Larry Grey???

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observer
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Larry Grey???

Postby observer » February 18th, 2016, 10:50 pm

"Larry Grey was possibly the greatest card performer who ever lived." - Dai Vernon, Genii May 1970.

Yikes.

Thoughts, anybody?

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: Larry Grey???

Postby Brad Jeffers » February 19th, 2016, 1:26 am

Here's a clip with Larry Grey from the movie Mr. Celebrity ~ 1941.

Brad Henderson
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Re: Larry Grey???

Postby Brad Henderson » February 19th, 2016, 2:05 am

well that's a hell of a top change.

larry crrated probably the best version of the cards across many of us will see.

Bill Mullins
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Re: Larry Grey???

Postby Bill Mullins » February 19th, 2016, 9:26 am

Thanks for the link -- you don't see much card magic like that from that far back.

It looked like he was throwing the card during the top change.

So the "can you tell one card from the other" gag is 75 years old.

FWIW, the cards across routine of which Brad speaks is in "Further Inner Secrets of Card Magic".

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Joe Pecore
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Re: Larry Grey???

Postby Joe Pecore » February 19th, 2016, 9:42 am

Bill Mullins wrote:So the "can you tell one card from the other" gag is 75 years old.

Didn't he use the "No the CLEAN finger" gag too?
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Bill Mullins
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Re: Larry Grey???

Postby Bill Mullins » February 19th, 2016, 9:46 am

No, it was too overused even back then.


Harry Stanley in Magigram, 1983:
'Larry', by the way, was Larry Grey who, billed as 'The Dizzy Wizard' worked the halls in England during the 1939-45 War with a terrific magical impression act. He produced a Glass of Wine in the character of film star Stan Laurel, Jimmy Durante ooing the Vanishing Bird Cage, famous actor George Arliss doing the Burnt And Restored Paper Strip, followed by famous American comedian Ed Wynne explaining how it was done; Cardini doing his incredible Card Manipulations and a Drunk performing the Cigarette From Nowhere. If anybody did an act like that today they'd be on a real winner!

observer
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Re: Larry Grey???

Postby observer » February 19th, 2016, 10:47 am

I remember reading a brief description of that act, although not in Magigram, maybe Hugard's.

You'd think there would be books/articles/anecdotes aplenty about a guy Vernon would say that about.

Ted M
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Re: Larry Grey???

Postby Ted M » February 19th, 2016, 11:31 am

David Ben writes about Gray in his biography of Dai Vernon.

When Vernon came to New York in 1916 he met Larry Gray on Coney Island. They shared a booth where Gray pitched slum magic tricks and Vernon cut silhouettes.

In May 1926, Larry Gray returned to New York after six years in California. Gray was one of the unsung stars of variety entertainment. A superb mimic, perhaps the greatest mimic that Vernon ever saw, he had developed a finely honed comedy act in which he impersonated famous celebrities such as WC Fields, Ed Wynn and Will Rogers as they performed magic tricks. His impersonations were uncanny, and the tricks that each character performed were equally astounding. Although he played some big-time houses on the West Coast, he often supplemented his income by cutting silhouettes, having learned the trade from Vernon at Coney Island.

When Vernon and Gray reconnected, it was as though Gray had never left New York. They would stay out all hours of the night discussing magic and performing card tricks...
(pp. 118-9)

In summer of 1926, Vernon and Gray rented a storefront on Broadway between 53rd and 54th streets, ostensibly to make money cutting silhouettes. But it became a magicians' hangout and they (or at least Vernon) eventually spent more time doing card tricks in the back than cutting silhouettes up front.

David Ben tells a great story in the bio about Cardini, freshly arrived in New York and hoping to make it big with his card manipulation act. He accidentally encounters Vernon and Gray operating their silhouette shop, who offhandedly dazzle him with world-class backpalming and tell him everybody in the city does it just as well as they do.

Gray obviously had technical skills -- he was considered by Sphinx columnist Max Holden as a member of New York's so-called "Inner Circle" at that time along with Vernon, Al Baker, Sam Horowitz, Arthur Finley, Jud Cole, Wallace Gavin, Cliff Green, Nate Leipzig, Allan Shaw -- but notice in the original poster's quote that Vernon particularly praised Gray's ability to perform those card tricks so well, which is a whole additional layer of skill.

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erdnasephile
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Re: Larry Grey???

Postby erdnasephile » February 19th, 2016, 2:59 pm

Sounds like an in-depth article on Larry Grey and his magic would make a great read!

performer
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Re: Larry Grey???

Postby performer » December 28th, 2016, 3:45 pm

Coincidentally, I have just been reading about Larry Grey lately. I had no idea that he sadly committed suicide. It seems that his wife stated afterwards that he was depressed that he "was washed up in showbusiness"

Not an easy business. Sometimes with a lot of the bragging going on among entertainers you don't always realise it is often all show and no business.

Brian Hebert
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Re: Larry Grey???

Postby Brian Hebert » December 28th, 2016, 7:55 pm

Has anyone ever seen the documentary Oldtimer's Night?
Grey supposedly does 15 minutes of card magic. I've been looking with no luck.

HocoPoco
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Re: Larry Grey???

Postby HocoPoco » March 28th, 2017, 7:23 pm

BTW, Vernon stated that Grey had the finest single card back palm he'd ever seen. You could wager and never know if he had a card or not as he performed the usual front/back display.

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Re: Larry Grey???

Postby performer » March 28th, 2017, 7:52 pm

performer wrote:Coincidentally, I have just been reading about Larry Grey lately. I had no idea that he sadly committed suicide. It seems that his wife stated afterwards that he was depressed that he "was washed up in showbusiness"

Not an easy business. Sometimes with a lot of the bragging going on among entertainers you don't always realise it is often all show and no business.


Odd that this thread has been brought up again and I see this comment of mine in light of events and topics that we have been discussing here more recently. It doesn't matter a toss how good you are when there are deeper issues beneath the surface. It happens again and again and again.


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