Repeat of Jason Randall 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 Steve Hook » 10/29/04 01:48 PM

My TV schedule shows the 10/29 Friday night show to be a repeat of the Richard Gere / Jason Randall show.

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Postby Jim Riser » 10/30/04 12:35 PM

I missed the original show. Thanks for the "heads up", Steve. Jason Randall did an outstanding job on the show. The host is known for being rather difficult to his guests. It was obvious that Jason Randall had done his homework and had primed Letterman for seeing some good magic. Letterman was raving about him from the beginning of the show. And Mr. Randall was no disappointment. His brief appearance is worthy of study - not for what he did; but for how he did it. He came out with a big smile and was liked from the moment he appeared until after he was done. His magic was very entertaining and well done. I digitized this segment for my personal reference as I felt he came across exceptionally well and can serve as an example of how it can be done. :)
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Postby Guest » 10/30/04 12:51 PM

Not to take anything away from Jason Randal, as I know it must have been very hard to perform close up card tricks on national TV, but, the way he did his double lifts were of the kind beginners do it (I know he used this method to make sure there were no separations), and I thought the way he performed Earl Nelson's Resetting Reset was poor. Earl recommends this trick be done slowly, Jason performed it much too fast.
Also, I did not care for the way he opened with exposing a method of palming a card.
I do not think he lived up to Letterman's hype.
If Shoot Ogawa or Earl Nelson had been on Letterman, I think they would have been more effective.
Just my opinion.
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Postby Tabman » 10/30/04 01:44 PM

I thought Jason Randall did a great job. He fooled the crap out of letterman several times. That's got to be nerve wracking sitting on the edge of your chair, letterman buring your hands and the unblinking eye of the camera right down on you. I thought that third and fourth vanish looked especially good. It's good to see some cards on national television.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/30/04 07:26 PM

I agree with Tabby: it's nice to see ANYONE do a damn card trick on TV with some degree of success. I didn't see Jason Randall, but it doesn't really matter.
If he impressed Letterman, then he impressed the viewers at home. That means he might get asked back again, and the door might swing open just the tiniest bit.
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Postby Guest » 10/31/04 12:56 PM

I really didn't care for the segment. I didn't like the way he just demonstrated methods for the tricks. i.e. d***** lift, palming. The version of Reset he did also was not very well performed. His break was like an inch wide. I hate to put anyone down, but I was not impressed.
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Postby Countelmsley » 11/01/04 08:56 PM

A few thoughts; I was a bit disapointed by the performance. I thought the color change was... not exactly what it should have been (to say the least). Reset may have been performed a bit to fast but it did the job. Exposing the palm seemed to me pretty unnecessary. The big finger break did not bother me and probably didnt bother any viewers either. BUT, BUT, BUT lets not forget. The whole performance area was pretty awkward, wasnt it? Anybody would have deserved better. It did not help the performance at all! But as its been said before, it was nice to see some magic on tv. Its just unfortunate for Jason that he came across the way he did; nervous and not at the top of his game. But HE was on tv and I wasnt. So good for him. Sincerely. Who am I to complain? Its all between him and God, isnt it?( Sorry, its the Dr. Wayne Dyer in me, talking!) Over and out.
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Postby Guest » 11/20/04 12:33 AM

Hi Jay, It's Robin
I met Jay ("Jason") when were taking Karate many years ago. We were friends and dated.

I'm not sure, if many people know that Jay is a card carrying genius. He has many professions under his black belt. One day after he had become a deputy sherif he played a trick on me and made me believe he had shot himself, with lots of fake blood!

I knew him just when he was begining to get into magic. One day over lunch, he showed me a trick which I never forgot. He put a penny in his hand, closed it in front of my face. He never moved his hand. He then reopened his empty hand.

I other stories of Jay, but I would like his permission first to tell them.

Jay, if you get to read, this, you can write me back. I became a Private Investigator and live in Sacramento.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/20/04 09:24 AM

tres bizarre ...
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Postby Guest » 11/21/04 07:55 PM

Very interesting to read the opinions of magicians who saw my recent Letterman appearance. I've never read a message forum before I admit that naturally my reactions are mixed. It's tempting to want to defend some of the criticisms-but instead maybe just a few explanations would be interesting.
I met Letterman socially in Martha's Vinyard and spent about a half an hour showing him an assortment of close up mentalism and magic effects. He was apparently impressed and called about two weeks later to schedule me for the show. Somebody wondered if Richard Gere had arranged my appearance since I had done three movies with him but it was just a coincidence that he and I were on together. There was no time on my short segment to set up the harder hitting mentalism that had impressed Letterman. I assume the strong build up he gave me was because of the strong mental stuff he had seen when we had unhurried time together. I agree that nothing I performed lived up to the build up I received, but I appreciated it.
The producers wanted me to come out and get as many tricks in during the five mintues as possible in a sort of machine gun fashion. They wanted something very fast to open and a couple of gambling effects top close. I was instructed to give Dave straight answers if he asked me anything. There were a number of stories I was supposed to be prepared to tell but none of them came up.
Most of the time that we perform a color change we are asked if we are palming the card. I find that almost every layman knows about or thinks he knows about palming, that's why I use it as a sucker set up for the color change-I realize that some magicians think I'm tipping, and I respect that opinion, but I would disagree.
I didn't want to work across my body to the weak side but the producers needed me to do a desk piece and so I adjusted as best I could. I was told that the cameras would shoot from overhead directly down on me and I was not provided with any kind of monitor. I know you could have driven a truck through my finger breaks, but I didn't worry about it because of what I thought the camera angle would be. I know that brilliant artists like Gregory Wilson or Earl Nelson and many others would have done flawless get readys no matter what the camera angle, but I didn't bother at the time. I don't think it mattered to laymen as they didn't know I had a double loaded and I would guess that the breaks didn't register with laymen as significant. I understand the concern of the purists however.
Reset 21 I published in the early 80s as I was inspired by the Earl Nelson routine and while performing it came up with the gambling angle and the 4 blackjack layout at the end. I agree that my redention of it on Letterman was terribly rushed. I agree that it should be done slowly and I have a great set up story that goes with the routine. I noticed I was losing Letterman's attention because we were out of time and the stage manager was making hurried gestures so I blasted through it. Quite frankly I expected them to cut it because we were out of time, and I was surprised to see it stayed.
I also threw away the stack of chips/ quarters. I had some success back in the day with the stack of quarters and I had the poker chips reamed out by Johnson Products years ago to hold 6 quarters. The bare handed vanish instead of a cone is always a nice touch-but my guilty hand was going to be on the right facing the camera so I had a ditching problem. There was no time to do it justice, but they had been set on his desk and I couldn't just leave them, so I made the change and moved on quickly. I have a set up story for the coins across about increasing your bet under the dealer's eye, but no time for that so again it was rushed. Frustrating for me too.
Somebody said I was nervous, which was funny to me but curious that I came across to that magician that way. I love performing, especially on TV and I've never been nervous in my life except perhaps during blackbelt tests for obvious reasons. I was excited and happy to be on. One friend said I should not have smiled so much, but I was having a good time.
Television appearances have never made or broken my living as a magicians so I just decided to go on and have a good time. I used to worry so much about what magicians at the Castle would say that I did very very risky stuff on TV, often with no net. I used to put a set together as if I were performing for magicians instead of a television audience-and magicians were never terribly supportive afterwards so now that I'm older I decided not to worry about it. Ironically here I am answering magicians' criticisms. Guess some things never change.
So I agree that I rushed through the effects. Somebody mentioned that maybe I should have done just one or two hard hitting things and I would have loved that, but it's not what the show producers wanted. I agree about the finger breaks-who wouldn't, but I don't think they mattered to anybody except my fellow magicians-I would have been more vigilant if I had known that they completely changed the camera angle from the rehearsal to the taping.
I was frankly surprised that nobody even mentioned the "think of a card" routine which was a gutsy undertaking and for which there is no pretty out. The strength of that one effect, for me, outweighs the shortcomings of anything else I may have done.
The way I perform all of those effects live is very different from the rushed manner in which I presented them on the show. I realize that magicians may not be sympathetic about that, but I'm sure they can understand.
What else? There were a few other hunches I thought I'd respond to... I took my first handful of magic lessons over 30 years ago from Paul Green. I was an instructor at the Chuck Norris Karate Schools to put myself through college and Paul was a popular magician working around LA and was one of the Castle's early performers, as you know. We traded karate lessons for magic lessons and it changed my life. Paul was a brilliant teacher, had a great nose for effects, was sincere and serious in his practice of magic, and saved me an incredible amount of time because he knew a great trick when he saw one and I believe passed that judgement on to me. I've had a number of influences over my 31 full time years in the business. Charlie Miller and I were extremely close friends and spent a lot of time together back in the 70s. Alan Wakeling took me under his wing for about a year. Earl Nelson was always a hero of mine. Ricky Jay and I lived a few blocks from each other in Venice for about a year and had a mutual friend in Jeff Altman. David Roth's coin work made me crazy, so I paid a lot of attention to it. Juan Tamirez made me want to slit my wrists he was so good and entertaining, and I'm a big fan of Gregory Wilson. I think that Jonathan Pendragon for my money is the best all around magician I've ever known. I've seen him kill close up, parlor, and stage. We've been friends for over 30 years and though he's a difficult guy by anybody's standards he is a true genius by mine. I don't know how I got off on this- Bob Kohler is obviously brilliant and Michael Weber's knowledge and ability is extraordinary! I've just done another TV appearance which I'm going to take more flack about than this one I'm sure. I felt it was a disaster and I hope nobody sees it, but I don't think I'll be that lucky. I have another major TV spot coming up in December and I'll try to put together some cool stuff, I'll try to keep the little finger breaks little, and I'll try not to rush if that's possible. Thanks for your interest no matter what your take-I just spent an evening in New York with JB Benn and he confided that on his wonderful travel magic show that is now airing that the producers used takes he didn't agree with, etc. so it's always a bit tough. Just like working close up, some sets go great, and some not as great-but on live TV we don't get any feedback or do-overs and the one take is it. I'm sure you guys can understand that the conditions aren't ideal and we can't see how it went and adjust. I take magicians' comments seriously and at the same time I don't want to be so focused on the detail that I miss the big picture.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 11/21/04 08:04 PM

Jason,

I'd love to read your post, but without any sort of line spacing, it makes it very difficult. Why not re-edit with with a few line breaks for us guys with lousy vision eh? :)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/21/04 08:07 PM

Jason, I think it's incredibly gracious of you to come on the Forum and discuss your performance on Letterman. Most magicians have no idea of the circumstances under which these appearances occur, with producers telling you what you should and should not do, and then changing things at the last minute. Your description is quite educational and most magicians who've never had the opportunity to appear on TV in the type of pressurized situation like the Letterman show should find it revealing.
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Postby Guest » 11/21/04 08:08 PM

Chris-I would if I knew how. I'll figure this out. Sorry for the giant block of text. I thought I was just reviewing it and it posted. I couldn't read it either. Jason
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 11/21/04 08:12 PM

No problem Jason. Just hit the little icon in your original post that looks like a piece of paper with a pencil.(the edit icon) You can then insert some sensible breaks and then re-save the post with the edits.
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Postby Guest » 11/21/04 08:26 PM

Richard-I've been a fan of yours for years and thanks for the comment. On Letterman and on another TV show last week I was made to work over a desk which is higher than my elbows. I'm so used to working standing up with the audience looking down. I find it almost impossible to do anything when I have to hold my hands higher than my elbows. Maybe other guys do too, I don't know. On this last spot the segment producer wanted me to sit on the arm of the couch hovering over and crowding the host. They wouldn't let me work standing and they didn't have any other table in the studio so the desk was it. You sit down pretty low with the host a bit higher and I found it very awkward. The host made a offhand comment about it being kinda "gay" but it wasn't my idea to position that way. The segment producer confided that he tipped to the host I was going to steal his watch. The best I could do was to take it at a different time than when he was expecting it but my set up was lame. I was set to do five minutes but I was told at the last second that the star guest didn't show and they needed me to do fifteen minutes and it starts "now". The host and I just didn't seem to click. He was almost disinterested from the moment I came on-we had never met before the show so he wasn't particularly excited about me one way or the other.
Due to the lack of rapport, the timing of every effect was just off enough to feel awful even in real time, but I coudln't seem to get any control of the situation. I tried a mental trick which is usually one of my strongest pieces, but it didn't gel because we were so out of sync. I know that we would all like to be seen by our peers at our best, but alas....Even with many TV appearances under my belt I'm still learning so many things and still have small regrets after any appearance. But that pain is what makes us grow. Glad I found this forum and I'll enjoy following it from now on. Jason
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Postby Guest » 11/22/04 11:44 AM

Sorry to get off track but I see you live in Mariposa. That is the nicest little town I've ever ran across and have visited as often as possible over the last 25 years or so.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/22/04 05:28 PM

Jason, are you discussing your upcoming appearance on Last Call With Carson Daly? Airing on Wednesday night? Most people will be asleep at 1:30 am!
I know that the height of tables can be a big pain in the butt: this is why Darwin Ortiz always sits on phone books!
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Postby Richard Lane » 11/22/04 06:14 PM

During the part of rehearsal I saw, Carson was in a snit over the "card guy" taking "45 minutes" for blocking. It was far less and utterly necessary for production purposes. In his mind it seemed to impact his run-through of an incredibly lame skit.

He also seemed to enjoy using the phrase "card guy" repeatedly, but didn't bother to learn Jason's name for the rehearsal of the opening announce. No one ever mistook Carson for his earlier namesake.

I look forward to seeing Mr. Randall's performance, joining the two students and a dog that make up his usual audience.
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Postby Guest » 11/22/04 11:42 PM

I shot the Carson Daly show last week-and was excited to do it. I just wrote a lengthy play by play of what went on behind the scenes but then thought better of it and erased it. I spoke with the segment producer for the first time the night before and found out what they wanted.
When I arrived things were changed many times from one set of tricks to another, from one opening to another, rehearsal on, rehearsal off again, etc. Everybody was very nice and meant well but TV is TV and things change rapidly. The star guest failed to show at the last minute and I was told to do more effects as I walked out-but had no revised plan.
Carson and I had never met and he didn't appear particularly excited to see me-and he seemed uncomfortable with me sitting practically in his lap-for which I don't blame him. I didn't feel as if he got was I was trying to do-nevertheless I didn't feel like I got into any kind of a groove with him. I made some weird blunders that truly baffled even me-as they had never happened in thousands and thousands of performances. I just never quite got comfortable. It was an appearance I won't want to be bragging about any time soon and which I'm sure will give the naysayers plenty of new fodder-so have your fun.
I ended with a card in wallet routine which suprised me because I had no intention of doing it when I walked out. For some reason I couldn't find the wallet opening to save my life-and how many times have I done the routine, a million maybe just like all of you.
It's not surprising that when we have our ducks in a row and an ideal performing situation that we usually do well, but when we are asked to do a four minute routine in two minutes or string effects together that we don't usually play together-or the set is assembled on the fly with five minutes until showtime we are not as polished. Sometimes under these same circumstances I've felt that I pulled it out and other times like with the recent Carson Daly appearance I just didn't. The more TV you do, the less these errors will creep in.
I've learned from 30 years of full time live appearances what needs to be in place for me to feel I'll be effective on any given evening. I have often in the corporate world had performance conditions that I knew were stacking the cards against me. I've been asked to bring people on stage who I knew were poor choices. I've been staged over thirty feet away from the nearest audience member, I recently was made to perform a show outside at night for 250 people with only three oridinary light bulbs and a Radio Shack powered speaker. Last week in Miami I was in a nightclub for 300 people. Half of the act is in the audience and nobody ordered lights-it was a 3 camera shoot with 15 LCD screens throughout the club-the cameras were shooting into the dark. Two nights later in New York last week I performed for 250 people in a giant studio space on the west side-again no house lights and as an added bonus the wireless mic failed. And yes, they had a sound and light guy on hand who was in very deep trouble with the client. I had no control over any of this-and often, as many of you know, if you complain about anything at all they think you are a problem.
I can usually catch most of this in time, but since you are relying on other people and the event planners are busy putting out other even more important fires than the entertainment these things still happen. The audience doesn't know whose fault anything is-and I guess it wouldn't matter anyway. So we can all relate to one degree or another to these issues. On a live TV show these things can be particularly troublesome as so much is riding on it, and we, as occassional talent often have very little say and don't want to make waves. We are trying to adapt sometimes very quickly. Sometimes we get lucky, sometimes we don't. Wish I could go back and have a do-over but will learn from it and move to the next game.
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Postby Tabman » 11/23/04 10:15 AM

Hi Jason, welcome to Genii. It's great having you here and appreciate your sharing your inside insights with us. I really enjoyed your work on the Letterman Show, it's great seeing good card magic on tv.
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Postby Bill Wells » 11/23/04 11:58 AM

Jason -

Thank you for taking the time and effort to give us such a thoughtful and candid inside look at performing magic as a guest on two major network TV shows. It is both extremely interesting and also very valuable information to any who might be as fortunate to have similar opportunities. The members of the Genii Forum are most fortunate that you are willing to share your experiences with us.
I have enjoying seeing you on the shows in spite of the difficulties you faced and wish you the best in your future magic endeavors.

Bill
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Postby Guest » 11/23/04 02:01 PM

Appreciate the forum. I'm leaving town on Thanksgiving and working on the east coast and Europe plus one network TV appearance on December 1. Will be gone for nearly a month so I won't be following the discussion. I've taken the notes into consideration and will try to integrate them as best as I'm able on my upcoming spot at NBC. Thanks again..Jason Randal
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 11/23/04 02:09 PM

Yes, thanks, Jason.

As evinced by the positive reverb here, what you have said should (hopefully) make casual, amateur performers more acutely aware of what it really takes to be a seasoned professional. It takes years of being in various "trenches" and "front lines" to develop what I call "improvisational grace." Some of these principles come from studying the martial arts (as you know in spades), because one develops a "cool" and a hyper-sensitive awareness of EVERYTHING and learns to "act and react" quickly, aptly, and without losing one's equipose. This is rarely covered in how-to books, especially on magic.

One must evaluate the given environment and circumstances and then adapt and modify, usually on the spot, figuring out how to exploit what is "given" and compensate for what has been coldly "taken away."

I've learned this every time I've entered these battlegrounds, including the last movie set and television appearance.

You have my deepest admiration.

When I saw you on Letterman, knowing the way things are in television, I marveled at what you had to overcome. More important, you never stopped smiling and your forward momentum was steadfast. Rank-and-file magicians may have only seen the wider "breaks" in the deck, but they were oblivious to the expertise that was invisibly at work. Most guys in the same "tight spot" would have choked, wilted, and died.

Bravo.

Onward...
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Postby Tabman » 11/24/04 10:07 AM

Don't forget that Jason Randall is going to be on Last Call With Carson Daly tonight late. Could be interesting now that we know the back story!!
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Postby Guest » 11/24/04 10:27 AM

Are you guys sure its tonite..this site says different...Tom

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Postby Tabman » 11/24/04 03:12 PM

hmmm. I dunno. The site says friday night. Thanks for the tip off.

LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY, NBC
Fr 11/26: Roger Clemens, Rachael Leigh Cook, Jason Randal, Chingy

Thanks again,

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Postby Bill Duncan » 11/24/04 03:59 PM

Come on gang... just plug the phrase "Jason Randall" into your TiVo and get on with your lives!

;)
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Postby Tabman » 11/25/04 09:28 AM

Must be friday night then. I fell asleep after he said "George Foreman." To Bill Duncan: I got no Tivo but that's a great idea. Thanks.

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Postby Guest » 11/27/04 12:51 AM

I saw Mr. Randall on Carson Daly Show this evening. I thought he did an outstanding job. The circumstances surrounding his appearance has been noted above; Daly in my opinion was just goofy, and not a very good host.
We have to remember again that Mr. Randall was not performing for magicians, but for laymen. My wife watched it and said time after time, during his Ambitious routine, "Now how did he do that"? When I have done a similar Ambitious routine for her, it was "ho-hum".
Congratulations Mr. Randall, wish I could think on my feet like that, and perform as well; or as someone said, have..."equipose". (lol)
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Postby Tabman » 11/27/04 04:13 PM

Originally posted by coriolis: Daly in my opinion was just goofy, and not a very good host.
You won't catch me staying up late to watch that show again unless Jason is doing card magic. Great job Jason!!! Double good knowing the inside track. I didnt say anything to those watching the show with me last night so they didnt know that I was "with it!"

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Postby Michael Kamen » 12/02/04 05:52 PM

Jason Randall just killed on Ellen Degeneris. She begged him to come back. . . "please come back. . .every day. . !"

I did not catch his name because I tuned in late and had to look up the show on the TV Listings to know who I had just watched. They should of course (one would hope) repeat the guest's name at the end of the segment -- she looked so taken though that the clock ran away from her.
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Postby Guest » 12/02/04 09:04 PM

I saw Jason on Ellen today. I knew at the beginning of the show that they were taking too long on the opening and he would be rushed and the segment would be wrapped up before it should have been. Sure enough they didn't give him the time he deserved. I hope Ellen's request that he come on again is real.
It's funny for me to see him next to these big name Stars, when I know he has more talent, education and skills than all put together.

Oh well, just a friend cheering for him, but it's the truth.

Robin
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Postby Guest » 12/22/04 08:17 AM

Back when I was one of the original Jr. Magicians of the Magic Castle in 1975 under Dianna Zimmerman, we were lucky enough to have many famous magicians come lecture. Harry Blackstone Jr., Mark Wilson, Billy McComb, Terry Seabrook, Johnny Thompson, etc. all made a big impression.

However, it was Jason Randal that made the biggest impression on me. For while most guys talked a good game, Jason was actually out there doing it, making the big bucks CONSISTENTLY at corporate events each and every weekend.

Lucky for me he lived near by in Marina del Rey at the time and was kind enough to hire me to work in his office. Thus we got to spend a year together practically every day and I got to see first hand how he ran his business and went about selling himself as a magician.

As good as Jason's magic is, it's his charisma, zest for life, and unique sense of humor that really comes through when you meet him. It seems like he always has a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face.

Anyway, he's had me up to his ranch in Mariposa twice to help him write a book on his success techniques (I authored "The Enlightened Magicians" (in which Jason is one of the magicians I interviewed for the book), as well as "Selling With Magic" and "Speaking With Magic").

Unfortunately, after working with him for many weeks on the book, it turns out he's too modest to release it!

Basically, I had him tell me his life story, how he became so successful in so many fields: he's an 8th degree Black Belt, a helicoptor and airplane AND scuba instructor, was a stunt man in the movies, a Sheriff Academy Instructor, has appeared in movies and every talkshow on tv doing magic, has performed for every celebrity in Hollywood, is a memory expert and is one of the top corporate magicians in the country earning between $12,000- $15,000 per show (and often this is for close up!)

And yet, everytime we talk and I say, "Jason, when are we going to get your book done?" He replies, "Ah, nobody would be interested in reading about my life."

WHAT@%#!? HELLO!! Would someone on this forum please let Mr. Randal know that we would kill to get our hands on a book that combined both his life story and the "secrets of his success."

Trust me, I've seen alot of the material... you won't be able to put it down!

-Michael
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Postby John Smetana » 12/22/04 11:22 AM

I'll put my order in right now..Jason... if you read this..publish the book.

Happy Holidays to all,
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Postby Adrian Kuiper » 12/22/04 11:31 AM

Having watched Jason Randall on all three shows....Letterman, Daly and Ellen he MUST be given credit for performing extremely well in the face of at least two less than polite hosts. Both Letterman and Daly seemed more interested in themselves than in what was going on. Ellen was genuinely interested in the magic and seemed to enjoy it. She obviously was the best of the three different hosts. The working area was also better on the Ellen show....almost like they figured out what would work well for the audience...Maybe, Heaven forbid, they asked the performed what HE would like. Maybe???

Regards,
Adrian
Adrian Kuiper
 
Posts: 299
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Port Richey,FL


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