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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » A touch of Gali-Gali (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

funsway
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old things in new ways - new things in old ways
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Gali-Gali was scheduled to perform nightly at the famous Riverside Room in Reno, Nevada during the summer of 1958. Two weeks of sold out reservations for the dinner and midnight shows. His specialty was Cups and Balls with live baby chickens. As kids we could not be in the casino surrounded lounge.

On learning of this problem the world-renowned star acquired use of the State Street Theater at his own expense to put on an afternoon show for children. His rules were that each kid had to be young enough to require being brought by their parents but old enough to be left unattended. Perhaps in Europe this had some ancient and special meaning. For our local newspaper announcing the event it translated into 10-15 years old where a parent had to sign them in at 1:00PM and pick them up promptly at 4:00PM on Thursday. Given the confusion and inability of grown-ups to get off work only 14 of us attended. Sad!

Gali-Gali was not pleased, ranting in several languages. It was obvious he was cancelling the show and was cursing this “degenerate city” with no love of children or appreciation of the importance of magic in their lives. These words I learned later as he ordered all adults out and to lock the doors. He took off his robes and came down into the orchestra pit and gestured us to gather close around him. He wasn’t much larger than most of us.

He talked to us of magic as it was performed around the word. He performed some magic effects, of course, but mostly shared what it was like to have no home except hotel rooms in strange cities, and having to smile when “lonely of heart.” We asked many questions – some that we never would have dared had our parents been there. Secrets! I learned that what makes magic work has little to do with sleights and gimmicks and fancy props. It’s about people!

I was shocked to learn of how many little yellow fuzzy chicks died every week in his performances and concerned that local health codes prevented him from keeping them at a hotel. His solution was “sorta magical” – left to you’all to figure out. He did not swear us to secrecy – but did have each of us to commit to going to college and getting a job that would “make a difference” in other people's lives.

All of us there already did perform some magic tricks. Every boy did back then – just part of growing up. I still have a copy of The Cub Scout Book of Magic. So, he even taught us a couple of things not found in books like a Clap Vanish from the open palm of your hand. Yup – just hold a ball on the palm of your hand, clap the other hand down hard and show both hands empty. Wrong forum to explain how. PM me if you must know.

The significant part of what I learned is that this effect and most of what he told us has never been in a book, or on a DVD – at least none that I have seen. So, I have decided to share some of these “real secrets of magic” in several threads here on the Café. Most can be in open forum.

Hope you decide to attend.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Payne
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Jack Kodell wrote in his biography of the time he was kicked out of his hotel because the manager thought he had clogged up the plumbing by flushing his birds down the toilet. Turns out that Gali-Gali had stayed there the week before and that it was him, not Mr. Kodell who was responsible for the avian clogs in the pipes. As when Jack asked to see what was causing the backup it turned out to be masses of dead baby chicks that Gali-Gali had apparently disposed of by flushing down the toilet.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Dick Oslund
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Wonderful!!! I shall look forward to the Gali Gali thread!

I saw him just once on a TV Variety Show--I THINK it was Ed Sullivan Show. Bob McAllister talked very highly of Gali Gali.

Thanks in advance!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Jerskin
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I believe Irene Larsen got involved in the Gali Gali baby chicks down the toilet secenario and he was eventually banned from casinos in the US
GrEg oTtO

MUNDUS VULT DECIPI
funsway
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One surprising thing is that he had his chicks mailed in through the US Post Office and special delivered at strange times of the day. So, its OK to mail chicks, live or dead, but not OK to dispose of them. The problem originated with clogged toilets and not concern of the chicks.

Doesn't effect his ideas about performing though.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Dick Oslund
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If he had flushed them one or two at a time, he probably wouldn't have had (caused!) the problem!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
funsway
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Cultural conditioning. At home he may not have been allowed to flush more than a couple of times a day ;-)

No indication he destroyed any live ones, though -- unlike Americans who just dump their unwanted cats and dogs in a distant neighborhood.

I was shocked at the time to learn of such behaviors -- now more shocked about how people treat other people with as little regard.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Payne
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Quote:
On Nov 4, 2014, funsway wrote:

No indication he destroyed any live ones, though -- unlike Americans who just dump their unwanted cats and dogs in a distant neighborhood.



Sadly, it's not just a problem in America

http://www.esdaw.eu/the-strays-in-europe.html
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
tomsk192
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How many of his critics are vegetarian? Death is a fact of life for all of us.

The Early Purges

I was six when I first saw kittens drown.
Dan Taggart pitched them, 'the scraggy wee ****s',
Into a bucket; a frail metal sound,

Soft paws scraping like mad. But their tiny din
Was soon soused. They were slung on the snout
Of the pump and the water pumped in.

'Sure, isn't it better for them now?' Dan said.
Like wet gloves they bobbed and shone till he sluiced
Them out on the dunghill, glossy and dead.

Suddenly frightened, for days I sadly hung
Round the yard, watching the three sogged remains
Turn mealy and crisp as old summer dung

Until I forgot them. But the fear came back
When Dan trapped big rats, snared rabbits, shot crows
Or, with a sickening tug, pulled old hens' necks.

Still, living displaces false sentiments
And now, when shrill pups are prodded to drown
I just shrug, 'Bloody pups'. It makes sense:

'Prevention of cruelty' talk cuts ice in town
Where they consider death unnatural
But on well-run farms pests have to be kept down.


Seamus Heaney
funsway
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Please let us get back to the message of his magic performances.

His use of LIVE chicks was a choice over DEAd coins and DEADER fuzzy balls,
and audiences loved it. Watch the Ed Sullivan clip with a very abbreviated performance.

You may not agree with his "conquering death" attitude about C&B, but he did and came from a culture with more ready death than ours.

There are nay sayers about anything -- the sadness being that they get such ready press,
while every magician provides a message of hope.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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