Orson Welles magic in Los Angeles

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 Bob L » 02/05/04 10:39 PM

Just noticed this entry in the American Cinematheque's February calendar. Fellow L.A. residents may be interested in this rarity:

Friday, February 20 7:00 PM

THE WELLES RARITIES Program 1: "Its All Magic"

Orson Welles had a lifelong obsession with magic in all its incarnations, evident in this collection of rare movie and TV appearances. The program includes a clip from Edward Sutherlands FOLLOW THE BOYS, (1944, Universal, 5 min.) with Orson Welles and Marlene Dietrich performing his stage magic show; a rarely seen episode of the "I Love Lucy" show, where Lucy meets Orson Welles (1956, CBS TV, 26 min.); restored material from the unfinished MAGIC SHOW he was filming from 1976 until the end of his life; and more
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Postby Guest » 02/10/04 06:47 PM

Reminds me of an interesting thing that happened. I worked behind the counter at Stevens Magic Emporium during the late 70's. One Saturday, we were opening the mail to check on various orders.

Upon opening one envelope, out of it fell $250 in cash (not a small amount in those days). We pulled out the letter (wondering who was crazy enough to send that much cash in the mail). Well, it was from Orson, wanting to order a set of multiplying bottles from Supreme Magic.


Bob Phillips

Postby Richard Lane » 02/26/04 05:52 PM

New York's Film Forum is running the same series.

Sadly, tomorrow is the only date they are showing this compilation.


Welles was an avid amateur magician, and his fascination with magic crops up throughout his entire career, as seen in these movie and tv appearances. The program includes a sequence from FOLLOW THE BOYS (1944) with Welles as The Great Orso sawing Marlene Dietrich in half; a 1956 episode of I Love Lucy, wherein Lucy meets Orson; restored material from his unfinished MAGIC SHOW, filmed from 1976 until the end of his life; and more. 7:30 only


Hardcore Welles fans should note that the box office is also selling a new monograph 'The Unknown Orson Welles' edited by Stefan Droessler, curator of this collection. Film Forum touts it as not available in stores.
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Postby Andrew Martin Portala » 02/26/04 06:24 PM

Is FOLLOW THE BOYS out on video or DVD ?
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Postby Guest » 02/26/04 08:15 PM

I do not think that "Follow the Boys" is out on dvd and although a fun film, I suspect (but could be wrong) that there is some camera trickery in the Orson Welles section of the film. As to the New York Orsen Welles film showing - I take personal umbrage at Orson being labeled "amateur" -as a magician. Orson performed magic, on stage during the USO tours, on the Johnny Carson show, the Steve Allen show and more...he was hardly a amateur!

Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/26/04 09:47 PM

Yes, there is supposed to have been camera trickery used in "Follow the Boys," even though Orson was performing The Mercury Wonder Show in Hollywood, and actually performing the tricks live every night, near the same time.
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Postby Guest » 02/27/04 10:38 AM

Wells also performed magic in "Casino Royalle" and I vividly remember him performing mentalism on the old Dinah Shore show and with Merv Griffin. He was very believable as a mentalist with his commanding pressence, deep voice and strong acting ability.

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Postby Guest » 02/27/04 11:00 AM

Welles performed street magic when he was 11 years old.

He ran away from home at age 11 with his female cousin. He was found three days later performing magic on the street with his cousin in blackface, according to the Barbara Leaming biography.

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