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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The July 2012 entrée: Doug Higley » » How did you get started? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Kim
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"Doug,
There are those among us that would like a little background on how you got started in
the art of making your creatures. Is it something you stunbled upon or did you have a teacher?"
Doug Higley
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1942 - 2022
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Kim, I had done a few single-O grindshows (on the side, pun intended.) while in Radio/TV, living in Alaska in the early 70's and had even flashed up a (very) small trailer as a 'museum'. No 'sculpted' gaffs but I did re-configure a few 'THINGS' that were biological in nature. My first grindshow featured a baby 2 headed pig (Hogzilla) in a jar which I had purchased from sideshow legend Peter Hennen. I showed it with Gene Holter's Wild Animal Circus (which at the time was combined with Parley Baers Flying Circus) in Anchorage. (I also wrestled the big ass Tiger during that show.) I was on the air during that time with an sfternoon drive time radio show...so this was a sideline that I had always wanted to do.

After, I moved to Lake Tahoe, I bought a gaff from 'Stienmetz Museum Supply' that he said was made by a character called 'Pond Lilly Bill'...supposedly an OLD river trapper. I named it The Ice Pygmy. This was created in Plaster of Paris with additions of bits of fur and teeth etc. (James Taylor owns it now!). Anyway, it was not too realistic but it had a mysterious charm not unlike the work of Homer Tate. I had all the intention of showing it 'somehow'. Too make this long story short, I tried to buy another one and was informed old Pond Lilly had passed away (in his 90's) and no more could be had. Needing a 'few' THINGS to frame a show and not finding any 'gaffers', I decided to make my own which I did and since nobody else was doing it, to sell them thru Circus Report.
Mark Frierson and I got started making these 'things' about the same time. (seems so long ago.)
No, no teachers, self taught. I 'discovered' some unique materials and over time, developed my own methods and secrets as I went along.

The question I've always had...Was there really a trapper/gaffer named 'Pond Lilly Bill'?...Stienmetz swore there was but I'm still not sure.
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
Jimeh
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So it begs the question (for me anyways.) Do you see yourself ever passing on those methods and secrets to someone else, or does it go with you??
Doug Higley
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1942 - 2022
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My eldest Daughter, Tara, in Florida is dying to know...but she's in Florida. Smile
My Wife Lori has been dabbling with her own ideas based on what I've shown her (and looks promising)

I was thinking of a How-to course (eitherbook or electronically)

But what I'd probably like to do most (if it could be finacially sustainable) is do some seminar/workshops.
That would be the most productive and hands on would be of more value to the learner me thinks.

Most all I've dealt with over these last 15 years or so, have been magicians wanting to branch out and make side money or add some 'adventure' to thier routines...so maybe someday, I might be invited to some big ass convention or such. We'll see. I have no way to finance such a thing though.

And lets be honest...at this stage while I'm still trying to scratch out the rent etc...it seemed foolish to train others to compete...but then lately everybody and their Uncle Mmelvin seem to making this stuff and selling on ebay...so I'm between a pickle and a Guava seed. Besides...I'm only 70. Smile So hopefully Jimeh...I ain't goin'....














yet.
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
Jimeh
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You sir aren't going anywhere, anytime soon. Smile
Doug Higley
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1942 - 2022
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Well...I am feelin' pretty good lately. Smile That means I'll just drop like a rock warning free. Smile
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
Kim
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Quote:
On 2012-07-25 17:53, Jimeh wrote:
So it begs the question (for me anyways.) Do you see yourself ever passing on those methods and secrets to someone else, or does it go with you??


I was wondering the same thing.....

But I agree, Doug, you're not going anywhere for a while yet!
Doug Higley
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1942 - 2022
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Glad y'all think so. Too may great rides that haven't been built yet. Smile
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
Doug Higley
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1942 - 2022
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I noticed that the headline to this thread askes how I got started and then specializes with the Zibits.

Well maybe I should mention the other 'starts' regarding Magic...when I got out of the Army and working very hard jobs (like loading freight cars with 100 lb bags of Gypsum etc.) I wanted to expand my horizons into showbiz that I always had an eye on. However I could sing or dance so like most magicians wound up doing for thjose same reasons, I wound up at Tannen's. Put a little show together and did parties and show cases and benefits and that stuff. My original 'chracter was Dr. I. haha. I went on to Night Cubs etc. and thanks to Mario Mancini who I visited in the Ringling Bros. sideshow at madison Square garden, I got into Escapes and added that to my Dove and Illusion act.

Eventually I wound up in SF doing an act and then 'barking' in front of the night clubs, where I was 'Discovered' by a TV News Anchor from Australia who told me to get rid of the NY accent and then come to Australia. I didn't go there but after an 8 week Broadcasting school, I got hired at a small station in Seward Alaska. After that the other stuff happened...haha
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
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