Cute blonde does cig. manipulations on YouTube

Addresses new and interesting links to other sites (not listed on the Genii website) that merit attention.

Postby Guest » 12/30/06 04:48 PM

Anyone know the name of the cute blonde doing the cigarette manipulations with recording star Cliff Edwards (aka "Ukulele Ike", and later well-known as the voice of Jiminy Cricket in Walt Disney's Pinocchio) in this short film on YouTube?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-zCDxe_vFw

This is an MGM short from 1935 "Starlit Days at the Lido" .

The section with Cliff Edwards and the lady doing cigarette manipulations starts around the 3:33 mark and continues to 6:05 . Not a whole lot of magic here , but an odd effect because the cig manipulation is just a throwaway as this beautiful blonde woman watches Cliff Edwards perform with his uke .
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Postby Guest » 12/30/06 05:11 PM

Not 100% sure but I believe that's Suzy Wandas -- at least the lady in the film bears a strong resemblance to the pictures I've seen. According to T A waters in his Encyclopedia of Magic And Magicians she was considered to be one of the "half dozen best manipulators in the history of magic."

Very cool video -- thanks for posting the link.
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Postby Guest » 12/30/06 07:13 PM

Jim,

I thought it was Suzy Wandas also, until I looked at the site link below, it lists the entire cast and crew of the short and she is not listed. Suzys given name is actually Jeanne Van Dyk by the way. I did not look through the bios of each woman to see who it might be.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0292700/fullcredits

The more I watch the video, I believe someone from behind the bar is actually loading her hand with each cigarette after she tosses the one to the ground. Watch where her hand always returns, and how still and long it stays there after tossing the cig, right back up against her body where someone from behind could load it without being seen.

Cheers, Mark
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Postby Guest » 12/30/06 07:45 PM

Well, anyway, it's a very interesting sequence . Obviously someone on the set was a magic aficionado to include this little bit of conjuring fun in an otherwise straightforward recording of Cliff Edward's musical performance . Was Cliff Edwards a magic buff ?

There's a little callback at the end where the girl is playing the uke and Cliff Edwards pulls a cigarette from her ear .

http://inklingstudio.typepad.com/Cliff_and_Blonde.jpg

http://inklingstudio.typepad.com/Callback.jpg
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/30/06 08:48 PM

A couple of thoughts:

First, the notion that IMDb has everyone who appears in a film listed is incorrect, particularly in the case of a 20-minute short from 1935, which this film is. Unlike today, where it seems like even the caterers dog receives a credit, in those days not everyone who appeared in a film was given a credit. If the film did not credit her, IMDb might not have it unless a researcher added her. Note that Ben Turpin is uncredited, but Turpin was a well-known silent film comedian versus Suzy Wandas who might not be recognizable to a film expert. So, its quite possible that its her and shes simply undredited.

That being said, I searched through the Sphinx during that period and found no mention of her appearing in a film. I have not yet searched Genii but I will.

And, for reasons I do not yet understand, my September 2000 issue of MAGIC seems to be missing. Gabe Fajuri wrote a piece on her in that issue, so perhaps theres mention of it in there if its her.

Heres a reason why it might be an if: While Suzy Wandas was a dish, even in her older years, she would have been 39 in that film. The girl doing those manipulationsand I think that they are manipulationsdoesnt appear that old to me. But of course, she very well could be 39. These days 40 year-olds look pretty hot to me!

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/30/06 09:02 PM

Duh, Genii didn't start until 1936, so I'm not likely to find anything there.

Oh well.

Still can't find that issue of MAGIC.

Hmmmmmm
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/30/06 09:27 PM

I just read her obituary in the July 1986 Genii It says that she did not make her first appearance in the United States until 1953. I find it difficult to believe that she would have come to the U.S. in 1935 and not do her act (which, at that time, she was still doing with her mother; performing as the Wandas Sisters), but appear in a film short.

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Postby Guest » 12/30/06 09:39 PM

Thanks for doing the detective work on that , Dustin.

Ok, we've narrowed it down a bit by more or less determining that the mystery woman is probably NOT Suzy Wandas (which seemed very plausible to me when Jim Coles posted it earlier this evening) , but now the mystery remains: who is she ? There can't be that many female manipulators in the '30's in California or elsewhere , right ? Who are the other possiblities ?
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Postby Guest » 12/30/06 09:48 PM

Bummer, I was really hoping it was Wandas as I've never seen video of her. The birth date for her in the Waters book is 1900 which would have made her 34 or 35 at the time of the film -- I don't know if that date's right now as Dustin says 39. I'd also read somewhere that she did cigarette manipulations so I was really hoping. But Dustin's research seems to rule out the possibility.

I did a Google search and still can't figure out who the girl is even though I found a couple of mentions made of that particular sequence.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/31/06 01:00 AM

Its amazing the roads this stuff takes you to. I thought I had a winner with Daphne Lucille Barnett (also known as Lucille Barnett and sometimes just Lucille). The picture of her on the Internet shows her to be a brunette, but that was easily changed in those days. She seemed to fall into the correct age bracket and a 1968 Abracadabra mentions that she emigrated to the United States sometime before WWII. By all the accounts I have read thus far, she was a very skilled manipulator.

This paragraph, written by Milbourne Christopher in the September 1954 issue of Genii, carries a most interesting comment which I have highlighted in bold text:

Lucille Barnett an attractive English girl began her career at six tutored by her father, a dealer in rare books and pictures. She created a sensation when she first appeared before a London magic club. Horace Golden predicted a brilliant future for her. She played the leading British theatres made several movie shorts and was televised when she was still in her twenties. During the war she entertained British and American troops with Ensa and USO Camp Shows.
She wrote a short piece in a 1938 issue of Genii. She was possibly in the US by then (after all, Genii while an International magazine was (is) indeed American.

However, a 1938 issue of Goldstons Magician Monthly has her in London, and just 14 years old. At first I thought that it could be a typo, but the context of the piece made me wonder:

We present to you this month the youngest magician to appear under "Magicians You Read About." Daphne Lucille Barnett, a name to conjure with, has recently appeared before the London Magical Societies and has created a sensation among the profession. Lucille's act includes billiard ball manipulations; and colour changes, card manipulation, fans, shuffles with gloved hands, a rope routine and torn and restored paper. The latter item is presented as it would be performed by a Mayfair girl, a French magicienne and a Hollywood film star. Lucille, although only 14 years of age, has been filmed by Pathetone and has recently had auditions before prominent West End booking agents.
The Genii piece she wrote certainly seems more adult than 14. Ill let you be the judge:

Ever so long ago and way back in the dark foggy days of a London September, I was bitten by the bellicose bug of an itch to write; see how I've come up to the scratch
Dad surrendered his magicana and I got to work. The wonder girl manipulator entered the fields of dealer and Caveat Emptor, but this did not apply as I sold books, not costumers. Merrily I sailed on, producing catalogues, one, two, three, four, and then came the dawn. An inundation of professional appearances has left me very little time to carry on. My bookings carry me right through the Summer and catalogue five seems as distant as the Milky Way. But like the boil on the back of the cellist's neckit will come out.
Remember, her father was a dealer of antiquarian magic books as noted in the 54 Genii.

Then, in a 1940 Sphinx I found one of her ads with a London address.

Then, in 1944, this ad by one Reg Conklin of Milwaukee:

The Collection of DAPHNE LUCILLE BARNETT of London, internationally known collector and magicienne was recently purchased at auction by my agent. Due to arrive in the United States in early September. Duplicate titles in the collection will be offered to American collectors of books on conjuring. If interested, write promptly. First come, first served!
I found an obituary for her father (Jack) in the April 1946 issue of The New Conjurors Magazine.

I think its clear that this talented girl didnt come to the US until well after this film was made. Oh well.

As I read through this material (most of which is on Ask Alexanderto which I owe a great amount of gratitude), one thing I am discovering is that there were more women who were manipulators than I think we might otherwise believe. So the search goes on.
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Postby Guest » 12/31/06 01:26 AM

Amazing Roads indeed!!! Thanks!
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/31/06 01:34 AM

And yet another candidate: Interestingly enough, another Lucille with a very similar last name: Burnette.

Shes mentioned in the same Christopher article cited in my previous post:

The smoothest of her sex that I have seen is Lucille Burnette. No relation to the other Lucille.
And then this from Geraldine Larsens column in a 1943 Genii (again, bold emphasis is mine):

Lucille Burnette blonde magicienne was out here with her husband en route to U.S.O. shows out of the country.
The plot thickens.

There was another Lucille (also mentioned by Christopherso yes, three Lucilles in the same article; two of them with similar last names and two most certainly manipulators) who worked with her husband Eddie Roberts in a telepathy act.

Scroll down here to a photo of her in action with Eddie (from a Martinkas auction); clearly not doing a mental act here. The timeframe seems correct as well: I can find mentions of them going as far back as 1928 and well into the 50s.
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Postby Guest » 12/31/06 09:25 AM

Garland, great site, you have too much time on your hands, where did you get the nice Houdini audio?
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Postby Rick Ruhl » 12/31/06 10:21 AM

Dustin,

Why not give a call to Bill Pitts. I bet he'd know, after all, he is a collector and was a young magician in those days.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/31/06 10:22 AM

I am not acquainted with Mr. Pitts.
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Postby Rick Ruhl » 12/31/06 04:09 PM

He's a former IBM President, magic collector and runs the Calvacade of Magic Convention in Ft. Smith, AR every year. (this year from March 29- 31). He did a lecture on magic collection at SEAM this year.

I'll post his email address and phone number, since he's the contact for Calvacade too.

479-484-7512
BandRPitts@aol.com

He's a great guy and probably knows the answer.
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Postby Guest » 12/31/06 05:02 PM

Facinating information by all!

A couple of nice articles for those interested in learning more about Suzy Wandas.

Feb. 1978 Genii - Suzy Wandas Bennett Legendary Lady of Legerdemain By: Robert Wicks

Feb 1986 Genii - Magic In Their Blood By: Todd Karr

Here is an interesting site with a number of Wandas pictures, make sure you click on her name in the subject area for more pictures of here. Typing her name in the search area gives a few more. Type magician in the search area and there are hundreds of other magicians as well.

http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-pa-HTTP%253A%2 ... 0411.SHTML

I believe there are a few errors concerning dates floating around also. She was born in 1896, not 1900 as stated in Waters book, much corroborating evidence of that. Also, her obituary written by Francis Marshal in the July Genii says she died July 12, 1986, yet in the June Genii speaks column the month earlier (although must have come out in mid to late July), it specifically says Sunday July 19th. Both the 12th and 19th were Sundays ironically, so Im not sure which is correct. I had no luck checking newspaperarchives.com for a newspaper obituary. Someone will come through with the correct information I'm sure.

Rick, do you know Bill Pitts? He is an old friend, a great guy, and still very active (along with his wife Ruth) in magic. I havent spoke with him in a couple of years now, but have always enjoyed keeping up with his activities through his ring reports each month in The Linking Ring. Ring 75 is named in his honor. I first met Bill in 1979 when he was the IBM president and visited my former Ring 215 in Oshkosh, WI (ring 215 is no longer active). We were both collectors with similar interests in a specific early Oshkosh magic company and hit it off immediately. We spent the better part of 2 or 3 hours sharing memorabilia and stories. Bill sold his entire magic collection of apparatus and catalogs a number of years ago to David Copperfield.

Happy New Year all, Mark Damon

On a side note:

I found a number of interesting pictures on the site link noted above, one kind of shocked me though, I had no idea he had been a magician/escape artist in his younger years. I think you will agree after seeing him, although you probably have to be a 1960s Batman fan to appreciate it. To not go off subject here, I have started a new topic in the Magic History and Anecdotes area called, Holy guillotine Batman, is that who I think it is?
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Postby Rick Ruhl » 01/01/07 12:52 PM

Mark,

Yes, I met Bill and Ruth at SEAM 2006. We sat down a bunch of times and talked about collecting and magic.

They are wonderful people, big heart and all.
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Postby Guest » 01/01/07 01:22 PM

Rick,

Thank you for posting Bill's e-mail and phone. His area code only had changed from the last number I had. I really should give him a call again. I have never met Ruth, but am sure she's as nice a person as he is.

A few years ago Bill sent me a nice letter along with an article about he and Ruth (with picture)from their local paper. If you would like, I will try and dig up and send you a photo (.jpg)of the article. It may take a few days to locate, but just say the word.

Mark
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Postby Rick Ruhl » 01/03/07 06:22 AM

Sure Mark, would love to see that.

Dustin, was Bill able to help you?
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/03/07 10:34 AM

I knew I forgot something. Emailing him now.

Thanks,
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Postby Guest » 01/05/07 06:19 AM

Could this be our mysterious cute blonde:

Arie McChesney, a female magician who went by the stage name of "Aree-Queen of Hearts."

One pic of her business card
http://www.infantino.net/side2.jpg

One pic of her
http://www.infantino.net/side1.jpg

"There, Watson, this infernal case had haunted me for ten days. I hereby banish it completely from my presence."
-Sherlock Homes

Bob Infantino
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Postby Guest » 01/05/07 09:00 AM

Watching the video on YouTube it appears that the master of ceremonies, Reginald Denny, seems to quickly refer to the name of the performer around the 6:09 - to - 6:15 mark in the film (see little time code box at bottom of the YouTube video player).

He says: "Very unique... I think _______ better try that trick with me some evening. I smoke a pipe."

I can not clearly make out the name. Is it possible that he says "I think Aree better try that trick with me some evening"? (I don't think so , but it's possible.)

Can anyone with sharper ears than mine make it out ?
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 01/05/07 09:15 AM

Originally posted by D. T. Nethery:
Watching the video on YouTube it appears that the master of ceremonies, Reginald Denny, seems to quickly refer to the name of the performer around the 6:09 - to - 6:15 mark in the film (see little time code box at bottom of the YouTube video player).

He says: "Very unique... I think _______ better try that trick with me some evening. I smoke a pipe."

I can not clearly make out the name. Is it possible that he says "I think Aree better try that trick with me some evening"? (I don't think so , but it's possible.)

Can anyone with sharper ears than mine make it out ?
He definitely doesn't say "Aree" .. it almost sounds like "our lass" or "a lass".

-Jim
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Postby Steve Snediker » 01/05/07 09:25 AM

Originally posted by DustinStinett:
I knew I forgot something. Emailing him now.

Thanks,
Dustin
Dustin,

You'd have a better response from Bill if you called him. He's not much for email technology. Still uses a manual typewriter and carbon paper for all his correspondence.

I did a sit-down and talk video with Bill a couple of years ago -- he is a truly fascinating gentleman who knew some of the greats. He's still well connected in the magic fraternity and holds a little convention in Eureka Springs, AR the last weekend of March called the Cavalcade of Magic. I believe this is the 36th year of the event.

Ruth is his second wife -- she's a bit of a legend in her own way -- She and her first husband did cruise ships for years, based out of NY State. Her husband's name escapes me, but Ruth still performs her stage act at many regional conventions.

Call him, Dustin...he loves to talk.

For the wonder of it all...

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Postby Guest » 01/05/07 11:12 AM

I have an excellent sound system connected to my computer so Denny's voice is clear. He says, "Very unique. I think I'll ask her to try that trick with me some evening. I smoke a pipe."

The girl does not smoke as she only puffs on the cigarettes. She produces 6, plus the one she starts with, given to her by Cliff. It is likely that she had a holder taped or gummed to the palm, keeping the back of her hand towards the camera at all times. Her thumb is loose enough to show that she does not thumb palm them.

It could be a young Aree McChesney. I saw her work as an older woman and she was quite good, although I do not know if the dates for her life would make her young enough for this 20-something in 1935.

The location shots were probably done at the Ambassador Hotel with the other shots at the studio when the stars had some free time to sit down for a cameo. This helped keep their faces in front of the public when they didn't have a picture in release.

This short subject is typical of what were once called "Band Shorts," short subjects shown in theaters between features that featured famous bands of the day. A number of them featured variety acts who came in and had their acts shot. Frakson did one for Universal.

For everyone under 40, back in the ancient days of film you could go to the theater (not a sterile multi-plex but a genuine film "palace") and see two features, a newsreel, a short subject or two, sometimes a travelogue (and on Saturdays, a serial or "chapter play") all for far less than we're paying now for one "blockbuster," previews of coming attractions, and in some theaters, a bunch of ads.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/05/07 01:43 PM

I received a very nice email from Mr. Pitts (who more capable at the system than some of the MBAs I deal with at my job).

Unfortunately, he has not seen the film, though he was able to confirm that it is neither Suzy Wandas nor Lucille Barnett based on timeline.

He called Bill McIlhany (why didnt I think of that?), but Bill was unfamiliar with the film. For some reason hes under the impression that its an MGM film, so his recommendation was that someone contact Turner Films, who owns the MGM library. However, I think its a Warner Bros. film, as it appears as a bonus feature on a WB DVD (Roberta with Irene Dunne and Fred Astaire).

It will be interesting to see if Bill sinks his formidable teeth into this mystery.

Dustin

PS: If truth must be known, I have been fighting a nasty cold for a week now, and I cant really talk without going into a coughing fit. Not to mention my voice sounds funky!
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Postby Guest » 01/05/07 02:41 PM

Originally posted by DustinStinett:
For some reason hes under the impression that its an MGM film, so his recommendation was that someone contact Turner Films, who owns the MGM library. However, I think its a Warner Bros. film, as it appears as a bonus feature on a WB DVD (Roberta with Irene Dunne and Fred Astaire).
The film is indeed an MGM short as the title card shows: Click HERE to see a screen grab of the title .

Incidentally, "Roberta" was an RKO Picture. The later DVD distribution is Warner's but the picture was originally produced by RKO. How MGM's short "Starlit Days at the Lido" ended up on the "Roberta" DVD probably has a lot to do with Ted Turner's film library and how many times that has changed hands over the years. Ted Turner (TBS) purchased the MGM film library in 1986, but TBS was later merged with Time/Warner , so Warner Bros. now owns the MGM films for video distribution.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/05/07 02:52 PM

Great info! Thanks!
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Postby Guest » 01/05/07 06:25 PM

Interesting to note that Cliff Edwards ends the film by producing a lit cig from behind the girl's ear as the fakes strumming the uke.
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Postby Rafael Benatar » 01/05/07 11:21 PM

Whoever it is and whatver the method, the handling is about as good as it gets. Very relaxed, no unnecessary acquitments. The loading by the waiter from behind seems unlikely to me. Maybe some gimmick attached to her palm (the palm is never seen) or, why not, the real thing. A fine performance anyway.
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Postby Guest » 01/06/07 12:41 AM

As I suggested before, the method obvious to us is something taped or glued to her right palm, with the lighted cigarettes sticking straight out. A strip of tape with pins onto which the lit cigarettes are stuck would work perfectly. This method works because the camera never moves, it's a one POV shot.

The girl never moves her hand out of one plane, except enough to see that she's not using a thumb palm, but clearly, she did practice the routine as she does the moves with suriety and confidence.

Rather than a "real" magicienne, she could have been a small-time actress coached by a magic consultant for this bit. By the time this film was shot Frakson and then Cardini had made the production of lit cigarettes quite popular.

Cliff's single production at the end is actually better because he moves his hand around quite a bit and it seems impossible that he's palming a lit cigarette.
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