Jeff Brodrick, MLIS, M.Ed, presented our April workshop. His title was “Television Magic: A History of Magic Seen on Television.” His workshop involved trivia, clips, and lots of magical television memories. His workshop was dedicated to Dorothy Dietrich. Workshops are usually a half hour, but Jeff had us so glued to this unique happening of magical history, that it was about one hour. The following paragraph describes what he had to share. All may not have been printed. The full workshop part of this report can be found on the Ring 211 web site.
Jeff’s interest in classic television caused him to create the first Internet website about “Gilligan’s Island.” He also created the first one about comedian Jerry Lewis as well. Jeff is a television history researcher who has contributed to “Larry King Live,” “A&E Biography,” “E! True Hollywood Story” and even held a “Gilligan’s Island’s 50th Anniversary” party. He has met Lennart Green, George Schindler, Kreskin, etc. The history of television and the many magical moments seen on it are the impetus for a forthcoming work. He shared with us how magic on TV has had a possessing power beginning with Romper Room’s “magic mirror.” Included in the talk were the first male magician on TV, Edwin Howard; BBC’s first was Fred Culpitt. The first lady magi for television was “The Magic Lady,” Geraldine Larson. The first magician on American widely syndicated TV was Mark Wilson’s “Magic Land of Allakazam” (1960 – 1964). Dick Williams followed with “Dick Williams’ Magicland” (1966 – 1989), which still holds a record for the longest running magic show on television. The first major film star to perform magic on television was Orson Wells in a 1956 episode of “I Love Lucy.” Jerry Nelson was the voice of the muppet, “The Amazing Mumford” on “Sesame Street.” Dick Cavett was a talk show host (1968 – 2007) and is still a performing magician.
Then there was the one-time professional magician Johnny Carson of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” (1962 – 1992). The first magician to sell magic on TV was Marshall Brodien. David Copperfield has had eighteen magic specials to-date. Jeff presented a list of TV series titled with the word “magic” within their respective title, and series without the word “magic” or “magician” in the title. We saw an excerpt of Don Alan performing on “Don Alan’s Magic Ranch” TV show. Jeff showed parts of two TV magic advertisements that he mentioned, Marshall Brodien selling “TV Magic Cards” and an “Almond Joy/Mounds” commercial. He closed his workshop by mentioning numerous game shows and variety shows. We also saw one part of Gali Gali in an early 1950’s performance. Jeff had a table full of commercial TV shows with magicians in episodes, series, and movies on VHS and DVD formats along with other television photos and unopened collectibles (and this was only a small sample of his vast collection). The club thanks Jeff very much for presenting this workshop. We think there may be a sequel…. stay tuned!
The April program was “Money Magic.” Since the tax filing day just passed, one’s trick or routine had to center on money or address it only obliquely, but it should definitely bring out the cash at some point. MagicBob Zoerman was our first performer and performed Slowburn (Richard Sanders). He showed us how he “personalized” it (idea from a recent David Corsaro Lecture). He followed with David Corsaro’s Mall Rats. He concluded with an ESP routine involving a lottery ticket.
Jeff Brodrick performed Harry Anderson’s 2 Dollar Bill and another routine called Purse of Pennies. He was able to match the only one with the date 1998. Evan Priem amazed us with a “Sharpie” maker and coin vanish and reappearance routine.
Dr. Jack Vander Wal performed a one dollar bill into two fifty dollar bills and back by having two spectators hold each of his wrists. Dennis Favreau dazzled us with a coin through his shirt and a coin toss routine called Random Predictability (from an old “Linking Ring”). In this effect, the magi is able to draw four symbols on the coins and have the spectator freely shuffle them in their own hands, dropping them on a table. Each time this is done, the turned down coin(s) are eliminated. Until the spectator is left with one coin with a symbol that matches the prediction.
Bob Panlener was our last performer. He astonished us with a torn and restored dollar bill routine, a one dollar into a one hundred dollar bill, a torn and restored center of a one dollar bill, and a $2 dollar bill into two $1 dollar bills back to a $2 dollar bill.
This was another night of magic, fun, and fellowship. We thank the performers and all who attended. Thanks to Jeff Brodrick and Dennis Favreau for contributing to this report.