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Dick Oslund
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Manuel was "gone" before I was "here", but C. Thomas MAGRUM, one of my mentors as a teen, "made me" get interested. I was 15, working in a carnival sideshow, and met "Buzz" Worth. Buzz taught me the DOWNS p*lm. I was doing the Misers Dream, so I learned Downs with both hands. At 18, Clem Magrum showed me HIS VERSION of the FIVE COIN STAR. We sat up all night as he patiently coached me. About that time, Walter Gibson, who had "conjured up' THE SHADOW, published a series of "pulp magazine" mysteries of THE SHADOW. One of the stories was a murder mystery in which many magicians were involved. One of them was described as doing the COIN ROLL with both hands, with FOUR COINS, SIMULTANEOUSLY. Clem had shown me the coin roll with one coin, but, I worked out a handling with four. (In the '80s, I taught Johnny "Ace" Palmer how to do it. He later put out a tape about coin flourishes. I haven't seen it. I wonder if he showed my four coin roll.

I learned a few more of the standard flourishes, but never really mastered, the "roll down" (the "four coin star")

When I played the school in Montour, Iowa (early '70s)I met Tommy Down's nephew, and spent an afternoon with him. He told me many stories of his uncle. Faucett Ross, became a friend, and, he, too, gave me a lot of background on Downs. Faucett greatly influenced my Misers Dream routine.

In the Navy (early '50s)the members of Ring 103 thought I was a "god"! (They all did stuff with "boxes, tubes, cans, pans, and red velvet bags on a stick". I was trying to be "swayve & deboner" (at 19!). I wasn't!!! I threw away the champagne glass and all the flourishes, got a "tin can" and reworked the Misers Dream! I stopped doing a "watch me do this clever stuff" act, and learned how to ENTERTAIN them. Magicians "love" those flourishes, The paying audiences just want to laugh, and be entertained.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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Profile of Dick Oslund
BTW...Bud Tracy (who published a 'directory' of magicians--I think it was in the late '50s) once showed me the FIVE SILVER DOLLARS, that had belonged to Tommy Downs. I asked him, "Where is #6?" He said, "#6?" I explained that Downs had a 6th dollar that had a convex area on one side. He used wax on the thumb coin, which is the most difficult coin in the star! Tracy expressed disbelief, but, I had the "facts" from Faucett Ross who had known Tommy Downs.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Hare
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Fascinating history, Mr. Oslund. I'd Love to read any and all of your Tommy Downs tales as told by his nephew. Maybe they would be worth their own thread or part of a published memoir? Material on him is hard to come by and pretty scarce, and stories like these are precious and fragile, until they are recorded and passed along in some manner.

I've heard about Down's gimmicked coin for the thumb before....someone claimed to have owned one, that they said had a small "hole" to help keep it safely on the thumb.

Both The Master of the Mighty Dollar and the King of Coins lived just before the time of heavy film documentation, and it's really tragic how little footage of them exists. You can see that the Manuel footage has suffered degradation over the years, as has the home footage that exists of Downs. The tragic thing is, they performed in their heyday just a few years shy of movies/documentaries really becoming huge. If they had performed in their prime just ten or fifteen years later, there likely would be a lot more footage of them still around, and we would still be able to appreciate the physical genius of these talented coin men.

Another huge problem of the very early cinema was the fact that well over 90% of the early silent material was destroyed. The stuff movies were shot on was extremely flammable and dangerous, and this, combined with the fact that the big movie houses thought of their products only in terms of profit, and not as any sort of important art or vital records of civilizations history- led to very shabby treatment of the first several decades of cinema's ultimate product- those cans containing silent movies from the early days of Hollywood.

It's rather tragic the way works of art are often neglected, until later generations finally realize that hey, maybe this stuff is worth preserving after all. In the case of early film, it's mostly been a realization that has come about too late.
"Better described in The Amateur Magician's Handbook"
Mb217
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Quote:
On Mar 3, 2015, Hare wrote:
Fascinating history, Mr. Oslund...


Yes my friend, as Mr. Spock would often say... "Fascinating!" Smile
*Check out my latest: Gifts From The Old Country: A Mini-Magic Book, MBs Mini-Lecture on Coin Magic, The MB Tanspo PLUS, MB's Morgan, Copper Silver INC, Double Trouble, FlySki, Crimp Change - REDUX!, and other fine magic at gumroad.com/mb217magic Smile


"Believe in YOU, and you will see the greatest magic that ever was." -Mb Smile
magic4545
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Jimmy Fingers
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Quote:
On Mar 3, 2015, Hare wrote:
I've heard about Down's gimmicked coin for the thumb before....someone claimed to have owned one, that they said had a small "hole" to help keep it safely on the thumb.


...and some sealing wax
magic4545
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Jimmy Fingers
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I've read through and referenced Amateur Magician's Handbook scores and scores of times, and every time that I saw the reference to Manuel's Thumb Gag, I thought, hey, this time I'm going to get it. This time, I'm going to understand what that passage is referring to. This time, I'm going to have some ray of light that hits me and I get what the author was saying.

Never.

The Vimeo video above finally shed light on what Hay was describing. Finally. Only took about 5 decades. Thanks for the Vimeo link.

Jimmy
gregg webb
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I think it was a hollow to put magi wax in.
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