery and perform it too.

My favorite ‘Salter Production’ was their annual New Years Eve Party. I write that title in capitals advisedly as this was no small event. I suspect they began work on it by February or March at the latest each year. It consisted of games, entertainment and enough excitement to fill half a dozen regular parties.

When you had the opportunity to visit the Salter’s home on a less busy evening it would often end with Ted removing a picture (painted by him of course) from the wall and revealing a movie projector that lined up with the only blank wall in their home. You could then settle back and enjoy one of his collection of classic British and Hollywood movies. Ah, the joys of film in a pre-video era!

Jack & DoveAfter the birth of my second daughter Ted asked me to drop around to his house. To my amazement he had built an incredible miniature theater for them.  It was a prototype and he was donating the full design and blueprints to the ‘Mirth Maker’ magazine but he wanted to make sure it really worked!

Eventually Ted retired and they moved from Hollywood. Finally his original artwork ceased to arrive in the Castle office and one more special touch was missing from our unique clubhouse. Before he left Los Angeles though he had one more surprise for me. He built an amazingly intricate and beautiful dolls house for my daughters. It is still in our garage and every time I see it I remember with real affection Ted Salter. He was another of the unsung heroes that contributed to making the Magic Castle in its heyday such a special place.

~ by Nick Lewin on July 8, 2013.

3 Responses to “Ted Salter. The Man with the Magic Marker.”

  1. Dear Nick,
    Thanks for the nice write up on Ted. My wife and I met Ted and Eileen after they moved to Hillsboro,Ohio in 1989. We became very close friends.
    We enjoyed the,” Movie Nights”. Also the,” NEW YEARS EVE PARTY’S”.
    And many Holidays,Birthdays,etc. together. Ted died June 19, 2001 at 86
    and Eileen died October 26,2012 just 11 days from her 88th Birthday on November 6th. They were very special people.

    Thanks again, Leland Pennington

  2. So glad to stumble across this profile of Ted and Eileen. Their house in Los Angeles was in the 400 block of Hobart Street, next-door to where I spent my early years. After breakfast with my grandparents, I would visit Ted and Eileen (that’s what I called them, not even knowing their last name!) for cinnamon toast and Tang. Ted made terrific home movies, with lots of homemade special effects and many starring my teenage aunts, the Harrington girls. One special memory was a 5th birthday party for a girl they knew. During lunch, there were six girls and me (the only boy) sitting around the patio table in the backyard. The one photo I have is of me not having much fun. I ended up faking a stomach ache and leaving early – only to watch over the fence as the party really got going when Jay North, TV’s Dennis the Menace, arrived! I never forgave myself for that missed opportunity. Lovely people who treated everyone they knew like royalty. Thanks again for sharing your memories.

  3. Thank you for sharing John. They were a wonderful couple….

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