THE MIDNIGHT MOVE
Roger writes of his first meeting with Michael Skinner in Hollywood and how they went to lunch and sessioned, losing track of the time. Michael was late returning to work and Roger was late returning to his family. Although he was worried about his job, when they got back, Michael still stopped for a moment to talk to Wanda and charm her, taking the edge off her having to wait for Roger to arrive.
Smiling, he shook her hand and said, "You must be Wanda...Roger has told me so much about you..." He charmed her so much, as a matter of fact, that even though they'd just met, Roger helped Michael move from his apartment at midnight that night. Even though he wasn't supposed to be out that late, Roger and Michael ended up sessioning all night and Roger didn't get back to his hotel until after six the next morning. Wanda never complained.
THE GREAT CHASE was an entertaining moment where Roger, Michael and Roger's life-long friend, Jerry Winn, got in one car while Vernon, Charlie Miller and Faucett Ross were in another. They were traveling from town to town and were to meet at the end of the turnpike. Well, Roger, Mike and Jerry got to the tollboth and asked if a white Cadillac had come through. The toll taker said no. Looking around, they saw no sign of Vernon, Miller and Ross, so they worried that they may have become lost on the way.
They turned around and got back on the toll road going the other direction, and a little way down, they saw the white Cadillac heading to the end of the highway they just left. So, they traveled a little way further and found a place to cross the median and turn around. Driving in their original direction now, they looked ahead to see if they could spot Vernon's car, but suddenly saw the white Cadillac on the OTHER side of the road heading back up. Vernon must have asked the toll taker if he'd seen Roger's car and the toll taker told him they'd turned around.
There was no place here for Roger to turn around, so they got to the gate again, paid the toll a second time and got back on going the other way...only to see the white Cadillac by this time had turned around across the median and STILL was on the opposite side of the road heading toward the end again. Eventually, everyone caught up with each other and managed to finish their trip.
THE KEY RING HOAX: Roger is known to sometimes play jokes on his friends, and one time he and a friend were visiting Michael Skinner in his apartment. Michael Skinner performed a very nice version of the linking rings to music for them. He showed three genuine rings, had them examined and then in the act of bending over to turn on the music, switched in other rings to do the routine. Afterwards, while turning the sound system off, he switched the rings again and tossed the three honest rings on the couch, which had a very dark fabric.
Mike then said he had to go upstairs to get ready and left the room. Roger's friend, who'd enjoyed the routine very much, also left the room for a moment. Well, Roger knew where Michael kept all his incidentals, like scissors, paper clips and whatnot, so he went to the drawer and found some black electrical tape. Taking about a 1/2 inch narrow piece, he put it on one of the rings on the couch and carefully laid them back down.
When his friend came back in the room, Roger put his fingers over his mouth and whispered excitedly, "Look! The key! It's popped open!" His friend looked down and saw a huge gap in one of the rings. Roger picked it up and said, "It's a locking one." As he handled it, he stole off the piece of tape and said, "Oh, shoot! I locked it again!"
He handed it to his friend, who searched frantically for a gap or seam...or anything. There was nothing to be found. About that time, Michael was coming back downstairs, so Roger's friend ran to the couch and set the ring down where it was, but he was dying to look at it some more, convinced that he'd just seen the most perfectly machined locking key ever manufactured.
THE CHINESE RICE FAUX PAS refers to a time Roger, Michael Skinner, Chuck Smith and a few other magicians met in Lubbock, Texas for a get-together.
At that time, a local magic enthusiast owned a Chinese restaurant, so he persuaded the group to come to his place for dinner. The owner also commissioned a local photographer to help video the magic, which would be a keepsake for him.
Well, when they arrived, they found that the owner had pulled out all the stops, bringing in all his staff and opening the restaurant at a time it would normally have been closed, serving all the magicians a beautiful seven-course meal.
One of the people eating was the photographer/videographer, a dowdy woman who never said a word and sat between Roger and Michael at the table. The staff began bringing out the food with fantastic presentations, including a huge container of rice. Roger describes it as being as big around as a bushel.
He was busy getting other food for his plate, so he passed the rice to the lady sitting next to him with the intent of getting his portion later. On the other side of this lady, Michael waited for the rice to come his way. But the lady didn't pass the container on. She just set it in front of her and started eating -- directly from the bowl. She never looked up, looked right, or looked left.
Michael glanced over at her and even exchanged looks with Roger, but being too much of a gentleman to say anything, he simply put his hands in his lap until other food came his way. Everybody passed the food around her as she sat there eating the rice, and she ate every single bit of it. Roger was astounded. There was enough rice there for ten people.
After dinner, everyone moved to another table where the restaurant owner sat while Chuck, Michael and Roger did some magic for him on camera. Roger said Chuck and Michael both did the most wonderful things, including many items he'd never seen. Roger couldn't wait to get his copy of the movie so he could enjoy and study them.
There was brilliant magic with cards and coins and handkerchiefs and balls...the session lasted the rest of the afternoon with the camera running the whole time. The dowdy rice-eating lady filmed the entire thing. The restaurant owner was excited and enthralled with the magic and spoke of his anticipation of owning the memory on video.
Later, everyone received their copies of the event. Being a professional photographer specializing in portraits, the lady did well. The camera was focused tightly on each magician -- from the shoulders up. When they moved, the camera followed them perfectly, keeping shoulders and head wonderfully framed.
For the entire length of the video, well over two and a half hours, there was not a playing card, coin or ball to be seen, although you knew they were there. There was no trace of the restaurant owner or his reactions, although you could hear him. What was there were many wonderful shots of Chuck, Michael and Roger...at least...their faces.