Broken Wand: Gerald Herdegen

Gerald Herdegen has passed. He held I.B.M. number 35212 and was a Order of Merlin Shield. He was a member of Ring 211, The John DeVries/June Horowitz Magic Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was a “Hall of Fame Member” (honorary member). He was president of Ring 211 from 1985 – 1987. He also served as the treasurer for over twenty years. He participated in many Ring 211 events and provided balloon twisting at the Annual Hocus Pocus Parties, the previous Installation Banquets & Shows, and a few local “Tommy Fitzgerald’s Juice Balsl (fund raiser event in which the Ring participated). He was known as “Choo Choo The Clown.” He performed a few magic effects in his shows but was known as “Balloon Sculpturer Extraordinaire.” He won contests in balloon twisting (affiliated with Clown Alley), was also honored to be a judge at many of these contests, and had a passion to teach the art. Below is a copy of his obituary notice.

Obituary for Mr. Gerald F. “Choo Choo” Herdegen

Mr. Gerald F. “Choo Choo” Herdegen age 76 of Grand Rapids went to be with the Lord on Friday July 7, 2017. He will be dearly missed by his wife of 55 years Kathleen; his children Joseph, Michael (Virginia), Patrick, Paul (Mary), Deborah; grandchildren Scott, Beth, Carl, Camren, Mia, Charlie, Lilia and Gabe; his siblings James (Judy), David (Bonnie), Mary Pechumer and John (Carol); many, many relatives and friends. Jerry graduated in 1959 from Catholic Central High School. He was a member of Clown Alley 44 and the International Brotherhood of Magicians Ring 211. Jerry was a longtime active member of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Tuesday at 11:00 am at St. Anthony of Padua Church where his family will receive visitors one hour before the Mass. The family will receive visitors Monday 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the Arsulowicz Brothers Remembrance Mortuary, 3525 Remembrance Rd NW where the Vigil Service will be held at 7:30 pm. Memorial contributions may be made to the Food Pantry at St. Anthony Church, 2510 Richmond St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 and online at

Ring 211 June 2017 Report

Hey! The 2018 I.B.M. Convention is in Grand Rapids, Michigan! Information and registration available at

We held no workshop for this June meeting. Tonight’s program was “A Tribute To Couples.” This month Ring 211 celebrated the magic of, the magic about, and the magic for couples. MagicBob Zoerman opened the show with his version of Jumbo Split Deck. Jeff Brodrick used a blue backed deck and a red one. The card was chosen from the red backed deck and happened to be the 36th card down in the blue one. Dennis Favreau performed Napkin To Rose (Michael Mode). Phil Gleason impressed us with two parachute cords by by linking loops and penetrated the cords from finger to finger. Ron Carnell closed the show with what he called “Spell The Lie Card Trick.” By lady’s intuition, the chosen card had turned around in the deck.

Another night of magic and fun. A thanks to the performers and all who came.

Ring 211 May 2017 Report

Jeff Brodrick presented our May workshop and it was part six of his series on “Television Magic.” Jeff has quite a collection of magic on TV. We viewed the following segments: Mark Wilson producing Nani Darnell out of a glass box on a 1975 episode of “The Odd Couple” and then having Oscar being levitated, Mark then performing a lady cut in half illusion (choo choo train) on “ABC’s Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell,” Tom Mullica and also Kamarr the Discount Magician on “Late Night with David Letterman,” George Carl as a vaudevillian-style comic and clown on a 1980 (May 27) episode of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” Glen Kaufman on a 1964 “What’s My Line?,” and Alfred DeLage on a 1960 episode of “To Tell The Truth.” Very entertaining, thanks Jeff.

Tonight’s program was a focus on magic with silks and ropes. Ring 211 President P. J. Weber opened the show with an attractive cut and restored rope routine in which he vanished the cut rope pieces left behind. Ron Carnell solved the Rubick’s Cube with the aid of a silk. Jeff Brodrick performed a rope levitation called “Standing Rope From Mini Purse.” Maciek Biezunski (new member — we welcome him) amazed us by having a white rope cut and knotted and magically slid into a blue rope. Phil Gleason (from Ring 45 in Miami now also a new member as he and his wife reside summer and fall months here) astonished us with a rope through neck illusion and flinging knots onto a rope. Randy Vander Wal performed a 20th Century Silk illusion. Ron Carnell closed the show with an excellent Professor’s Nightmare and having the knots magically vanish blending the rope into one.

Tonight was another night of magic and fun. We thank all the performers and those who attended. Ring 211 is delighted that Grand Rapids is the host city of the 2018 I.B.M. Convention! It will be “grand!”

Ring 211 April 2017 Report

Our April workshop was presented by MagicBob Zoerman with a few insights from his wife SuZie. MagicBob and Suzie just came back from their twelfth trip to India. They went with Joseph and Vilma White (Joe is a balloon artist), Rik and Sue Reuter (Rik being a clown and ventriloquist), Bruce Elliott (magician), and James Shipman (magician). They were divided into three teams and toured cities in India as part of a mission trip. MagicBob performed magic and SuZie impressed the masses with her artwork which included her chalk art. The crew performed 125 shows to an estimated audience of 75,000 people. They did this from January 28 to February 21. MagicBob and SuZie visited the following cities in Tamil Nadu, India: Chennai, Danishpet, Coimbatore, Erode, Gobi, Salem, Vellore, Ranipet, and Krishnagiri. MagicBob showed us many pictures on a big screen of their performances, the places visited, the audiences (elementary school to high school to university students, including nursing students, and churches), and the culture. MagicBob even came back with a tailored-made cassock for his preaching here (MagicBob is also an ordained minister). They came back with many artifacts and had these on display. While in India, they also handed out a children’s book by Carol Clark, mission coins, and solar Bibles. MagicBob concluded the presentation with a rope through body illusion. We thank both MagiBob and SuZie for sharing their recent journey to India.

Tonight’s program was Money Magic. Jeff Brodrick performed a coin prediction he calls “Predictable Change.” A selection of coins are pictured on large cards which are randomly mixed. A number and position are given by the spectator and the prediction matches the chosen coin. John Sterlini (Sterlini Magic) from Ring 386 visited from Colon, Michigan. He performed “Trapdoor Dollar” which was put out by MagicBob Zoerman many years prior. John also performed a string and ring routine. Hank Slagter impressed us with a coin prediction involving many people taking a coin from a bag full of coins. Hank successfully determined who had which type of coin. Randy Vander Wal performed a silver dollar and penny transformation from his hand into a spectator’s. Oddly, enough the penny grew to the size of the silver dollar. MagicBob Zoerman performed Slowburn with a money clip, Holy Moley, and produced a coin from the air. Marc Denton presented a nice truth or lie coin routine. Dennis Favreau amazed us by having a coin melt through his shirt and the coin to melt inside the face of a cell phone and then slide out. Ron Carnell closed the show with a Three-Fly routine.

Another fun magical night! Thanks to all our performers. The I.B.M. 2018 Convention is July 4 through 7, 2018 in Grand Rapids! It will be grand!

Ring 211 March 2017 Report

Our March workshop was presented by Jeff Brodrick. He showed us a video segment of Lennart Green performing his typical routine in which Jeff saw at Tannen’s. Very entertaining.

Tonight was Comedy Night. Ring President P. J. Weber was the emcee. Jeff Brodrick magically tied two ropes together as he placed them in a bag. The result was the famous “TIDE” gag. Gary Laundre’ had a person select a card. He put on some medical equipment and had a lead vest to protect from the so-called radiation. A wiener on a stick was used as well as a toy cat as part of what he was calling a “cat scan.” The result was a picture of the person’s brain and within the picture was the image of the playing card. Dr. Jack performed what he called “Triple Deception.” This routine is from Card Shark. Gil Scott demonstrated some poker hands and shared with us some Texas Hold’em in which he used a flash light from his cell phone to see the image of two chosen cards which magically changed. Jerry Herdegen shared a few stories from the past when he used to perform a little magic in his clown shows. He told us how he had funny situations which developed from audience members and then he made sure to have these situations repeated in every show. P. J. Weber, Dennis Favreau, and Dave Bogdan also shared some stories.

Another night of magic and fun. A thanks to all the performers.

Ring 211 February 2017 Report

Jeff Brodrick presented our February workshop. This may be the fifth in the series of TV magic history from him. Jeff set up his computer to the large viewing screen so we could enjoy the following: Sid Caesar as Houdini Von Hoffmier in a 1956 episode of “Shows of Shows” with Carl Reiner, Red Skelton with Jerry Lewis (“Red Skelton Show,” September 4, 1970), Joseph Gabriel on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” March 6, 1991, and a segment of Lance Burton on his own special in 1996.

The program tonight was Barnyard Magic. Members had to perform a trick or routine involving the use of related items which one could find on a farm. Marcus Denton, a new member, performed his “Battle of The Cow Shed.” This was a mental prediction involving which animal guarded which pasture. Jeff Brodrick followed with another matching prediction which his predicted colored egg matched the colored egg chosen between Kathy Herdegen and Sara Wehr and then vice versa. MagicBob Zoerman not only impressed us but surprised us by vanishing an egg in his hand (must not have been boiled) and had it reappear from his jacket pocket as fried. Ring president P. J. Weber took a robin’s egg and performed a “two in one hand and three in pocket” routine. The climax was none as a miniature nun.

Tonight was another night of magic and fun. A thanks to Jeff for the workshop and all who performed. Remember, Michigan Magic Day (48th edition) is hosted by Ring 211 on Saturday, May 20, right here in Grand Rapids at Grace Bible College! Yes, there is even a Friday Night Before Party. Check out the talent line-up, all the details, and one can register on-line at Talent includes Dan Harlan, Rick Merrill, Eric Ross, Jonathon LaChance, Trino, Jesse Shira, Brad Lancaster, and Maciek. Early bird registration is $40.00 (savings of $10.00). All-day dealer room, three lectures, a close-up show, and a gala show makes the magic day!