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Topic: The Best Stories in Magic
Message: Posted by: Ben Whiting (Jan 15, 2007 02:33AM)
We all know great stories in magic; whether it's about Dai vernon, Slydini, Malini, Thurston, Kellar, Robert Houdin or whoever. Which story is your favorite? Where did you learn it? I'm gathering a collection of stories for a show I have coming up and thought this forum would be a great resource. Thanks!
Message: Posted by: Meng (Jan 19, 2007 06:39AM)
The double life and death of Chung Ling Soo.
You could create a full evening show around Robinson.
Message: Posted by: Andy the cardician (Jan 19, 2007 06:47AM)
There is a great book about this him - Amazon carries it.
Message: Posted by: Meng (Jan 19, 2007 07:31AM)
You are right.
[b]The Glorious Deception[/b] by Jim Steinmeyer
Itís a very interesting read.
Message: Posted by: DStachowiak (Jan 19, 2007 09:43AM)
I find the tangled tale of the rivalry between Dai Vernon and Eddie McGuire exciting.
It has to do with their search for "The real work" on gambling sleights, Vernon's "Mexican Gambler" and Walter Scott, "The Phantom".
To get the whole picture you need to read two books, "The Magician and the Cardsharp" by Karl Johnson, and "Phantoms of the Card Table" by David Britland and Gazzo.
Message: Posted by: MagiClyde (Jan 19, 2007 10:05PM)
The story about how Robert-Houdin tricked a tribe that was rebelling into giving up on revolt comes to mind.

With all the stories about Houdini and all his famous escapes, two facts that have nothing to do with his craft always stand out for me. The first is that he was the first man to fly an airplane over the skies of Australia. The other was his tendency towards sea-sickness. Of course, on a magical note, his attacks against mediums and other frauds.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Jan 21, 2007 04:33PM)
Here's a couple by Paul Chosse.

Message: Posted by: irossall (Jan 26, 2007 07:23AM)
I don't know if it is true but I once read a story about the escape that Houdini could not complete.
It seems that a Reporter jimmied the lock on a pay toilet with Houdini inside and the Great Houdini had to either crawl out from under the stall or had to have someone else open the door for him. Houdini was so angry that the few people who knew who the culprit was, just dummied up and never let Houdini in on the prank.
I don't remember where I read this but it sounds unlikely to me. If anyone here could clarify this story, I would love to hear the straight scoop on this one.
-Iven :patty:
Message: Posted by: Andy the cardician (Jan 27, 2007 08:15AM)
Now that is a great story . . . too good to be true
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Feb 1, 2007 01:40AM)
Read Marion's Book "Trouping with Dante"
there's some wonderful stories in there.
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Feb 1, 2007 01:40AM)
You should do a list of all the fake chinese magicians
who were really jewish...that's the funny.
Message: Posted by: bear trees (May 14, 2007 07:57AM)
Dunningers secrets has some great stories of Joe almost stumbling across devious ways to read minds.Grand central station was an excellent story.

Message: Posted by: Father Photius (May 14, 2007 11:16AM)
Uncle Harry had a ton of stories (most of them made up entirely by Uncle Harry) but I think the best was the time he made the audience disappear. He liked telling that one. Of course I never understood why he was so proud of it, I've seen hundreds of magicians make an audience disappear.
Message: Posted by: Steve Cook (Jun 24, 2007 12:39PM)
The late, great Ken Brooke once told me that a guy came into his London magic studio, and told him that he makes his own 'flash paper' and, would he like to see some. Ken said he would, so the guy took some out and lit it. Ken said: "I went for a cup of tea, and when I came back it was still burning! I said, that's no good, go home and try to improve it! We haven't seen him since... I think he's gone-up with the bloody stuff!"
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 24, 2007 01:56PM)
I think part of the story about how Robert-Houdin quelled the Marabout rebellion was fabricated, specifically the hollow wax bullet filled with blood. I tried many different ways of doing this, and was completely unsuccessful. If he did it, there is more to it than he said in his book.

The problem lies in several places. One is in finding a kind of wax that you can make into a hollow ball. Another is filling it with any liquid. And last, but not least, getting the ball to go down the barrel without breaking it.

But it's a good story.
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Jun 24, 2007 02:39PM)

Think !
Houdini died in 1925.I don't believe they even had pay tolilet's back than.

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 24, 2007 04:53PM)

The incident occurred in Kansas City. There is a plaque or something at the site.


Think of how many Native Americans were played by Italians in the early movies!

Here's a piece of trivia for you, Frances. What do Charlie Chan and Al Jolson's father have in common?
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jun 24, 2007 10:56PM)
On 2007-06-24 17:53, Bill Palmer wrote:

Here's a piece of trivia for you, Frances. What do Charlie Chan and Al Jolson's father have in common?

I know this!! :) Hint: The werewolf that bit Henry Hull in Tibet.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 26, 2007 12:32AM)
Okay. Frances didn't bite.

Both roles were played by a Swede named Warner or Werner Oland.
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Jun 29, 2007 12:17AM)
I didn't know I had a hook!

Speaking of Charlie, they are finally making
a film. about 10 years ago, Russell Wong was
to play #2 son, but the film never did get
launched. Maybe he still will. Never know.
I can see him as #2 song.

Message: Posted by: Beth (Jun 29, 2007 10:21AM)
Great stories guys! Okay my favorite "Best Story in Magic" is one told to me by my Dad which was told to him I believe by Dennis Loomis. I call it the Jesus Christ hotel story. :)

The way it goes if I remember it correctly, is that Ab Dickson, Doug Henning, and Dennis Loomis would stay at this really opulent hotel in Atlanta GA back in the 60's. Amongst themselve the hotel was always called THE JESUS CHRIST HOTEL. It got this moniker because without fail whenever they took someone new there the person would look around at all the high ceilings, over done glitter and glam of the lobby and go... " Jeeeezuz Christ!!!" Hence the Jesus Christ Hotel haha :)
Peace Beth
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 29, 2007 07:05PM)
On 2007-06-29 01:17, Marshall Thornside wrote:
I didn't know I had a hook!


I didn't mean to spill the beans!
Message: Posted by: Dennis Loomis (Jun 29, 2007 09:15PM)
To Beth,

Who is your dad? He had the story essentially correct, although it was Abb that first called the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta the "Jesus Christ" hotel.

The first time we stayed there it was Doug Henning, Charlie Reynolds, Glen Priest, and myself. We had flown down to Atlanta to see Abb's show: "Presto." Abb didn't have to stay at the Hyatt because he lives in Atlanta. Abb has assembled a great collection of Houdini memorabilia for the lobby display at the theatre he was performing in. One item was Houdini's Water Torture Cell. (Actually one of several Houdini had built.) When the show was over and the lobby was locked up, we took down the top and examined the gaff. A couple of years later, Doug did the Water Torture Cell escape on his first network television special.

Dennis Loomis
Message: Posted by: Beth (Jun 30, 2007 10:00AM)
Hey Dennis, I sent you a PM. :) Thanks for the corrections. My apologies for the mistakes. It's been a long time since I heard that story, about 5 or 6 years I think, and I was afraid I might have parts of it wrong. But it's a great story and a great era. I bet you have a lot of great stories. I would love to hear more. :) I would have loved to have seen Doug Henning perform live. How amazing!
Peace Beth
Message: Posted by: Dennis Loomis (Jun 30, 2007 11:10AM)
Doug Henning was amazing. He did not change at all in front of an audience or a camera. He was full of enthusiasm for magic and life in general. I'll share one other story about Doug here:

We both attended the Abbott Magic Get-Togethers and stayed at the home of Jerry Conklin where we shared a guest bedroom. One year, Walter Blaney performed and did his then new Stepladder Suspension. Like most of the magicians, Doug and I were flabergasted and could talk about nothing else after the show. We went to the showroom after the show, but sat in a corner and speculated on how Walter had accomplished this miracle. When the showroom closed, we followed the crowd to the Legion Hall which was the late night get-together place. Again, all we spoke about was the Blaney Stepladder Suspension. When the Legion hall closed at 2 AM, we still were in conversation and didn't want to return to the Conklin house as our conversation might keep everyone else awake. We found that the only place left open in Colon was the laundromat. There was no seating, so we sat on top of some washing machines and continued our talk. This went on another hour or so and then we finally went back to the Conklin house to get some sleep.

Flash forward years later to the time that David Charvet's book on Jack Gwynne came out. In it was the story of how enthralled Gwynne was with the Blaney Stepladder Suspension. Gwynne saw it in Colon for the first time... that was the same show that Doug and I had attended. Then, David mentioned that Walter, who idolized Gwynne, late that night, after the Legion Hall closed, took Jack over to his car which was parked on a side street, got out the Stepladder and set it up on the sidewalk and showed Gwynne how it worked. The amazing thing was that at precisely the same time, Doug and I were in the laundromat discussing the effect and trying to dope out how it could possibly work. Just a couple of blocks away, unknown to us, Walter had it set up on the sidewalk to show it to Gwynne. Had we known, we could have walked there in a couple of minutes and all would have been revealed to us.

Dennis Loomis
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Jun 30, 2007 12:14PM)
This morning while driving I was remember a funny incident
with my dad back about 15 + years ago.

For anyone knowing my dad's monolouge and style, you would
know about the 'Hand Laundry' bit and stuff.

We were working a London fair at the grand stand, and there
was another magician working on a different stage up the road.

He didn't know who my dad was, but heard of him. So we went out
that evening to see him after our show was over with. It rained
that night and there weren't many people there. Maybe about 12
at most.

We sat probably 3rd row watching. He was good, a bit this and
that he added and such. Then he needed someone to participate
in the crowd.

Of all the people in the world. He choose my dad.

I can't remember specifically what the trick he was doing, but
he had my dad shuffle invisible cards, and whatever.

[i]My dad doesn't do card tricks.[/i]
But every magician, does know how to shuffle a deck of cards good.

After he was finished, he through the deck back to him.

He said:
[i]You shuffle those well for someone who's not a magician.
What do you do for a living?[/i]

My dad replied:
[b] I work in the Hand Laundry business[/b]

He laughted, as did the crowd.

Eventually he realized who my dad was after the show.
Got a laugh too.

I wish I could remember the guys name.

Anyway, p's couldn't remember that story, but it always
stuck in my mind.

Message: Posted by: MagiClyde (Jun 30, 2007 07:42PM)
The story I always heard regarding Robert-Houdin and the Maributs(sp?) was that he had a steel box that he could lift any time he wanted, but the Maributs couldn't lift. The secret, of course, was electromagnetism. Considering Houdin's inventive genius, I don't doubt this story.

As for the ball of wax and blood, that's one I've never heard. As for liquids in wax, think back to the little wax bottles with juice in them that we used to buy as children (boy, am I dating myself!). There has to be a way to do it.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 30, 2007 11:33PM)
Marabout. And Houdin was Robert-Houdin's father in law. It is incorrect to refer to the magician as Houdin, even though some Englishmen who did not understand how this hyphenated name thing worked have referred to him as such. The magician's last name before he married was Robert.

Regarding the bullet -- the problem isn't getting the liquid into the wax. It's getting the ball with the liquid in it to go down into the barrel of the gun without breaking it prematurely.

The other trick was the Light and Heavy Chest.
Message: Posted by: irossall (Jul 2, 2007 07:32AM)
On 2007-06-24 15:39, DonDriver wrote:

Think !
Houdini died in 1925.I don't believe they even had pay tolilet's back than.


It seems the first pay toilet was used in 1910.
Here is a site to check out if interested.
Iven :patty: