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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Question about Michael Skinner (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dave V
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I would imagine that if he hadn't been at the Golden Nugget, we would have barely heard of him. He would have been like hundreds of other working magicians, scratching out a living doing trade shows and private parties. 20 years to perfect and polish his routines in Vegas is what made him a legend.

During those years, he was in good company in Las Vegas with Jimmy Grippo at Caesar's Palace, Johnny Paul (I forget where, Sahara perhaps?), Daniel Cros at the Desert Inn, and a few others. They were all top in their fields and probably had some of the most coveted "gigs" one could have ever hoped for.
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Glenn Godsey
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The "cream" that Skinner used was ordinary "Sort-kwik". He kept a small container of it in his sock.

Best regards,
Glenn Godsey

A Michael Skinner story:

I was at the first Steven's gathering of 100 of the world's greatest close-up magicians, invitation only, late 1970's? It was based around a reunion of Dai Vernon and Fawcett Ross. I hasten to add that I was invited because I knew the right people. David Copperfield showed up and was extremely humble and grateful that they let him in.

So...I wandered over to see Michael Skinner's performance, stopping by the men's room on the way, and Skinner was in there throwing up. I was shocked because he was such an experienced performer. Back then, I didn't know about his illness. A few minutes later, I sat three feet from Skinner as he suavely and skillfully breezed through some wonderful stuff. I was most impressed with his version of the Marlo "Develish Miracle", a rarely seen and very underground routine back then.

Later, I was sitting in the bar with Larry Jennings (we were later joined by Dai Vernon, Alan Ackerman, Paul Harris, etc. until we had a table of ten through the night). So I asked Larry about "Develish Miracle". He said, "call me in a few days, and I'll give you some great stuff on it."

So, I called Jennings a few days later and he rattled off a complex series of moves and slights over the phone. Later, I looked at my notes, and I couldn't make much sense out of them.

Eventually, a couple of decades later, three videos were released of Skinner, including his "Devilish Miracle", and I finally learned it from that. Skinner was heavily medicated when the videos were made and a shadow of his former self, but still a wonderful performer.

I have been a very lucky man to have sat with these artists and to have such memories.

Best regards,
Glenn Godsey
Will Field
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FYI, Sortkwik can be found at Sam's Club or any office store. It's good stuff.
RS1963
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Quote:
On 2005-05-24 01:19, Dave VanVranken wrote:
I would imagine that if he hadn't been at the Golden Nugget, we would have barely heard of him. He would have been like hundreds of other working magicians, scratching out a living doing trade shows and private parties. 20 years to perfect and polish his routines in Vegas is what made him a legend.

During those years, he was in good company in Las Vegas with Jimmy Grippo at Caesar's Palace, Johnny Paul (I forget where, Sahara perhaps?),


David the years that Johnny Paul was in Vegas he was at the Showboat hotel and casino.
Dave V
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Showboat! Thanks! I knew it started with an "S" (or was it one of those other letters?)
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KirkG
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I had the priviledge of seeing Mike before his stroke when he worked at the Hollywood Magic Shop. It was like seeing real magic. There were no moves, just effects. To contrast, another exellent close up magician showed his version of the Okito box and while the moves were pretty, they were moves. Mike's was pure magic. I saw him once again at the Golden Nugget, 18 years ago and was up to 3 AM with he and my future wife, just watching trick after trick. Fabulous man and magician, sadly missed.

Kirk
Dave V
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Odd, I was also sitting with my future wife last time I saw him. Of course, neither of us knew it at the time. She was with her future ex, and as a matter of fact I was with my future ex too.

Strange how things turn out. The only thing stranger would be if the two ex'es somehow also got together.
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Chessmann
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Goodness, what that man overcame. I had heard of his illness and the meds effect on him, but had no idea that he had had a stroke as well (and clearly at a relatively early age as these things can go). Adversity often helps breed success.
My ex-cat was named "Muffin". "Vomit" would be a better name for her. AKA "The Evil Ball of Fur".
ncognito
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About Skinner’s Edged Card Crème

I am one of two old friends of Michael’s who are responsible for bringing Skinner’s Edge Card Crème to market. I’ve read numerous posts about the product over time and thought it might be time to clear a few things up.

First of all, this product in not Sort-Kwik. It is made by the same company that makes Sort-Kwik, Lee Products in the Twin Cities. It is a different formulation that contains other ingredients that are better suited for skin care that Sort-Kwik. It was called Paper Crème and I don’t think the company markets it any longer as such.

Michael was religious about this stuff, always carrying a container in his sock so that, when called upon to perform, he would excuse himself to “wash-up” and then be ready to blow us all away.

He feared that the stuff might become unavailable, and since I live the Twin Cities, I would purchase cases of the stuff to send to him to allay his fears.

After his passing, John Deems and I decided to explore approaching the Lee Products company with the idea of repackaging the product under Michael’s name. This was an effort on our part to keep Mike’s name alive and as a tribute.

It turned out that the company had no problem with this idea, in that it was a regular practice of theirs. The same product was already repackaged and sold as both an aid for folks in the commercial lighting industry for a sure grip on light bulbs and, of all things imaginable, a solution for dog show people as a means to reduce paw slippage on indoor floors for their pets in the show.

We chose a slightly smaller container (the same package they use for Sort-Kwik) in an effort to make the item easier to carry and conceal. I think Michael would have really appreciated the lighter load.

The project was never intended to make much money, with no advertising budget beyond a simple web site (www.legerdomain.com). This has proved to be true with the sales thus far, doing little more than covering production and distribution costs. The product sells the best in England but all told it has only done well enough to keep out of pocket expenses for the project to a minimum. This is exactly what it was designed to do. Nobody’s making any money here, but Michael’s name (and photograph) is kept alive and circulating.

Sort-Kwik, a great product for fingertip moistening, is not the same product as Skinner’s Edge Card Crème and does not have all of the benefits and nor does it perform as well as this product. I am hoping to stop these rumors, not necessarily to stop folks from using it or to drive them to by our Card Crème, but rather to stem the tide of misinformation so the integrity of Mike’s preferred formula can be maintained. There is actually a Magic vendor in Canada who is re-labeling Sort-Kwik as a counterfeit product.

We are not asking you to buy or use Skinner’s Edge Card Crème, but please, don’t mistake it for other similar products. We know, because of the way we are having it produced, coupled with the normal margins in the Magic distribution and dealer community, that it sells for more than the office products discussed. It lasts a long time and we believe it is well worth the price charged. This is America and as a free market society you can buy it or not.

The main point is that there are no scams here; no one is trying to rip you off. We offer the product as a tribute to Michael Skinner’s memory. I am writing this all out in an effort to straighten out the misconceptions about the product. The whole project makes very little sense if it causes feelings of being bilked by the Magic Community.

It is what it is. If you use it you will see in it what Mike saw, a remarkably helpful tool for card and coin manipulation. I am aware that many magicians feel this sort of thing is unnecessary and I can also attest to the fact that one (including Mike Skinner himself) could become dependant on the product, lacking the confidence to perform without it. I use it and benefit from it whenever I perform, but there are no implied requirements here.

I welcome any questions or comments although I do hope this explanation puts this small controversy to sleep.

Have a great day!
Jerry
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Do you sell by the case?

Jerry
Larry Davidson
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A case? One container will last you a very long time, and most importantly, the product works well.
Steve Suss
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Where can I get a container?
AltonThrash
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Steve,
The creme can be purchased through Hocus-Pocus or Legerdomain.

http://www.hocus-pocus.com/magicshop/

http://www.legerdomain.com/page3.html


Just do a search for skinner at Hocus-Pocus and it should pop up with all of Mike's other products that they carry. A container is $5.

A.T.
daffydoug
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Michael was the "Ultimate Magician" A veritable walking encyclopedia of magic!
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Pete Biro
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A post above reminds me of a story.

Skinner and I were sharing a room at a convention. It was the FIRST time I had been booked to work close up at a National Convention.

Naturally we stayed up late.

Like a fool, when I got up in the morning I "rushed" a breakfast and hurried to the site where I was to work.

I was behind a screen setting up, my name was announced, and when I walked on to start... Larry Jennings was sitting front and center.

My breakfast came up.

I ducked behind the screen, threw up into a large ashtray and said (still out of sight) "Larry, something broke, can you do a bit 'til I'm ready?"

He did.

I collected myself and actually did a real good show.

Whew!
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magus
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"Uncle Mike" Heh-
I was doing a show for for some sept- to octogenerians and afterwards an older lady came up to me and-
"Oh, my Uncle used to do magic"
Long story short, her uncle was Max Malini
"Have you ever heard of him?"
I told her he was a god
crappy deium-



what a lousy day to be seized



thaumometer-



a device for measuring a magical field
Bill Palmer
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Max Who?

Seriously, that's a great story. I was doing a show at the Dickens on the Strand festival. A lady came up after the show and said, "I really like your doll house. It looks very nice. I used to do that one."

"Really?"

"Yes, I worked for Fred Culpitt."

You could have knocked me over with a feather.
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Autumn Morning Star
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Michael Skinner was definately among the greats. Michael was one of my Las Vegas favorites, along with Jimmy Grippo. I always told Jimmy: "If you were ten minutes younger I would run away with you." We all pass from this world far too quickly.

Here is a link about Michael Skinner's passing that you all might find interesting: http://www.magictimes.com/archives/1998/1998-08_31-06.htm

Scroll down to the article marked "Saturday - September 5, 1998" Michael passed on September 3, 1998.
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
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Bill Palmer
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I remember that very well. I was at that convention. Scotty York was just getting ready to do his lecture. The announcer walked on stage and said something to like "Before I introduce our next lecturer, I have some bad news." And he announced about Mike's death. Scotty was a very close friend of Mike. He almost couldn't go on.

It was terrible.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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Pete Biro
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That is the worst bit of timing... why the jerk couln't have waited 'til the lecture was over.

Reminds me of an ex girlfriend that told me "it's over" JUST BEFORE THE WAITER BROUGHT A VERY EXPENSIVE MEAL...

Back to Skinner. He once worked a week at the Magic Castle doing three of four close up shows a night for seven nights AND NEVER REPEATED A TRICK.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
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