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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Michel de la Vega (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

lynnef
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I recently saw an old episode of 'I've got a secret' featuring this French magician; and in further searches (including our own Café) found that he appeared on other celebrity shows as well. Interesting that he performed hypnotism, and yet claimed that he did not believe in it. Indeed, after the episode, the guest panel asked how he did it; and he said "probably a magic trick". I loved it, because it seemed like he was making fun of hypnotism, and then topping it off with an illusion. Does anyone have any more biographical info on him, other than google, which mostly refers to the TV episodes? Lynn
Dick Oslund
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I remember an excellent presentation of the sub trunk on the Garry Moore TV show. IIRC, it was still black & white TV.
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Anatole
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John Scarne claimed in his autobiography that hypnotism is fake.

A friend of mine--the late Jerry Ornoff--was a mentalist who also did a stage hypnosis act. I worked for Jerry once when he did his hypnosis act at the EM Club of a Norfolk Navy Base. A week before the show, Jerry gave me a demonstration of hypnosis. He told me to close my eyes and while my eyes were closed, he said he was tying the string of a helium balloon around my right wrist. I could feel his hands touching my wrist as if he were really tying a string there. Then he said he was tying a string attached to a light weight around my left wrist. With my eyes closed, it did indeed feel like something was pullng up on my right wrist and down on my left wrist and one hand raised up and the other lowered. The power of suggestion was that strong.

When Jerry did the show at the EM Club, he got a few people up and sat them in chairs. After hypnotizing them, he did the balloon/weight bit with each of them. It was amazing to see how each person reacted. The balloon bit gave him a good idea of which people were the most susceptible to hypnosis. Some people had their hands separated at least three feet.

During the show, some of the bits were that we were all in a jungle and mosquitos were attacking us. It was amazing to see a bunch of people swatting at non-existent mosquitos. After he woke us all up we returned to our friends at their tables--except for one lady who stayed seated because she did not come out of the trance right away. It took a few minutes before she woke up completely.

My dentist also told me that he sometimes used hypnosis on patients who were allergic to novocaine.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
Dick Oslund
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Thanks for that story, Sonny!

Jerry was a dear friend when I was in Norfolk in the early '50s. We lost touch when I left the Navy. I didn't know that he had died quite young, until Chuck Windley told me.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
lynnef
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That was indeed a good story. I don't think Michel de la Vega claimed that hypnotism was a "fake". In fact, he called it a magic trick; and the power of suggestion can be very real to some. Being subject to powerful suggestion is VERY different than being a stooge! I know we've all used that line, "did you feel it go across?" with sponge balls, eg. Some spectators do feel it!!! Lynn
Moxahalla
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Michel de la Vega made a few appearances on the Garry Moore hosted show "I've Got A Secret".....two episodes have been run on the "BUZZR" TV Network.

Yes, he did a Hyp. Act, featuring Garry, and a great sub trunk on a 2nd episode (also featuring Garry).

Michel appeared very talented, and his patter was sort of self-mocking. (i.e. "I speak very good English, but have no idea what I am saying" (paraphrase).

I couldn't find out much about him, either.
gadfly3d
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I recall he also did a sword suspension and a 20th century silk type effect where multiple silks appeared between 2 hank's. Interestingly when I was quite young I waa impressed that he only did 1 effect in his act, and had 3 such acts.
Moxahalla
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Michel is the COVER STORY feature on a 1962 TOPS magazine....a full page about him.

RE: His patter on "I've Got A Secret" ...saying about his hypnotism routine - "It must be a magic trick"...Some of you guys are missing Michels' funny self-mocking humor, as I pointed out above...It's the kind of thing that is said, while winking at the audience/camera. It had nothing to do with rather he thought hypnotism is real, or a magic trick.
jay leslie
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I seem to remember a law that was passed, circa 61 or 62, where people could not be hypnotized on Television because a woman at home (watching a hypnotist) went into a trance and needed to be taken to a hospital.

Possibly, he said he didn't perform hypnotism, for that reason.
mtchdtn
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Here is a link to the two performances via Buzzr... https://fb.watch/5QQXPBBaTK/
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