Magician on Letterman

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.

Postby Bill Mullins » 09/30/04 09:48 PM

Oct 1 2004 -- Jason Randal
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Postby Guest » 10/02/04 12:38 AM

Just saw Jason. He looked fine.

Amazing that they'd have him on to do cards, and they didn't have a felt table, just did everything at that awkward desk and chair and in his hands, nowhere to dump things, no special preparations made.

Did Richard Gere get him on the Letterman show? Jason told the audience that he did three movies with Gere, and Gere was the first guest on the show.

Anyway, it's good to see a magician on late-night TV again....

Postby Guest » 10/02/04 06:42 AM

And, I think that Letterman really went out of his way to pump up Jason's appearance before he went out. I thought that was pretty nice of Dave.

It is nice to see magic on a regular network show for a change!

Postby Steve Mills » 10/02/04 08:20 AM

After seeing the way Letterman acted when David Roth was on the show, I was shocked at the nice treatment he gave Jason last night.

Having to work in those conditions made it much more like the situations many of us face. I thought the choice of material was very good for this type of show.

Life is tough. It's tougher if you're stupid.. – John Wayne
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Postby Countelmsley » 10/02/04 09:39 AM

I didnt see the letterman show, unfortunately, but I did see david Roth when he was on a few years ago. Quite a few years ago, actually! And I thought Roth did an excellent job reacting to daves comments. I actually thought Dave (letterman) was pretty funny and didnt give him such a rough time, as opposed to what some people said about it. At one point during chink-a-chink, after the first coin changed corners, Letterman covered a coin with his tie and asked Roth if he ever made a coin move invisibly that way, to which Roth responded without missing a beat, "I used to" . It got a big laugh. It did kinda screw up the timing, though. But Letterman did get a big kick out of the trick. Roth also did "Flying eagles" which was also great. The reaction on lettermans face was priceless. At one point, he said,"Now, Im really on to the guy!". It was gooood tv.
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Postby Adrian Kuiper » 10/02/04 01:36 PM

I watched Letterman this morning....rather I fast-forwarded to the Jason part. The working environment was terrible. Had a corner of Dave's desk. Letterman is like the little kid at the birthday're waiting for him to grab something. Fortunately he didn't last night. His only interruption to the routines was an inane conversation with Shaefer.
Jason was smooth....I'm going to watch it again 'cause I really enjoyed some of the effects. I'll cull the magic part and drop it to the PC.

I agree with's great to see a magician back on late-night TV.

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Postby Curtis Kam » 10/02/04 05:03 PM

You have to go back and watch the Richard Gere interview just before Jason Randall comes on. Gere goes out of his way to tell the story of how, when they first met, Randall took him by the wrists, and then handed him back his watch.

Thanks a bunch, buddy. I figure Randall spent the next few moments rewriting his whole set. When he did come out to perform, he seemed to be rushed. He did not steal any watches. Good thing, too, since the watch steal was the first thing Letterman mentioned after Randall was done. Clearly it was on his mind.
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Postby Guest » 10/02/04 06:43 PM

Anybody know where the last trick he preformed

came from ( in print ) or what it is called

( manufactured effect )I likes it and also the

sliding of the card under the other card inspired

me to something else . A pseudo demonstration of

hand mucking ......Mike...... :help:

Postby Guest » 10/02/04 06:57 PM

He might not have been what some would consider "good", but anyone who can make a huge crowd give a collective gasp has got to have something going for him.
I didn't think he was that great, and I guess that's because I knew what moves he was doing, but I loved the reaction he created with the audience and to me, that's the whole reason I enjoy magic: to get a good reaction from people and give them some sense of enjoyment, wonder, or at least, curiosity. I've never seen the guy before or heard of him and it made me think about how many others there may be out there who have the skills that kill.

Postby Bill Duncan » 10/02/04 07:38 PM

The last trick was Paul Harris' ReSet, I believe he was using Greg Wilson's handling.

I personally was a bit appalled that he either on purpose or by accident exposed the Houdini change, the classic palm with cards and the pinky break.

But that's just me...
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Postby Frank Yuen » 10/02/04 07:56 PM

I didn't see last night's performance but Jason Randal has his own variation of Reset in his book, Magic for Professionals .

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 10/02/04 08:01 PM

As Frank points out, the 21 theme is Jasons. He published it in 1982 in his book, Magic for Professionals. The basic handling is Earl Nelsons version of Paul Harris Re-Set (Re-Set Re-Set) from Variations. Of course, the whole thing stems from a Bro. John Hamman premise.

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Postby Guest » 10/02/04 09:16 PM

Is there a possibility of getting the video of that on the site somewhere?

I would have liked to have seen it but could not.

Postby Ryan Matney » 10/03/04 11:04 AM

There's a lot better magicians that could be on tv and get good audience reaction. Who booked this guy? I've never heard of him and he was terrible.
He missed the erdnase transformation 3 times and was using cards that looked like they had been dipped in water. How was that smooth?
Sorry, I didn't like it.
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Postby Robert Kane » 10/03/04 11:37 AM

I thought Jason Randal was good in tough conditions. He should be applauded for keeping Letterman on his side and for getting excellent audience reactions.

Like Bill Duncan I did not like the sucker exposure of a palm to effect a color change.

Also, I thought it was not the best choice to close with a version of Harris' Re-set. It's a complicated routine and seemed lost on the audience.

Regardless, it was great to see good close up magic on late night TV. Hope there will be more to come.

Congrats to Jason Randal! :)
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 10/03/04 12:19 PM

Jeff: No, we do not post videos on this site, sorry.

Ryan: I would be lying if I said that I thought Jason was at his best given the circumstances (and no, I do not know the man, so I am not coming to the defense of a friend), but I dont think that he was terrible. I think the primary problem was that he may have been out of his elementdangerous for any magician no matter how talented. I have had the opportunity to hear a few peoplebig nameswho have been on The Tonight Show and Letterman talk about the shear terror of the experience. And I can recall seeing Doug Henning, more than once, shaking like a leaf in the wind while performing at the desk for Johnny Carson. Yet, when he would appear on Dinah or Merv, etc. he was fine.

Jason Randal has been around a long time and is a fine magician. He holds a PhD in psychology (he authored and published The Psychology of Deception in 1982, as well as the aforementioned Magic for Professionals). He also has a black belt in Karate, which is how he was introduced to magic: Paul Green was one of his students. Jason is also an answer to a trivia question: Who is the magician who appears in the opening sequence of the Richard Gere/Julia Roberts film, Pretty Woman?

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Postby ADG » 10/03/04 02:30 PM

Greetings......Jason was pretty good considering David Letterman can make you feel ill at ease. Case in point, last time I saw Ricky Jay on the Letterman Show; Ricky Jay handled it quite well. Jason had a very noticeable big pinky break for his double lift/turnover get-ready. Harry Lorayne would have been proud! Overall, good audience response......
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Postby Paul Green » 10/04/04 06:30 AM

Dustin said, "Paul Green was one of his students."

This is incorrect. Jason was my student. He and I met in our senior year of college. He is a world class martial artist and he showed me how to defend myself. I showed him how to have a career.

I do not take any credit for his double lift!

Congratulations to Jason on his appearance. Someday, maybe, you will be "skilled" enough to appear on the Letterman show.


Paul Green :D :D :D
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Postby Guest » 10/04/04 09:32 AM

Audience is everything. Too many modern "magicians" are under the misconception that magic can be captured by a camera. Not so. Imagine a David Blaine special with no audience reaction. ;)

When the audience is sweet, we all look very much better than we actually are. When the audience is rough, we all look much poorer than we actually are. I can't think of a rougher audience than a gazillion television viewers and Mr. Letterman. In front of that crowd, I have no doubt that my pinky breaks would widen due to nervousness for safety. In fact, I've adjusted a number of my sleights and routines over the years for "robustness" -- i.e., they might not impress watching magicians so much, but they are much less prone to error.

Congrats, Jason

Postby Bill Hallahan » 10/04/04 11:09 AM

The audience thought he was great.

I thought he was great too.

Of course we saw the methods but clearly the audience didn't so his technique, however imperfect, was good enough. And I also agree he did well under adverse circumstances.

Exposing that cards are palmed didn't bother me. Many non-magicians know that cards are palmed. Even those who don't know that are aware that a hand can cover a card. That's why color changes that use palms always "prove" that the hand that later becomes dirty starts out empty.

If the hand isn't shown empty first, I guarantee the audience will think that a card is behind your hand. It doesn't take any great insight to think that.

Don't worry, I won't expose card palming myself!

I also noticed David Lettermans enthusiasm as opposed to how he was when David Roth was on.
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Postby Jim Riser » 10/04/04 11:24 AM

RE: Palming and the general public

I was at a local wood workers club meeting last Saturday - where they do a 50/50 drawing. Well, the guy drawing the ticket withdrew his own ticket. ALL of the others there jokingly accused him of PALMING his own ticket! I'd say that the concept of palming, as well as, the correct term are fairly well known among at least older males.
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Postby Andy Hurst » 10/04/04 11:36 AM

For those living in the UK (and I think some other parts of Europe get Sky TV), The Late Show is shown on ITV2 at 1:35am and is a day or so behind the US. So we get the show with Jason Randal on it tonight.

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 10/04/04 12:27 PM

Originally posted by Paul Green:
Dustin said, "Paul Green was one of his students."

This is incorrect. Jason was my student.
Paul, I was referring to you being his student in regard to Karate, not magic. I guess I should have made that clearer. According to Jason's book, you two traded lessons, so please don't kick my butt the next time you see me!

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Postby Dave Egleston » 10/04/04 02:29 PM

Originally posted by Doug Peters:
Imagine a David Blaine special with no audience reaction. ;)

?????? You're right - you get what you pay for.

Actually you can see part of the Randal routine if you use AOL - It's part of their "Top 5" picks today (10/4)

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Postby Andrew Martin Portala » 10/05/04 03:09 AM

I didn't not see Jason on Letterman.
However, Jason got on the show. End of story.
It's very hard to get on a show like that.
The producers saw something that they liked.
So great for Jason!! :)
If you want to know more about Jason. Turn off the DVD and find some copies of Genii about ..oh.. early 80's you'll find him in there.
Also so in the book "Enlighten Magicians"
He's been around for a long time.
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Postby Andrew Martin Portala » 10/05/04 03:54 AM

I got to thinking I hope I wasn't to hard on the turning off the DVD thing.
But for you young magicians There's some wonderful books out there and old magazines.
I too love the DVD's but I think, the way to go is books.
Because Jason read books and that's how he got on the Letterman show.I don't know? :D
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Postby MaxNY » 10/08/04 04:44 AM

I was going to keep it secret, but Letterman's crew has been asking about me for weeks. I live deep, deep in the mountains, and my neighbor is Rutee (one of the bologna girls) she said that they were looking to put magician on... and wanted me to send them my promo. Like everything else in my life, I never got around to it.
---Anybody got this on tape? I am willing to trade anything from television/ on DVD for it.
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 10/08/04 04:56 PM

I have this on tape. Send me your address and I'll mail you a copy.

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