Yu Li San

Figuring out who Yu Li San was is a bit difficult. We know that she performed with Professor Alba, but there were two Albas. There was the senior Professor Alba, whose real name was Manola Alba (1894-1950). Then there was his son, Paulo Alba, who also performed as Professor Alba. It was the son whose posters are so well known and who toured for 17 years with the show after his father died. He toured the show until his own death in 1967. Yu Li San did her mentalism act with the second Professor Alba.

I was just at the Magic Castle swap meet and saw an original of the poster below. It was beautiful and I wanted it but I already had spent my allocated sum. If you don’t set limits, you wind up not being able to pay your bills. It is a stunning poster and very eye catching.

Some confusion may have come from the mislabeling of the giveaway below as Yu Li San. It actually featured the wife of the first Professor Alba, and since it had a 1914 calendar on the back, it could clearly not have been Yu Li San. The Yu Li San poster above is dated 1959. I could not even find the name of the original Alba’s wife, but she did do a mentalism or psychic act in the show.

Mislabeled Yu Li San on auction site from 1919

Both Professor Albas did shows themed around the occult and supernatural powers. There is little info on either Alba, and virtually nothing about Yu Li San.

The text from the sheet above roughly translated: “Yu Li San- She sees everything, she guesses everything. The human periscope in the voice of the grave. Apparent death. An experiment of high suggestion. A woman buried alive. Astral Projection. The reality wrapped in a mystery. ” And that is the extent of what I was able to find on her.