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Topic: DEL RAY
Message: Posted by: KIDDMAGIC (Mar 10, 2013 12:07PM)
I was fortunate enough to see Dey Ray back in late 81' and it remains the single greatest performance of close-up magic that I have ever seen. He was like watching Vladimir Horowitz playing piano. It was actually a bit discouraging as I knew I would never be at his level. I bought a DVD of one of his performance from Murphy's Magic Supplies years ago before the new book came out, but it does not say where it was filmed. Does anyone know if this is the same DVD offered in the book? I highly recommend that all magicians see it.
Message: Posted by: Markymark (Mar 12, 2013 07:22PM)
I know it is a different dvd but I think the one that comes with the book had a small portion of it.
You were lucky to see him,i've watched the dvd that came with the book over and over again.
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Mar 14, 2013 03:38PM)
Can you give us a description of the Del Ray DVD you bought from Murphy's Magic Supplies? I've seen a couple of bootleg videos of Del's act over the years that were not as good quality (video and audio) as the one that comes with the book by John Moehring.

The DVD that came with the book is as definitive a performance as I any I ever saw. (I saw Del Ray perform his close-up act in person at least five times, once sitting right across the table from him).

The video in the book is almost as good as sitting right at the table watching Del Ray in his prime.)

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Markymark (Mar 14, 2013 07:29PM)
The dvd that was briefly on the market was in colour with Dick Cavett and Harry Lorayane sitting close to Del Ray.
The end of the dvd had Del talking to a couple of people about 'Out of this World'
The audio is quite poor.
You are right in saying the dvd with the book is of a higher quality.
I suppose the greatest thing I notice is that the man draws people into a sort of 'circle of fun' much like Don Alan did.
Message: Posted by: RiffRaff (Mar 14, 2013 08:30PM)
I think you're mistaken.
The DVD that was marketed by Murphy's is different than the film with Lorayne and Cavett (which took place at Tannen's).
If my memory is correct scenes from both of these performances are included in the DVD that came with the book.
Sadly, I never got to see Del Ray perform live. :(
Message: Posted by: Rainboguy (Mar 15, 2013 04:40PM)
I saw Del Ray perform his stage act in the early or mid 60's at one of the Midwest Magic Jubilees at the Chase Park-Plaza Hotel in St. Louis. Sitting on the floor next to me watching Del Ray was a young kid magician from Louisville, Kentucky...yep you guessed it.....Lance Burton....

When Del spoke on stage...I thought he sounded like a "Mafia Hit Man"...he had a thick, gravelly voice! But those tricks.....WOW........what he pioneered in electronic Magic was simply amazing......I will NEVER forget that performance!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Mar 15, 2013 05:38PM)
Sometime in the 1980's, I was working with a magic shop and we had a dealer booth at Jim & Diane maney's Atlanta Harvest of Magic. Just about closing time at one point in the day, Jim was running everyone out so he could lock the room. There was one old man still there, and he continued to shop. He asked me several questions and I answered dutifully. Only after a moment, did Jim and my boss introduce him to me... Del Ray. I was floored! I had only seen photos of him from decades earlier, so did not know who he was on sight. It was kind of a joke being pulled on me, as he knew more about the things I was telling him about! Ha!

During that convention, I saw him perform his amazing close-up act, but for me, the highlight was the stage act!! Three points I remember like it was yesterday...

1) When he wanted a cigarette, a ball of fire just flew out from somewhere and he caught it, as a lit cigarette. He didn't have to "produce" a cigarette. It came to him and he just took it.

2) During his rising cards, as the first two cards rose, they would tilt slightly as they reached the top... this is commonly seen in the rising cards. When the third card rose, it stopped part way up. Del looked at the lady who had chosen the card and asked her, "Would you like your card to tilt?" I was floored at this question, because although I had noticed this with the others, I thought nothing more about it. She said yes. Then he absolutely killed me with his next question... "Which way, left or right?"

3) But to me, the best was in the midst of a completely flawless act, he removed a deck of cards from the case, and placed the case on the table behind him. The case fell to the floor. The only reason this was so noticeable was the fact that NOTHING else was amiss in the act. So even such a minor glitch stood out like a sore thumb. He turned his head and saw the box on the floor, then made a gesture with his head, and box jumped back up onto the table. I wasn't sure if I wanted to cry or pee on myself.
Message: Posted by: Stevethomas (Mar 17, 2013 08:45PM)
I also got to see him in '89 or '90 in Morgan City, Louisiana at the Louisiana Magic Weekend. Flawless. Beautiful.

Message: Posted by: Anatole (Mar 20, 2013 06:40PM)
I thought Del's gravelly voice added to the persona he projected as a card sharp/gambler. It definitely set him apart from all other performers. Even his patter lines had a hint of the con man.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Mar 20, 2013 08:16PM)
Story I heard from some of the old-timers... Apparently, he was once told that he didn't have what it takes to become a magician. The accent "like a New Jersey truck driver" was part of that.

I guess he showed them.
Message: Posted by: KIDDMAGIC (Mar 21, 2013 07:51PM)
Thanks for the stories! It's good to know that he is revered.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Mar 23, 2013 12:54PM)
Michael...I only saw the stand up act once. I think it was in Cleveland at a "Wizard Weekend".

I honestly don't recall the card pack on the floor bit. I think maybe it was because I WAS crying AND peeing on myself.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Mar 23, 2013 02:22PM)
When I saw his act, I was lucky enough to be in the front row in a small theater. The impression that I got was as if I was watching the world's greatest magician in his swan song performance... and the best show of his life. In a sense that was true, as it was not just the only time I saw him perform, it was also the last time I ever saw him perform.

It was extremely emotional for me. Of course, I've seen a ton of other magicians use emotional hooks in their performances, but this was different. It was an emotional experience because it was that .damn. good.
Message: Posted by: Anverdi-museum (May 8, 2013 06:18AM)
Del was the man! He was a friend of mine, we kept in touch via the phone for years until his death. I had the great opportunity to work with him on the same bill at the old Bloomfield Moose in Pittsburgh, Pa. He was kind enough to demonstrate a lot of his close up items to my father and myself after his stage performance, I was to find out how rare that was years late as Del was a private person, particularly to other Magicians, this was about 1987. Del is the reason I got into electronic magic. In my collection I have an original autographed publicity photo which he signed and mailed to me.

I am coming out with a book very shortly which details the above story and has the photo printed in it as well as other Magicians who were an influence to me in the early years here in Pittsburgh such as my friends Harry Albacker, Tony Polito, etc.

Pittsburgh really is the 'City of Champions' - not just having one of the greatest football teams ( Steelers ) and hockey teams ( Penguins ) in the world but in our field some of the greatest Magicians of all time right here as well as many contributions the fields of medicine, etc.

I will post shortly when my book is out, it is durable glossy pages with a lot of color photos with three cool magic tricks which come with it!

Below is a link to my home page of my collection site to view the Del Ray photo:


Chuck Caputo
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jun 5, 2013 12:53PM)
I just found these video links of parts of Del Ray's stage act. There is not much here, but you can see some of his interaction with the bear taking a drink. Priceless!!



The bit with the jumping card case is also in there, but unfortunately the camera was not on it. It's right at the beginning of the card fan sequence. You can however, see Del Ray's face and the gesture he makes. So close, yet so far away. :(
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Jun 26, 2013 10:29AM)
The DVD that came with the biography by John Moehring is pretty much a definitive video record of Del Ray's close-up and stand-up magic performances. It's been a while since I viewed it, and I'm on a trip right now so I can't check the DVD. But I imagine the jumping card case is on the DVD that came with the book. Someone who has the DVD handy might be able to check and let us know for sure.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Steve_Mollett (Jun 28, 2013 06:20PM)
Got to see both his club act and his close-up in the 70s.
I've never since seen anyone within striking distance of his skill!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 9, 2013 10:53AM)
I recently got the book (with DVD), and it is great. Aside from his undeniable skill, I had forgotten how funny he was! He had some lines in his close-up act that really kept me laughing!
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Jul 9, 2013 02:43PM)
I was walking back to the hotel with a group of magicians after seeing Del Ray's act. A lightning storm started and close-up master Woody Landers quipped: "Okay, Del! Enough with the electronics!"

Woody did some outstanding close-up magic himself and when Del saw him at a convention in Atlanta, Del asked Woody to show him the work on one of his close-up effects.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 9, 2013 04:05PM)
If you were there (Atlanta Harvest), I was too (most years). Greatest small convention on the planet! Jim & Diane Maney were the best hosts ever.

Woody was a trip! If you could catch him in the bar (not hard to do), you would have seen some of the best card work ever. He fried me, over and over again!
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Jul 9, 2013 09:01PM)
Yes, Del used some electronics. But he could blow you away with the slight of hand stuff. I saw him fry the guys at Fetchers for over 2 hours. At one point, he switched a card out right under the nose of Jay Marshall. Jay just remarked "that wasn't the card I saw there!"

Most guys didn't realize that he could start and stop the mechanics as needed so he could get the most "play" out of a routine. His dry wit and sense of timing was remarkable Something that one only learns from thousands of shows.

He was unique and I doubt if we ever see anyone like him again. A product of stage shows, nightclubs, hospitality suites, and a brand of magic that was developed by merging all three. I fondly recall and cherish everytime I saw him work.

Message: Posted by: Rimbaud (Jul 11, 2013 03:09PM)
I managed to see him exactly once. It was at the 1983 Midwest Magic Jubilee in St. Louis. To this day, he close up act was, by far, the single best performance by a magician I've seen.

Del Ray was just...extraordinary. What a beautiful act.
Message: Posted by: Magic.J.Manuel (Jul 27, 2013 02:57PM)
You can see the box pops back up on the table after the fans, about 4:10 min in.

I was lucky enough to get to one of the Atlanta Harvest Conventions and saw Del Ray, Slydini, Al Goshman, and many other greats.