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scorch
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The other day I saw a documentary about Orson Wells, and it talked about how much he loved to perform card magic, and was a pretty well accomplished sleight of hand man. It got me thinking about how at one time, card magic was a real gentleman's pasttime that didn't have the goofy geek stigma attached to it that some of us are working hard to dispel. Or maybe I'm just idealizing the past. It's sort of like the unexpected, Nixon playing piano thing, where the activity is not something that makes something a geek with an obsession, but rather something that makes somebody a well-rounded and interesting individual.

Anyway, it got me wondering, as a sort of trivia question, who are some of the interesting historical figures (non-magicians) who were into card magic?
monark
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I know that Johnny Carson was and Neil Patrick Harris (played Doogie Howser) is. That's all I can think of right now.
- curt™
ithomson
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I believe Charles Dickens was a conjuror, though I doubt it was purely cards.

Muhammed Ali, too (I think).
Rennie
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The silent film start Harold Lloyd was I heard big time into magic, also Milton Berle and we cannot forget Steve Martin. There are many more but my mind is going blank right now.
Rennie
The effect is the important thing, how you achieve it is not.......
scott0819
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Actor steve martin is an acomplished magician as well and at one time had a creative comedy magic act called 'the great flydini' in which he produced various objects from the fly on his pants.
the highlight of the act was when he would inhale smoke from a cigarette and the smoke would be seen puffing from his fly.
Paul Chosse
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1955 - 2010
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Here's a few, off the top of my head:

Lewis Carroll, of "Alice in Wonderland" fame. Edmund Wilson, essayist and critic. Charles Dickens, Muhammed Ali, and Prince Charles. Other writers: Sol Stien, Clayton Rawson, Bruce Elliott (he was also a magazine editor),G.K. Chesterton (The Father Brown Mysteries), Edgar Allan Poe. Mathematicians like, Fred Mosteller, Persi Diaconis (a MacArthur Fellow, along with James "The Amazing" Randi), Charles Nyquist, and of course, Martin Gardner. Philosopher Raymond Smullyan.

Lots of "show-biz personalities: Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, Orson Welles, Will Smith, Chester Morris (he played "Boston Blackie"). Script writers in Hollywood, like Lou and Nate Derman (They did "Mr. Ed", my favorite "talking horse"), Bill Woodfield (Wrote for the original "Mission Impossible" and "Murder She Wrote" series). David Mamet, the author, playwright, producer, etc. is interested, thus his involvement with Ricky Jay.

In associated fields who could forget Edgar Bergen, with Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, or Charlies' arch-enemy, W.C. Fields, who did, at the beginning of his career, a cigarbox juggling act, trick shots on the pool table and - card tricks! Shari Lewis, another "vent", famous for her "sock puppet" Lamb Chop, comes from a magic family - her dad did card tricks.

And there was another brother act, Jimmy and Jan Grippo. Jimmy is the famous one magically, but I'll bet you didn't know that he was also a fight manager with several champs under contract, and his brother Jan was an agent in Hollywood who handled the "Bowery Boys", Huntz Hall and Leo Gorcey, back in the thirties! Both of the Grippos did some amazing magic. Almost forgot mystery writer William Murray, who did a whole series with a magician as the detective, and Mike Skinner as a character. Cary Grant was even on the Board of Diretors at the Magic Castle for a while, and Jason Alexander, of "Sienfeld" fame is an amateur magician.

Funny, as I think of one, it prompts another. All of this is from memory so far, and if I keep going I could probably come up with lots more. Oh yeah, how could I forget, Bill Bixby? He even PLAYED a magician on TV! And I'm not sure about Jodie Foster DOING card tricks, but she sure loves'em - she went to Ricky Jay's show something like 20 times!

Some politicians are supposed to be interested - did you know that Walt Rollins, the guy in Bobo, was a Senator? And George Bush likes to do a trick or two, I guess. At least, he used to stop into Al's Magic Shop whenever he was in Washington! OK, that's enough for now...

Best, PSC
"You can't steal a gift..." Dizzy Gillespie
jcards01
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You know Paul, besides you and me, how many remember Boston blackie? What a great detective series. And I don't mean reruns. When it was on there was no such thing as reruns!
Jimmy 'Cards' Molinari
www.jimmycards.com
Vandy Grift
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"I wish I had a pencil thin mustache,
The "Boston Blackie" kind."

I know Boston Blackie. I've never seen the show on TV, but I've heard many of the old radio broadcasts. Good stuff.

"Enemy to those who make him an enemy. Friend to those who have no friend."
"Get a life dude." -some guy in a magic forum
Partizan
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Does Muhammed Ali do any other magic then TT silk vanish?
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
- Mark Twain
DomKabala
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Harry Anderson of "Night Court" fame is also an accomplished magician.

<<<<KRaZy4kardz>>>>
We don't stop playing when we grow old...we grow old when we stop playing.

God is enough, let go, let God. Gal 2:20

"Anything of value is not easily attained and those things which are easily attained are not of lasting value."



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Dennis Loomis
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I remember Boston Blackie.

I remember Muhammed Ali producing an appearing cane on some talk show... probably the tonight show. Don't know if he did/does card tricks.

Dennis Loomis

P.S. To Paul Chosse... how many other talking horses are/were there? I remember a mule. (Francis. His "sidekick" was Donald O'Connor, and his voice was Chill Wills.}
Itinerant Montebank
<BR>http://www.loomismagic.com
Paul Chosse
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Hi Dennis!

Francis IS the other "Talking Horse", but of course you are right, he was a mule!

Harry Anderson was also the star of "Dave's World", a series based on the life of newspaper columnist Dave Barry. I didn't include Harry because he IS a magician, that's how he got the role on "Night Court". He played "Harry the Hat" on "Cheers", and the producers thought he was an actor, playing the part of a con, didn't realize he was doing his Act! Harry is great, always has been. I remember him working in SF in the seventies. He did a double with his wife, Leslie, that was hilarious...

Jim, I'll bet there aren't TOO many that remember "Blackie". But at least one member could quote the intro! Now that's impressive, Vandy...

Ali did quite a bit of magic early on, but the Parkinson's really limits him, as you can imagine, and did even when he first contracted it...

Shadoe Stevens, famed Disk Jockey from LA is into magic, as is Actor Ben Kingsley...

Best, PSC
"You can't steal a gift..." Dizzy Gillespie
Stanyon
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Just look at the gray hair! I remember Boston Blackie, Vandy just beat me to the intro.

Cheers! Smile
Stanyon

aka Steve Taylor

"Every move a move!"

"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
Sam Tabar
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"Knowledge comes from finding the answers, but understanding what the answers mean is what brings wisdom." - Anonymous
Suave Dan
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Steve Martin is a magician. Wait, you said non geeks right?
Vandy Grift
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You have the Nerve to call Steve Martin a geek? While wearing a hat like that??? LOL.
"Get a life dude." -some guy in a magic forum
Review King
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Quote:
On 2005-08-17 10:56, Paul Chosse wrote:
Jimmy is the famous one magically, but I'll bet you didn't know that he was also a fight manager with several champs under contract, and his brother Jan was an agent in Hollywood who handled the "Bowery Boys", Huntz Hall and Leo Gorcey, back in the thirties!


Paul, when I first heard his name years ago, I thought what a coincidence, he has the same name as the fight promoter. And I had no idea his brother handled the Bowery boys ( a favorite series when I was a kid ).

Thanks for the great info and warm fuzy ove rthe Bowery memory!!

Chris
"Of all words of tongue and pen,
the saddest are, "It might have been"

..........John Greenleaf Whittier
KC
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I've heard that the drummer for the Pixies is into sleight of hand magic.
elgranmago
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John Edward McLaughlin, former Acting Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and currently advisor to Cable Network News

This has been said of him:

"Entering the CIA in 1972, he had come to win the respect of his colleagues as a thorough and thoughtful professional whose ability to impress with magic tricks had earned him the nickname "Merlin".

"McLaughlin is also an amateur magician who sometimes uses tricks with cards or rubberbands to make the point that analysts need to be aware that situations are not always as they seem when observed from one angle".

I often see him on CNN, he´s a smart man, and am reminded that he´s also an amateur magician.

Interesting guy.
"It´s kind of fun to do the impossible". Walt Disney
Alan M
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Dave Lovering- drummer for the Pixies- is a magician. He is a magician member of the Magic Castle and performs with 2 others guys under the name "The Unholy Three." They very recently released a DVD under the same name; the release party was just this August 11th. Also part of this group is Rob Zabrecky, formerly with the band Possum Dixon. The name of the 3rd member escapes me. I have not seen them perform, but I have heard only the highest praise for their show.
-Al
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