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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » The Wonder Mouse (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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drhackenbush
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I'm hoping this is the right place to discuss this one, since it has been a mainstay on the midway for years...

I was wondering if anyone knows the (or a) history of the Wonder Mouse? I remember buying my first one at a sideshow at the Del Mar Fair in California around 1976 - I was selected to come onstage and vanquish a rubber snake with a sword and got to see the show inside the tent for free - and I also bought a Mouse. I've just become interested in this critter again, and just found out that they were even sold as a souvenir item at the 1939 New York World's Fair, complete with the Trylon & Perisphere on the box.
I guess I'm wondering what any other Café members might know about the Mouse, or if anything has been written about 'em?

I've been using mine at my birthday parties and the toddlers and their parents love 'em.
Thanks,
Charley
landmark
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True story: I used to work in theatre with an old guy named Bill--can't remember his last name. He used to sell these on the street of New York City, and other places. But he'd get busted, so he thought up a brilliant plan: he made up a little booklet called "Mouse-ism" which described a complete religion based on these little items, and he would sell the booklet for a dollar and throw in the mouse for "free."

Now when the cops tried to bust him, he claimed that they could not stop him from exercising his First Amendment rights of Freedom of Religion. He claimed they never touched him after that. He died a while back, and at his funeral, which I went to, there was talk that he was once a CIA agent.

Anyway, he was brilliant with the mouse and you'd swear the thing was alive. Haven't seen them around much since then.
Thanks for bringing back a fun memory,

landmark
DonDriver
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The wonder mouse...my good friend Jimmy Dixon was the KING of the mouse pitch..he is retired now.

Jimmy did a tape with David Walker(Svengali pitch)called "Expert at the Pitch Table" David teaches the Svengali pitch and Jimmy teaches the Mouse pitch on this tape.You can still get this tape from Stevens or Hank Lee on line.

Jimmy knows all the history on the mouse. PM me and I'll be glad to give you his home phone number. I'm sure Jimmy would love to tell you all about the history on the "Wonder Mouse"
Hope this helped..
Don
drhackenbush
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Landmark and Don - Thanks for the stories and info - I love the idea of Mouse-ism, and I'll look up the "Expert at the Pitch Table tape".

I was at the Howard County Fair this afternoon in MD, but alas, no mice there... But the fried dough was excellent.

Best,
Charley
koan
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What is the "Wonder Mouse" effect?
if a dove appears in the woods and no one is around to see it... is it magic?
drhackenbush
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Koan - the Wonder Mouse is a small plastic mouse that scurries across your hand, crawls out of a cup, rolls over, and does other amazing feats. This trick has been a favorite item to pitch at carnivals, sideshows, flea markets and many other venues.
irossall
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The mouse also goes by the name of "Trixie The Wonder Mouse". There is a video available that shows how to pitch Trixie and the "Svengali Deck". It sells for $50.00 but at the moment I don't have anymore information than that. I will post more information as soon as I can. I bought Trixie at the Seattle Magic Shop for the low price of $1.00 a couple of months ago. When was the last time you saw ANY magical effect sell for so little?
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Slim Price
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Pitching the Wonder Mouse is great fun! I loved it
Slim Price
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DonDriver
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Iven,
Read my post.."Expert at The Pitch Table" is the $50.00 book/tape on the Svengali and mouse pitch.
Don
drhackenbush
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Hey, here's a photo of my Wonder Mouse, looking rather hungrily at a piece of Grafton Village Gold 3-year-old sharp cheddar cheese... Smile
(you might have to cut & paste the url)
http://www.folksinging.tv/wonder.JPG
camikesrd
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Don , not to contradict you, let me tell all the boys here who the king of the mice workers really was. It goes way back almost 100 years. No disrespect to Jimmy Dixion, I never saw him work or met him. I saw his son Kim work a couple of times and he told me he did the same pitch as his dad.

I am Mike Walsh and I emailed you once before, I am the guy that worked with Wayne Garrison in Asbury Park in the 1960's. Later when I had an auction truck with another guy we played bumper to bumper on Reithoffer Shows. In one of those fairs we sat next to a magic worker,Ed Turner from Philadelphia. Pitched cards. Buda Money Papers and mice.

He only played a couple of fairs then because he had a magic shop in Phily. It was called Arlane. He used to advertise in the Linking Ring. His shop was next to the bus station. He was real good but the King of the mouse workers broke him in at the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1933, a man named Emile.

I think he was Greek, real heavy hair on his hands and arms and would interlace the thread into it and the mouse would run and turn two or three times up his hand and arm. Ed was not able to do this move so I never saw it. The name of his shop Arlane was from his stage name, he had been in Vaudeville and Broadway ( Olsen and Johnsons " Hellsapoping" as Art Lane. I always told him he missed a chance, he could have called himself Art Fay, he didn't like that idea.

Emile was a old guy and he had been working the mouse for some time when Ed met him so that takes it to the turn of the century.
irossall
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Yes Don, the video/book is "The Expert At The Pitch Table". The authors are Michael Schwartz & S. David Walker. It is available at Stevens Magic Emporium. Their website is http://www.stevensmagic.com
Charley, Any information that you seek on Trixie just might be in this work.
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DonDriver
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Hey Camikesrd,
Thanks for the info. Emile broke Jimmy in years and years ago. Jimmy still has the molds that Emile brought over from Europe.
If you haven't heard, Wayne passed away about 2 years ago. What a nice guy he was.
Later,Don
drhackenbush
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Boy, I really appreciate all the great info that is being posted! Thanks!
Charley

Just received an original 1939 New York World's Fair Wonder Mouse, in a mint box - the mouse itself is made out of hard wax. I just gave it a run, and it works just a nicely as the modern ones. Cute little piece of history!
Daktari
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Stan Kramien was also a big fan and pitchman of the Wonder Mouse. He has a book and I believe a tape out on the pitch.
MagicMaker
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Would be cool if they still sold them.
drhackenbush
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MagicMaker - There are some people that still sell 'em - I got a handful from a joke shop, and I think there are sources online & even places to get them in bulk. I just watched the "Expert at the Pitch Table" video, and both Jimmy and Kim Dixon were amazing, and I learned a few new moves I didn't think were even possible with the Mouse.
DonDriver
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Jimmy Dixon still sells them wholesale.Give him a call at 662 562-8238
stine
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I met Kim Dixon at the CA State Fair in 1981. I was doing antique photography and saw him pitching and introduced myself. He used to do card tricks to draw the tip and at one point did the one-hand shuffle. I had him teach it to me and so I spent the two weeks at my booth practicing while waiting for customers. By the time the run was over I could one-hand shuffle with both hands!

The difficulty with pitching by yourself at a fair is they make you keep your booth open so he's there maybe 10-12 hours! At one point he told me he had drawn a crowd and was in the middle of his pitch when he began to feel nauseous. He felt like throwing up so he put his clenched fist to his mouth like suppressing a burp and actually began throwing up!! Apparently it shot out of both sides of his mouth because of the fist!! I believe he told me sales were down at that particular pitch. Just a humorous story that shows how difficult the life of a pitchman can be, as the show must go on or you're out a lot of money for the joint space!

Kim was a very nice guy as I visited him one time after at his place in CA. Where is he now?? I would love to say hi and see if he remembers me. By the way if you saw his pitch, the bit about SHOWING the wax pellet as the gimmick that makes the mouse go is BRILLIANT!!! People think they're buying a little engine or bug or whatever...genius!!
DonDriver
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Stine,

Kim is still out pitching and doing well. He and his wife moved to PA. Not sure where he is working but if you give his dad (Jimmy) a call he'll know: 662 562-8238. Just tell him Jimmy Don Driver sent you.

Have a Good One,
Don
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