|Topic: When Dunninger Chose Me|
It's still hard for me to imagine, but fifty-three years ago on this date (Thursday, June 17, 1965), Dunninger selected me out of the crowd to be in his audience committee on stage. Five of us total.
The venue was the Paramount Theater in Des Moines (long gone now). It was the gala public show for the IBM Convention that year. (I would become a member two years later, so strictly speaking I wasn't breaking his rule of no IBM members on stage with him though I had been doing magic for 5 or 6 years at that point).
It really was a life altering event: I had seen the best, and right up close! Dunninger was simply staggering in his mastery of the enormous crowd. Close to retirement that year, he still knew how to make us all believe in thought reading. I would call his on-stage personality princely. Even in a democracy, he made us believe there was an aristocracy of mentalists!
I only remember two things he did, a giant sum prediction on the blackboard and producing a full glass of water from an empty bag. I was one of the spectators to reach my hand into the bag and proclaim it empty.
That was a night to remember. The emcee was Zany Blaney who also premiered his world famous step ladder suspension. Bev Bergeron was also there if memory serves me.
Also impressive to me was Walter Cummins in white tails performing the billiard balls. Man, was he ever elegant! It so impressed me that a year later I was taking weekly private lessons from the magnificent Bruno of Holland (seven times on the Hollywood Palace program!) specifically to learn the billiard balls.
Those were the days.
For all these years I never thought Dunninger would ever be equaled. Then I saw Banachek live and realized how wrong I was.
|One of the problems with the current crop of young magicians is that have never experienced that level of mastery of the art.|