Lately, I find myself watching as much of Tommy Cooper’s work as I can find. Because of my age and being on this side of the pond, I wasn’t aware of him until recently and it’s another case of finding out what I missed. This bit includes his performance of the Indian Rope Trick.
Korean magician Do Ki-Moon brought this to FISM 2012. It’s a fun act that reminds me of Looney Tunes. Unfortunately, he didn’t place with this act, but just to have it compete in FISM is a good sign that it’s a quality act. I’m hoping to see more from Do as time progresses and looking forward to seeing him take a win at FISM.
Today’s Dose comes on Thanksgiving, which is also referred to as Turkey Day colloquially here in the States. What better time to bring the famous Welsh “Almost Magician” Tommy Cooper (1921-1984) in. Also a member of The Magic Circle, Tommy’s comedy act was developed in part over finding that he got better responses when a trick failed than when it worked. Some of his stuff makes me laugh until there are tears. Here’s one of those bits. Happy Thanksgiving!
In 1991, Russian magician Vladimir Danilin took the FISM Grand Prix prize in Lausanne, Switzerland with this imaginative stage act. In the beginning, it looks more like a cabaret act, but as it progresses, the twists and turns the routine takes add to the magic and make it all the more fun to watch. On a personal note, I give it additional bonus points for using Andreas Vollenweider’s “Angoh!” in his musical selection.
For those of you wanting to take a break from your holiday shopping for a good evening of magic, come watch this year’s Holiday Festival of Magic at 7pm on Saturday, 30NOV2013, at the Mount Tabor United Church of Christ, located 6520 Arsenal St here, in St. Louis. Doors open at 6pm, and pre-show entertainment of close-up magic will warm up the crowd for a great evening’s fun. Performers will include Harry Monti (straight from performing for his 50th year at The Magic Castle), Steve Barcellona (stevebarcellona.com), Greg Lewis, Steve Corbett (www.stevecorbitt.com), Dan Todd (thegreattodd.com) and many more! I might have to wear my red fur suit for the occasion! You can contact me via Facebook or this blog for tickets (Adults $10, Children $5), any other members of Assembly 8 you might know, or purchase them online via PayPal at the site linked below or at the door.
I’m not sure of the source of this Fred Kaps (1926-1980) video. It’s labeled “Fred Kaps FISM Grand Prix Act,” and while Fred is the only holder of three FISM Grand Prix titles, it doesn’t quite fit with the descriptions I’ve read of any of them. The best I can figure is that this is close to the act he did for his second win in Amsterdam in 1955. In any case, this is a wonderful documentation of one of the great talents in magic and I’m glad I found it and can share it here. Absolute classic!
Today I finally got to perform most of my act for my grandfather. I’ll admit, this one was a bit hard for me to do. I mean, even though this is what I love doing and I’ve wanted to perform for him for a while, now, I’ve been dealing with the fear of his reaction. You know, I can perform for complete strangers with only a small amount of stage fright, but doing this for somebody that means so much to me has been hard to do.
Honestly, it’s going to be one of those performances that will stick with me for a long time for all the right reasons.
My bride and I went to visit, and like I’ve done twice before, I had my act packed, ready to go, and with me. I would have probably chickened out if Michele hadn’t brought it up making excuses that I didn’t want to bother him with it. Sometimes, I wish I still had the fearlessness that I had as a kid, not caring about judgment and going through the tricks whether eyes were watching intensely, rolling, or glazed. Reading personal histories of other magicians who started as kids, I find that really trying to start in middle age, I’m doing it completely backwards. Typically, the veterans started out running their stuff to family and friends before getting in front of strangers to perform. For me, it’s harder to do this for friends and family outside of the magic community. I mean, I can talk about working on databases or computer networks until they’re almost begging me to stop, but why, for the love of all that’s holy, do I have this fear to share something that I truly love doing?
It’s pretty much been once again to be an unfounded fear.
I had an audience of two: my grandfather and Michele.
My grandfather sometimes has troubles keeping his eyes open do to issues with tearing, so even though it’s already my opening, I figured I’d at least do the Linking Rings. Nice and visible and if he was having trouble keeping his eyes open after that, well, I could easily call it good.
I’ve not seen his eyes open that wide in a long while, maybe years. And he was laughing and enjoying himself the entire time. I pretty much went through my entire act outside of my new finale. I had left Reggie the Rabbit in my van. (I’m really serious when I tell you how chicken I was about the whole thing.) For the twenty some minutes I did my act, his eyes were open wide the entire time and he laughed through the entire act. I ended the act doing a Mismade Flag routine, and he had been shown how to do this when he was a boy by a magician and had an impish grin on his face at the finale of the routine.
It’s funny, though. I get stage fright to start, but once I’ve started, fear walks out the door and I feel free to play. And that’s what we did. When I start doing my act, the smile plastered to my face is genuine and I can’t stop it.
And my reward for finally doing what I should have done a while back? I saw my grandfather more animated and laughing than I have in a while and got some new stories that he probably didn’t even remember he had. For all the science that can explain it all, for me, this was the true magic. No token laughter, no eyes mostly closed. Just us having fun together. I’m going to be riding this high for a while.
Adult life has it’s good share of highs and lows, but today has shown me why sometimes the right idea is to let my inner five year old take the driver’s seat of the Lil Tikes car and show me where to go.
OK, I re-posted Pop’s demonstration on Magnetized Water a few days ago, and he has another one out. Instead of the stage, we now have Pop demonstrating in his kitchen. This is the sort of close-up magic that I love. It’s intimate with the audience and just all sorts of stupid fun. I do loves me a good medicine show.
This is considered Bill Malone’s (www.billmalonemagic.com) signature trick. It’s a great bit of storytelling card magic, and though I’ve seen other similar routines and other performers doing “Sam the Bellhop,” Bill’s delivery is spot on and is classic. Even without the magic, the delivery kills.
If you keep even half an eye on the Daily Doses, you’ll see a bit of appreciation for Pop Haydn. The man is just a great entertainer. In a day where being a snake-oil salesman might not work as well, he’s definitely found another calling in pitching Magnetized Water. His full page for Magnetized Water is at http://www.pophaydn.com/magnetized-water.html with additional video demonstrations.