Vaudeville magician Jack Gwynne. Born Joseph McCloud Gwynne, Gwynne was inspired to become a magician after seeing by Harry Kellar and Howard Thurston in 1908. With little money to buy magic, Gwynne began designing and building his own tricks and illusions. In 1925, after seeing Gwynne at Kaufman’s Department Store in Pittsburgh, Harry Houdini hired Jack to build several props. Gwynne also worked as an actor in motion pictures for Universal Studios and had a friendship with Orson Wells.