Mickey O'Malley

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Lisa Cousins
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Mickey O'Malley

Postby Lisa Cousins » October 30th, 2004, 10:02 am

I am charmed by Mickey O'Malley's drawings, especially the turbaned genie who represents all of Genii-dom. I know that, by his own account, he was the last guy out of Cuba at the time of the revolution, and I know that he passed away sometime in 1980, but other than that I only know him through the illustrations. I'd appreciate learning any other details from any such as have some.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Mickey O'Malley

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 30th, 2004, 11:31 am

I've been planning a Mickey O'Malley issue of Genii for some time now.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

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Tabman
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Re: Mickey O'Malley

Postby Tabman » October 30th, 2004, 8:04 pm

Richard Kaufman reveals to Lisa: I've been planning a Mickey O'Malley issue of Genii for some time now.
That should be a good one. Like Lisa, I love his drawings too. They have a happy slant to them; something positive about the way he drew things.
-=tabman

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Re: Mickey O'Malley

Postby Guest » October 31st, 2004, 7:51 am

Mickey O'Malley (Michael Ostaski) was a cool guy I met at Tannen't here in NYC in the early 1970's along with his then girlfriend Jackie Reynolds. He usually hung out with Frank Garcia who held court there almost every day. Mickey (his knickname to his close friends was 'Mickolovitch')lived on East 21st Street but always complained of the poor plumbing in the old building and was planning to move to Garcia's building on 200 West 55th Street. For whatever reason, he moved to California instead. His sister Gloria I think became an airline stewardess and got remarried.

Mickey was a great artist but also made a good living doing hand inserts for magazines and TV commercials. He would arrive at the date with two large buckets. He filled one with cold water and the other hot water. In front of the film crew, he would dip his hands alternately in the buckets to condition his hands. The crew just stared transfixed. I wish I had a video tape!

Mickey was on the cover of the October 1966 issue of Genii magazine with a 12 page article entitled "Welcome to Mickey O'Malleyland."

He hung out at and partied at the Penn Plaza bar on 29th Street and Eighth Ave which is still in existance but the type of clientele it attracts is totally different.

Unfortunately he died at the young age of fifty in June of 1980.

Michael Edwards
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Re: Mickey O'Malley

Postby Michael Edwards » October 31st, 2004, 8:21 am

Ah..."tricky Mickey"....you might also want to take a look at the subchapter on Mickey in Chuck Romano's The Art of Deception: The Affinity Between Conjuring and Art.

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Re: Mickey O'Malley

Postby Guest » October 31st, 2004, 12:29 pm

After Mickey came to Hollywood I saw much of him at the Castle as I was there almost every night. I believe that at one time his mother was living in the area as I have a distinct memory of meeting here at the Castle.

As art director of Genii Mickey instituted the idea of the circular area for the cover photograph. In those days I did quite a few covers for Genii. did you ever try to compose a portrait for a circular setting. If you do a profile it looks like a coin. If you do a full face of a person with a round face it looks like a cartoon. I used various tricks of lighting. When we parted in an evening Mickey would always say to me:
Go take round pictures.

A good artist, a good drinking companion.

10/31/04

Lisa Cousins
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Re: Mickey O'Malley

Postby Lisa Cousins » October 31st, 2004, 5:17 pm

"Welcome to Mickey O'Malleyland" - what a great title! Richard, I hope you're considering calling the forthcoming issue "Welcome to Mickey O'MalleyWorld," or perhaps "Euro'Malley."

He really did have his own little world there - one with a "happy slant," as -=tabman put it. I was just looking at his instructions for making a napkinfold character called "Hindustan":

"It's really amazing how many nice people you can meet when you prepare a novel little give-away like our friend, STAN. By following the above drawings, step-by-step, you will see how easily he will take shape. Face and beard can be filled in afterward with a ball-point pen. GLAD YOU LIKE HIM!!!"

Could magic instructions possibly come any cheerier than that?

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Tabman
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Re: Mickey O'Malley

Postby Tabman » October 31st, 2004, 7:12 pm

Originally posted by tonga: When we parted in an evening Mickey would always say to me: "Go take round pictures.
Ya'll keep it up with the Mickey stories. His artwork always made me feel good. Those fat pen strokes and the way lines would have a little flair at the end. His illustrations said Magic. It's great to hear a little about the person behind them and to hear from his friends.

"Go take round pictures!!!" Simple and with a little twist at the end. I love that!!!

-=tabman

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Re: Mickey O'Malley

Postby Guest » December 6th, 2004, 8:22 am

Hi Lisa:
Missed your O'Malley piece when it first appeared. I knew Mickey ons ago in Detroit. I lost touch when he moved east/west; he was a native of the Detroit area, and a protege of Karrell Fox, and old pal. I first met him in the days when Harold Sterling had a shop in Detroit, which, at one time or another, employed both Karrell and Mickey. He was good guy, good company and I, too, look forward to Richard's GENII issue devoted to him.

Lisa Cousins
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Re: Mickey O'Malley

Postby Lisa Cousins » December 6th, 2004, 10:46 am

Hi, Jim,

It's tough for any of us to keep in touch when a friend moves east/west - we just don't know where to look for them.

It sounds like Mickey O'Malley's real-world personality squared (or rounded) with the pen-and-ink version of himself, although the image I have of him going around continuously spreading good cheer with clever napkinfolds is probably exaggerated.

I owe a good deal of thanks, too, to Chuck Romano for taking the bother to copy and send me the Mickey O'Malley chapter from his book The Art of Deception. Most interesting! (And generous!) Apparently Mickey O'Malley's hands appeared in some 10,000 advertisements, so it's a sure bet that many of us have seen them, unawares.

Lisa Cousins
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Re: Mickey O'Malley

Postby Lisa Cousins » April 6th, 2007, 8:21 am

I am resurrecting this thread to report an interesting happenstance. Last night we had the Ron London lecture here in Albuquerque, and he showed a little routine with a rope and a vase which was designed to demonstrate that a little genie lived in the vase. At the break I was talking to one of the other club members, and I suggested that it would be fun to use Mickey O'Malley's illustration of a genie with the trick, to give that unseen character an interesting personality.

When the lecture was over and people were mingling about, I struck up a conversation with an attendee I'd never seen before, and when I asked for his name he said "Michael Ostaski." It was Mickey O'Malley's son! He is my townsman.

And not only that, Mickey O'Malley's mother lives here too - at age 106!

Mark Collier
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Re: Mickey O'Malley

Postby Mark Collier » April 6th, 2007, 10:32 am

Lisa,
That is so cool! Tell him I said "Hi!". Does he still have his housetruck? Is he still doing his airbrush art? He used to live in Santa Barbara. He is a great guy, artist, musician and designer/builder.

I have often wondered what happened to him. It's good to hear he still around.

Mark Collier

Lisa Cousins
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Re: Mickey O'Malley

Postby Lisa Cousins » April 6th, 2007, 1:35 pm

Hi, Mark. Michael Ostaski has got a really unusual and unique art/performance act going now, where he goes on stage with a large canvas and a bunch of paints, and in six minutes creates a finished work of art before the very eyes of the assemblage. You can see what he's been up to here:

Michael\'s Page

If you click into his biography, you can see some pictures of his fabled housetruck from there. I didn't (know enough to) ask if he's living in it.

He said that he was encouraged in art and discouraged from magic, and it's only been in the past six months or a year that he became curious about his father's activities in the world of magic. Hence his attendance at this lecture.

You can also see his "Art Explosion" in action by clicking into the "Art Explosion" tab from here:

Michael in Action

I'll certainly let him know you said hello next time I cross paths with him!

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Re: Mickey O'Malley

Postby Guest » May 30th, 2007, 8:37 pm

I only now found this thread:
By pure conicidence, I was JUST-recently admiring 3 versions of the Genii--they were different every year, as you know...
I was looking at issues: October '75 (Allen Okawa), January '77 (Sawa), and February '78 (Doug Henning--which included many great photos of Doug's latest t.v. special by Mr. Biro :D )

Certain elements from my youth make me grin. Mr. O'Malley's drawings are high on that list.

I am an artist. I can and DO draw. That dude could DRAW.

Viva Mickey O'Malley!! :whack: :D

Lisa Cousins
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Re: Mickey O'Malley

Postby Lisa Cousins » May 31st, 2007, 11:13 am

I saw Michael Ostaski, aka Mickey O'Malley, Jr., on Monday. He showed (actually, loaned) me a bound volume of Genii (Volume 29) which is inscribed to his father by Bill Larsen:

"To Mickey, The greatest thing that has happened to Genii in 29 years."

I really don't see that as any kind of exaggeration.


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