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Profile of bishthemagish
I met Heba Habba Al at the New York Lounge that was across the street and down the block from Magic Inc on Lincoln Ave. In Chicago. The age was 21 or older to get into the New York Lounge.

If you met him on the street you would find that he was a small quiet man older gentleman. But put Heba behind the bar of a night club or a lounge like the New York Lounge and they would be in for a wild time.

Heba Habba Al was one of the greatest bar magicians that I have ever seen. He was a laugh a minute and had a line for every situation. His humor was corny, spicy and he had fun with the customers and the customers had fun watching him.

I wish I could remember the lines and gags he told…

I went in to the New York Lounge with Terry Vecky. At that time Terry Vecky used to perform magic at the tables and left the New York lounge for other [laces.

Heba came over and started to do magic for us. He had me take a card and put it under the deck. Wham the card was gone from the deck and ended up under my drink. Now this knocked me out because Terry had showed me the card under the drink. He had learned it from Heba and I could do it. But Heba still got me with it 3 times!

I looked at Terry and said - you could have warned me… Terry laughed… I told you he was the best he said!

Then the phone rang Heba picked it up and said to one of the other bar magicians… Nick (the owner) “Nick it is the laundry - they want to know if you want your underwear washed or scraped?”

Nick would give him a look and Heba turned away and said into the phone - scraped! Your welcome… And he would hang the phone up…

Heba came back over to us and said, “He is all up set (about Nick) because his wife has gained a lot of weight. Se eats so fast the silverware sparks… That scares the dog… I had a dog once that had three legs and we named it tripod“…

The guy next door had one with no nose… Terry said, “how did it smell?”

Heba said, “Lousy!”

One of the bits that Heba did was the sugar cube trick. A person would write their initial or the symbol on one side of a sugar cube and then drop it into a glass of water.

This effect was performed on a woman most often…

Then their initial or the symbol would appear on their hand on their arm on other peoples arms and hands.

On a persons cheek… And then Heba would say it appeared on their other cheek (the one you sit on) and then they would be joked into the bath room to take a look.

Heba would take a mike as there was a speaker in the bathroom and then he would joke to the woman in the bathroom over the mike like the MC in a strip show…

She would come out of the bathroom and the whole bar would be in on it. Then he would grab her by the arm and giver here a stage whisper and they would both go into the bathroom.

Then you heard a sound like someone getting hit and Heba came out of the bathroom like he had gotten slapped. Just wanted to see if the trick worked he said as he came back behind the bar… The bar was in stitches…

He did the rabbits - that is considered by many to be the best magic effect in magic. Momma go to Papa… Did you feel that? No? Not feeling to well tonight…

And the card on the forehead as the card under the drink was one of his favorite effects.

The New York Lounge was an action packed place on a Friday or Saturday Night. But it was a long evening for the magic bar men. They got in at eight and performed until four AM…

Also Heba and the gang did not do all the stunts every evening. Heba and the gang were a great judge of the customers. And knew when they could get away with these spicy stunts… And more importantly… When NOT TO do them.

Heba was also older and a very small man. So the boy friends and guys with their wives did not feel threatened when he would pull one of New York Lounges spicy stunts.

But he would do material for his audience and when booked to do a show he could also work clean…

That is my memory of the New York Lounge and Heba Habba Al… Who was one of a kind performer in magic.
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
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Profile of Pete Biro
Many thanks for your story on Heba... Every time I hit the Windy City, I would go to see him. He was a riot. It is sad that the video of him was done so late in his life. It would be a lesson in bar magic if someone had recoreded him doing all the crazy gags.

The X on the sugar lump was more than fantastic, it was a true piece of comedy theater.

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Profile of markyeager
My favorite Heba story was the time when I was at the NY Lounge in the early 80’s with Jay Marshall. He brought an English Magician, which I’m sorry that I can’t remember his name to see Heba. As Heba performed his act the English Magician commented “His palm is appalling”. Jay immediately said “I know the owner of the bar, would you like to perform after Heba”. I’ve never seen anyone beg off performing so fast in my life.
No one ever wanted to follow Heba. His performances were so strong, the laughter was so loud. He commanded his audience like a four star General, while acting like someone who was just there to have fun. This was one of my first lessons about performing style being more important than technique. His technique was flawless because of his performing personality.
It's Fun to be Fooled
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Great memories! By the way, Randy Wakeman (sp?) has a commercially available video of Al in his later years performing some of his signature material in a real bar. It's by no means Al in his element (as in the New York Lounge), but will definitely make you remember the
Happy Days (and nights!). Smile
Review King
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Glenn, thanks for those great stopries!!!

The Wakeman video doesn't capture heba at his finest.
"Of all words of tongue and pen,
the saddest are, "It might have been"

..........John Greenleaf Whittier
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