Del Ray?

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Postby Guest » 08/21/02 01:12 PM

I come across the name of 'Del Ray' from time to time. He always seems to be mentioned with the greatest respect and admiration. I get the impression he stays away from magicians to preserve his creative output as his own. He is someone I've wanted to see for many years now, but really know nothing about other than his reputation as being a creative and fine performer. I'm curious if he will ever leave any written or visual record of his work.

Can anyone provide any info on the man?

Thanks.
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Postby jimmycards » 08/21/02 06:17 PM

I once performed a "cheating at blackjack" routine for Ed Marlo. He asked me if I ever saw Del Ray's routine. I said no. Ed said he had a routine where the deck was shuffled and he would play with a group of spectators and he would always get 21. Not blackjack all the time but he would get to a count of 21. I've since come up with a method to do it, but at the time it was fascinating to think about.
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Postby Guest » 08/21/02 06:21 PM

It looks like no one responded to you regarding Del Ray! Shame! Del was and as far as I know still is one of the most amazing and entertaining magicians I have had the luck to see. I've only seen him perform close up, but know that he had an equally amazing stage show. Please correct me if I'm wrong, anybody, but he lives in Pittsburgh and is now semi-retired. He has incredible skill, most of what I've seen has been with cards, doing "real work" gambling routines. He also has an amazing variety of "mechanical" magic featuring routines that are his alone. His requirements were such that he did not travel by plane, limiting his scope of performance. I don't want to tip too much, better for you to try to find a videotape somewhere and see him for yourself. My understanding is that he is not interested in passing along his secrets to magicians as a whole. I believe he comes from a time when secrets really were secret (he was an assistant for Blackstone Sr.) He has also had some bad experiences with jerks trying to rip him off. Fortunately, his work is so distinctive that rip-offs are easily spotted. Maybe my post will generate others. Del Ray is a treasure and every magic should know who he is and what a great performer he is IMHO.
:D
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Postby John Pezzullo » 08/22/02 04:24 AM

Del Ray was featured in a single page "Spotlight" that was published in "Genii" back in the mid-1990s. If you're interested I'll locate the issue in which the "Spotlight" was published and give you the month and and year of the issue.

A description of Del Ray's stage act was published in an old Magic Inc. publication. If you're interested I can locate and supply the necessary reference.

Regards,

John
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Postby Terry » 08/22/02 04:51 AM

Del Ray has performed at 2 conventions while I was living in Florida. He was without a doubt PHENOMINAL. The most realistic magic I've seen performed.

I believe he is late 80's early 90's and get this, he hated flying and would drive himself everywhere. He would not let anyone carry his props even though I heard they weighed a ton. At the last Fla State I attended in Orlando, Del tried to do his stage act also, but something was messing with his apparatus. After his act, he fell into a coughing fit backstage. When the episode ended, he intended to pack up and drive straight home that night! The organizers told him he would be staying overnight to rest and if he refused, they would confiscate his keys to prevent him from leaving for fear of his health.

Re video - I've heard that Del Ray would not allow his act to be video'd as he didn't want copycats. I also heard there was a scumbag who hired him for private parties and cowardly video'd the shows without Del knowing. Typical.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/22/02 08:13 AM

Del Ray is in his seventies, but his bad heart makes him look much older.
The videos that are floating around are from the Tannen Jubilee.
The guy that hired Del Ray for a private show DID tape everything, then he had the entire act built and tried to perform it at the Magic Castle, from which he got booted after the first few shows.
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Postby Roy McIlwee » 08/22/02 09:39 AM

Richard, I have a copy of that video of Del Ray at the Tannens Jubilee and the performance was priceless. He was doing his act for the Tannen regulars and had them gasping at his dice routine. He used Dick Cavett as a spectator and many of the onlookers could be seen wiping the tears from their eyes from laughing so hard. And to think that this was just a warm up!! Too bad nobody ever took over that act. Roy McIlwee.
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Postby Randy DiMarco » 08/22/02 10:20 AM

There is also video of Del performing his act at a FFFF convention sometime in the mid 80's, however I don't think this tape has gotten around.
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Postby Mitch Dutton » 08/22/02 12:59 PM

Hey guys - it seems we are always looking for bits of tape and performances that were never commercially available or pre-date home video. Over at Magicauction.com they have instituted a new service - video swapping! Check it out - this could become a 'clearing house' of sorts for people like me who have some clips to share for some clips I don't have! I've already found some I want and will be listing mine shortly. Hey - I'd LOVE to see Del Ray! --Mitch
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Postby Mitch Dutton » 08/22/02 01:32 PM

Here's the link -
www.magicauction.com/Preserving Magic On TV/Index.html

--Mitch
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Postby Guest » 08/22/02 02:45 PM

If I'm not mistaken, Del now resides in Florida. He is without doubt the finest performing magician alive today! Years back while the late Eddie Fechter was still operating the Forks Hotel, Del would occasionally "pop" in on the off nights....ahhhh, the memories!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/22/02 05:20 PM

Mike,
Del still lives in Pittsburgh. Paul Gertner spoke to him at home a few weeks ago.
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Postby Guest » 08/22/02 09:07 PM

My thanks to all of you who have posted responses to my query here, as well as to those who may yet do so.

John Pezzullo : Yes, I would indeed appreciate it if you could provide further reference to the two publications you cited. Thank you.
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Postby Pete Biro » 08/23/02 11:07 PM

The "Gentleman" that copied Del Ray's act copied the props... but no one... NO ONE... NO BODEEEE... could ever do Del.

One of the most original, creative, INSANELY BAFFLING close up performers of all time.

We (the olde IBM committee) had to good fortune of being able to book him and spend time with him. His effects, routines, premises and presentation were one of a kind.

What a treat to have seen him work several times.

:cool: :cool: :cool:
Stay tooned.
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Postby John Pezzullo » 08/24/02 01:45 AM

once a magician,

The articles about Del Ray that I referred to previously can be found in:

- "Genii" (August 1994)
- "Ireland's Yearbook for 1954"

If you'd like to purchase a copy of the latter, contact Magic Inc. in Chicago.

Regards,

John
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Postby Nicholas Carifo » 08/28/02 02:14 AM

Del Ray...All I can say is wow.

I had the awesome, humbling pleasure of being asked to open up for Del Ray in 1995 in Youngstown. He was performing his entire stage act for a public banquet show for IBM Ring 2....the IBM Ring that Del always considered "his home" ring, from what I understand -- even tho he lived in Pittsburgh about an hour away.

(I am not certain, but Del might just be from the Youngstown area originally....does anyone out there know...Tom Craven are you out there?)

I was floored that I was going to be appearing on the same stage with a living legend. I will forever remember that night. You see, I grew up in Pittsburgh, and have counted most all of the Pittsburgh magic community as close friends, but all these years... meeting the one and only Del Ray had eluded me. As a kid, I did get to see Del Ray perform his closeup and stage act at the Magi-Fest in the very early 1980's, But he never really associated publically with the magic community...for many reasons, but I would guess mostly that it just wasn't his thing.

Those that do know him well, such as Paul Gertner as mentioned in a previous post, always told me how nice the man was. Stories and tales about Del over the years would always find their way into magic conversations.

Doc Dixon, during his early years as a magic shop demonstrator, used to tell me the stories of Del Ray's visits to the magic shop. Once Del had just driven back to Pittsburgh from a gig in Manhattan, complaining about the crowds, hustle-bustle, and traffic nightmares. Doc says Del quipped, in his unique vocal style remenicent of Jimmy Durante -- "EVERY TIME I WORK NEW YORK I ADD A TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLAR AGGRAVATION FEE!" Hehe, it's little moments like this that formed my vision of the magical legend from my hometown.

And to think the first time I was going to meet him was the night I had to open up for him. Thank god I do a comedy magic act, because no dramatic illusion I could come up with would hold a candle the what was following! It was the most nervous I had ever been before a show, but it went great and I think of that night any time I see the video....of me that is.....Del Ray of course would not allow his act to ever be video taped. He has had problems in the past with pirating of his unique effects.

To my limited knowledge, he comissioned a video made at one point of his act, but he owns it and I do not think he ever released it. I have no idea if he ever plans to release it.
I for one, hope he reconsiders someday. The magic world needs to have a record of one the finest, most theatrical, well-timed, and well-written magic acts ever produced.

Thanks for the magic Del,

Nicholas Carifo
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/16/02 08:39 PM

You see very few magicians who do things that no one else can do: Del Ray is one of them. He has consistently refused to allow any article to be written about him, refused all requests for interviews, refused any offers to do a book, etc. He really just wants to do his magic and be left alone.
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