Amac's Find The Lady

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby mehtas » 08/14/08 06:33 PM

Amac's Find The Lady.

Would love to see the original one in action.

Is there a movie footage of this illusion ??
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Postby Joe Pecore » 08/14/08 06:47 PM

I heard at the 2007 L.A. Conference on Magic History, Jim Steinmeyer explained and performed Amac's "Find the Lady" illusion. Not sure if it was taped.

I also saw online that Faust's Magic is said to currently own Amac's original "Find the Lady" equipment
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/14/08 11:43 PM

Steinmeyer performed his version of Find the Lady. The method is not the same as Amac's.
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Postby Allen Tipton » 08/30/08 09:34 AM

According to Faust ( Abra magazine Vol 114, No. 2951)It was shot at the Kokusai Theatre by Japanese National TV. Although it played three shows daily for five days, the 'explanation' where the lady disappeared behind the red sheet was ommited as that would have taken more than a week's rehearsal. Again according to Faust, the 'explanation ' sequence was once cut, in mid performance by Cecil Lyle as he had spotted Kalanag, the German Illusionist in his audience.There has always been stealing between illusionist.
Faust, once an assistant to Lyle, had purchased the apparatus and the performance rights, honourably, from Lyle's widow, Lucille la Farge. He also purchased other illsuiions by Devant De Biere etc. He has guarded Find The Lady for many years to prevent it being stolen. I think it might still be for sale and I heard around 75, 000 or approx $150,000. Much of Faust's other illusions have been sold and shipped, I think to Spain, purchased by, again I think, an English magician.
A Japanese friend has tried to find out for me from JNTV but so far no success.They seem to have no trace of it.
One Japanese magician did perform it,with his own method, in October 1952(Lyle had performed it in Tokyo in Spring that year) at one of Tokyo's biggest theatres in a musical called Ten Ichi & Tenkatsu, the great Japanese magicians.
He'd obviously copied..stolen the effect. The diagrams of his 2 methods( very disappointing)I sent, early this year, to my friend Walt Lees, the editor of Abra magazine, out of his personal interest, as there had been several pieces about Find The Lady in it. Walt actually published them, though I did not mean them to be published.
They were originally published in a Japanese magazine, ' Kijutsu-Kenkyu' in the Summer of 1956. There were 2 methods. The first was so silly, the girl had to jump from one stool to the other, the magician used the second, equally a bit silly.

Again in Abra, another old friend,Les Leveen, to help set the record straight, published the full routine as performed by Lyle. No explanation. Abra Vol. 126 No. 3262, 2nd August 2008.
I think this must have been the fullest description ever published. Les for a time, worked as a stage hand, at the old Nottingham Empire Theatre, where The Great Lyle often played. He was working up in the fly gallery so saw the illusion, nightly, from above!
I met Amac in 1950 at IBM, British Ring, Harrogate, Yorks. He signed my autograph book and we met again about 3/4 years later when he gave me one of his card tricks, The Third man Walks Out, in which a silhouette of a man disappears( via the Stripper system) from one of three cards. I still have it.

I always regret now, that when we first talked, I was 17, I never asked him about his legendary illusion, invented in 1921, and called then The Elusive Lady. Alas!

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Postby Philippe Billot » 08/30/08 10:39 AM

There is a description of an illusion names Find the Lady in Annuals on Magic 1915/16, page 64, written by Goldston.
As I haven't this book, someone can tell us if it's the same trick or another one ?
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Postby Allen Tipton » 08/31/08 09:29 AM

No Phillipe it is not the same Find The Lady ALTHOUGH the plot/effect is the same. Amac invented his version in 1921. Several years later
Goldston's ?? version; on page 64 of the Annual says, 'Collected(?) by the editor!'This version involves 3 huge Thimbles, each with a rope attached to the top, for hauling up into the air with a hook/handle for a girl to hold herself up in the top of the Thimble when it was raised. There were 3 small platforms,(described as platforms or stools in the explanation) 3 trapdoors for the ladies to descend or ascend up into the the Thimbles, when they rested momentarily on the stage, and 3 ladies with stage makeup to resemble each other.
There is even the business of a piece of one lady's dress being shut outside the thimble, which is then raised slightly to let it be withdrawn thus proving the lady was under that Thimble.Similar to the lady's foot being seen with the red cloth vanish in Amac's
Goldston also suggests a possible use of The Sphinx Table and using one lady 'which would call for very quick work on the part of the lady'. Like a number of Goldston's suggestions it was imaginative but rarely practical. His illustrators always provided great drawings but no attention was ever paid to measurements, so a lady in one I remember would have to squeeze into a space about 6 inches deep!!
It was claimed that the illusion was suggested by the old Racecourse swindle, the 'Thimble Rig'; as in the 3 Walnut Shells and the Pea.
As this was 1915/16 I feel sure that Amac must have read the Annual and thus been inspired to create his own incredible version.

The Great Nicola, 'borrowed' the idea, and used, I think from memory, 3 doors..possibly prison doors.

Fu Manchu ( David Bamberg) had one built in 1931 by his technician Edmund Spreer. The latter had been offered a version,in 1976,by Lou Tannen's at $75 or the blueprints at $3 but felt that at $75 'they were not selling any of the published methods'.
As far as I can research, Spreer used the method described in the book, Greater Magic which was totally erroneous and cumbersome.

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Postby Philippe Billot » 08/31/08 10:15 AM

Thanks a lot, Allen.
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Postby John McDonald » 04/09/12 04:27 PM

Bump - I believe that there has been a film made by a London based documentary maker. See http://www.freewebs.com/taylormademagic ... elady.html

Does anyone know anything about this?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/09/12 05:58 PM

It was announced, but I don't know anyone that's seen it yet.
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Postby mehtas » 04/10/12 06:44 PM

I am really looking forward to this but I understand It is a "self funded film"

I was told it is very much a labour of love so they have to fit it in around other work and raise finance as they go :o

Judging on that, I don't think its going to be made within my lifetime or ANYONE who is intrested in seeing this legendary illusion being performed.

According to Granville, a famous magician in US offered him a large sum of money for the illusion. I dont know what happened to that ???

Considering the fact that the illusion is still available for sale, I am wondering if the setting up the illusion on a stage is worthwhile for a modern day performer ??

I'm intrested if there are pictures of Bill Amac himself performing this illusion.
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Postby John McDonald » 04/11/12 05:22 AM

I would love to see any photographs of Amac performing this but think it unlikely as well. I have seen pictures of the Great Lyle and Granville Taylor perfoming the illusion.
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Postby mehtas » 04/11/12 09:55 AM

John McDonald wrote:
I have seen pictures of the Great Lyle and Granville Taylor perfoming the illusion.



I think those are posed photographs for publicity and not in actual performance.

Why ????

In my opinion they might want to omit a certain something (set up) in those pictures than you would see in a real performance.
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Postby John McDonald » 04/13/12 04:53 PM

I have been searching for pictures of Bill Amac in performance using the amazing resource which is Ask Alexander and came across this. I thought followers of this thread may find it interesting.


"A last-minute hitch prevented my attendance at Amac's funeral last Monday. His three particular friends, Horace Pettifor, Stanley Marelle and Douglas Young, were there to pay their last respects, and thev had devised a wreath made by Madge E. Kwand incorporating the three " Find the Lady " cards, which rested on the coffin." Goodliffe (Charles Neale)Abracadabra Vol. 31
January 14, 1961
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Postby John McDonald » 04/13/12 05:18 PM

There is a great article "A Rich Cabinet of Magical Curiosities"
By Prof Edwin Dawes in the Magic Circular Vol 75 1981 pg 276. (But alas no photo!)
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Postby mehtas » 04/13/12 05:34 PM

Can somebody email or PM me the full effect (step by step) from start to finish ??
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Postby Joe Pecore » 04/13/12 07:21 PM

From "AMAC Elusive Lady Illusion" By A.R.H. in Abracadabra Vol. 44 No. 1140. (DECEMBER, 1967) page 361

.... He told me that Amac was working the local cinema in Walthamstow. Off we went and the two Arthurs each paid ninepence admission. .... Then came 'The Elusive Lady Illusion', or 'The Three Card Monte' The tabs parted to show three tiny stools with red tops and nickel legs. Directly over the three stools was a long board suspended from the flies and stabilised by wires anchored to the stage floor. It wasn't over decorative but made to look narrower than it really was. This board was approximately eight feet from the stage and the stools were about seven or more feet apart. In other words the distance between the two end stools was over fourteen feet. I stress these distances so the reader can appreciate what was to follow. Amac promised to show the audience how the Three Card Trick was done, using a real lady and giant cards. To allay any suspicion, all the stage curtains were drawn aside revealing the brick wall at the rear. 'The Lady', smartly attired in a blue dress, was introduced and then stood on the centre stool. Amac went to the wings, returning with a giant replica of a playing card six feet high and over three feet wide. This large card was hooked on to the board concealing the girl but leaving the legs of the stool plainly in view. A further two cards were suspended from the board and then what followed made everyone sit up! 'Find The Lady ' . . . in the centre of course. When the card was removed . . . she wasn't! There was just the stool. The card was shown and replaced and when the left hand card was removed there was the lady on the stool. Next she flitted invisibly back to the centre stool and the process was repeated with equal success with the third card. Each time the girl was seen on a stool she mysteriously disappeared only to re-appear on another one. Then came the master stroke. While the audience were seeking her wherabouts, a foot (obviously the girl's) popped down from behind one of the cards. The audience were satisfied she was behind that card. But when the card was removed they had been fooled again . . . no girl! For the finale, the two end cards were removed and carried off-stage. This left only the one in the centre so it was obvious were the young lady was. But then, Amac took down the last card from its hook and . . . there was no girl, she had vanished!
All that remained was a bundle, suspended on a cord from the overhead beam. This was unhooked by Amac. It was his top hat and coat which he donned before leaving the stage to thundering applause. Needless to say I was completely baffled.
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Postby Allen Tipton » 04/22/12 09:53 AM

Well let us hope that Granville Taylor manages to get it on film for magic's Posterity.He owns all the rights & has the apparatus and also is the only magician who knows the entire routine.
I believe when Granville performed it in a Magic Circle Show in the 70's, the photos in thier magazine (which I have) were taken during the performance.
I have a number of articles on this legendary illusion-including one very funny-buit was performed--Japanese version. There is an ex Nottingham Guild magician, Les Barlow--Ex President & pro. performer-- who once at the Nottingham Empire Theatre, in the flies above the stage,when The Great Lyle performed it and he saw all!! BUT he will not disclose out of respect any of the secret. I was lucky to meet Amac at a convention in Birmingham in the 50's but as a 20 year old did not dare to ask him about it.
Amac seemed to first perform FTL around 1921. In Will Goldston Magician's Annual 1915-1916 there is a Find The Lady using Giant Thimbles. I often wondered IF this might have inspired Amac to come u with his method. Allen Tipton UK
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Postby John McDonald » 04/27/12 10:54 AM

Thank you to Allen who shared this link about the documentary.

Amac's Find the lady -The Great Faust Teaser!
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Postby Allen Tipton » 04/28/12 06:47 AM

John Mc Donald.. That should be 'Thanks to ALAN (Mehtas) who sent me the link to Faust talking about the illusion & its possible filming.
Madge E Kwand: was a lovley lady and a very original magician.
She once did an Act dressed as an old gardener, complete with appropriate props in a wheelbarrow. and was very kind to me in my teen years as a member of the Staffs. Magic Society.
I was a member since the age of 14(they always looked to the future by encouraging young magicians)& left them in the mid 50's at the age of 22 when I went off to St. Peter's College, part of Birmingham University's Education Dept.
In 1980 she sent me a long letter (still have it) re my magic activities and my then just presented version of Dante', Sim Sala Bim, full evening show.
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Postby John McDonald » 04/29/12 02:35 PM

Thank you Allen and sorry to Alan!
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 04/29/12 07:30 PM

John McDonald wrote:Thank you to Allen who shared this link about the documentary.

Amac's Find the lady -The Great Faust Teaser!


Does the documentary include a performance?
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Postby mehtas » 04/30/12 05:37 AM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Does the documentary include a performance?




The teaser clip doesn't but a week ago I asked them if the main documentary does.

I'm still waiting for the reply.

HERES their twitter page

Back in Jan they said "4 week intensive edit on 'The Great Faust' begins today"

intensive ???????

It seems like they are very much dragging their feet on this documentary now.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 04/30/12 01:31 PM

? does the documentary contain a performance of the act/item?
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Postby John McDonald » 04/30/12 01:48 PM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:? does the documentary contain a performance of the act/item?

I believe it will. The illusion "Find the Lady", was rehearsed and filmed at Pendle Hippodrome theatre in Colne April 11th to 15th 2011.

I believe the film company are having a funding problem for the film at present? Any takers.....
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Postby John McDonald » 04/30/12 02:19 PM

From The Great Faust website......
See http://www.faustsmagicinstore.com/photo_1.html

A London Film Production company currently is making a documentary about FAUST & "FIND THE LADY".

In the late 80's FAUST (Granville Taylor) had explored the possibility of getting this illusion filmed at his local theatre, the Pendle Hippodrome theatre in Colne in Lancashire, and after inspecting the stage facilities he realised that it was possible to rig it up, but as he was still touring with his big illusion show he did not follow up the idea.

In 2008 Faust sold his big illusion show to a buyer in Spain, and all his collection of rare magical equipment made by the late John Martin, the World's Master Magical Mechanic, was sold to a buyer in the U.S.A. Some authentic Chinese robes and a few special costumes were bought by several magicians, and he was delighted when Pendle Hippodrome theatre bought all the rest of his stage costumes. Once again, the possibility of hiring the theatre to film Amac's masterpiece came to mind.

Fate intervened. At the funeral of Granville's brother, Kenneth Taylor, both families and friends met afterwards, and the conversation turned to "Find the Lady", rightly billed as "Positively the Most Amazing Illusion Ever Conceived". Granville owns Amac's original equipment, with sole performing rights throughout the world for this unique illusion since he bought it from Lucille Lyle in 1960. It was decided that it MUST be filmed. Friends and relations set wheels turning, leading to the London film production company deciding to makethedocumentary.

Work on the documentary started in late 2010, with Faust being interviewedin his home to produce a short "teaser" film, which was shown at a conference of documentary film makers in Harrogate. This attracted a lot of interest and sponsors and more filming followed.

The film company hired Pendle Hippodrome theatre in Colne in Lancashire from April 11th to 15th 2011. The get-in and rigging up of the illusion occupied most of the first day, and rehearsals followed with a new "Queen of Hearts" and Caroline, Granville's niece, as an assistant with the three cards. The complete "Find the Lady" act was filmed on the Friday afternoon, with both Taylor families and a few friends in the audience for this historic occasion.

Normally this illusion takes two to three weeks to rehearse before showing it in public, so with very limited rehearsal time, and Faust being 80 years of age, it was very hard work for all concerned. The film company also interviewed two of Faust's ex-stage assistants, Roger Darrock and Stephen Howe (The Sheratons) who toured Japan with him in 1975 and 1976. They also interviewed Dr.Edwin A.Dawes, the magic historian, at his home in Anlaby near Hull.

The documentary will be a marvellous tribute to Faust and to its inventor, Amac, who headlined with this one illusion in the U.S.A. in the 1920's. Amac sold the illusion and sole performing rights to The Great Lyle in 1941, and he featured it in his "Cavalcade of Mystery" and "Mystery Box Revue" shows until his death in 1955. His widow, Lucille Lyle, sold it to Granville Taylor in 1960.

Photographs can be seen on this website on the "Filming Find the Lady" page, and on the "Find the Lady" page on www.faust.i8.com.

Also, see "Filming Find the Lady" page on www.freewebs.com/taylormademagicfor "What the Critics Say".

What Makes"FIND THE lADY" The Most Baffling. Bewildering, and Entertaining Illusion Act of All Time ?

1. "Find the Lady" is unique. In all the world there is only one Giant Three Card Illusion, "Find the Lady", performed in succession by AMAC, THE GREAT LYLE, and FAUST. Performing rights throughout the world are owned by Faust since 1960.

2. Amac's "Find the Lady" is acknowledged by magical experts, historians, and theatre critics, to be the most amazing illusion ever conceived. It has baffled magicians for many decades, and continues to do so. For the general public, once seen, it is never to be forgotten.

3. It is an act with just one illusion. A headline attraction around the world. A proven box-office attraction.

4. For an audience, the stage set-up is supremely simple: three large playing cards hanging from a plain wooden batten, and three stools - widely spaced across the stage for the lady to stand on. When they are invited to "Find the Lady", the gasps of amazement, the surprise, followed by spontaneous applause, soon has them bewitched, bothered, and completely bewildered.

5. No other illusion can be repeated again, and again, and again, like "Find the Lady". Most audiences would soon discover "how it is done" if a trick or illusion is repeated straight away, but with "Find the Lady" each time the audience are invited to place their bets they are led "up the garden path", bringing laughter born of bewilderment as the "Queen of Hearts" finally disappears completely, only to re-appear in the auditorium.

6. The disappearance of the Lady is a strong enough finish for any act, but Amac added the final touch of genius to his masterpiece - the ultimate "pay-off". The backcloth is flown away, allowing the audience to see, for the first time ever, the brick wall at the back of the stage, and the illusion is performed once more under these stringent, testing condition. The brick wall is a memorable sight - never to be forgotten - and forever associated with "that magician with the great three-card trick."

7. During this "explanation", the Lady vanishes even though she can be seen in silhouette, standing on the centre stool and holding a red sheet in front of herself, and the sheet disappears at the same time! The performer is left holding his coat and opera hat for the perfect ending to a most remarkable act.

8. The illusion is a classic - as modern, as mystifying, as entertaining today as when Amac first invented and performed it 80 years ago. Over the years, the best illusion inventors and producers have spent millions of dollars devising spectacular magic shows for Las Vegas and television "specials", but Amac's "Find the Lady" remains unsurpassed, and still lives up to its billing:

"POSITIVELY THE MOST AMAZING ILLUSION EVER CONCEIVED"
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 04/30/12 02:40 PM

? who might we ask if the docmentary will contain a performance of the item?
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Postby John McDonald » 04/30/12 03:17 PM

Not sure I understand you either Jonathan :)
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Postby mehtas » 04/30/12 03:29 PM

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
? who might we ask if the docmentary will contain a performance of the item?



Here is the email of the film "company" that is involved with Faust docmentary.

hello@spicerandmoore.com
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/30/12 03:33 PM

Jonathan, the whole point of the documentary is to show a filmed performance.
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Postby Allen Tipton » 05/03/12 01:37 PM

And there are still photos of Faust & his son loading the apparatus, the apparatus set up, the Lady herself in the Queen of Hearts costume, several of Faust in rehearsal and some of his 2 families, all looking happy, AFTER the filming was completed
Thank heaven Granville, at 83 years young, made the decision to put the entire, legendary, routine on film,for future generations of magicians, as he is the only magician, in the world who knows EXACTLY what it entails.
And he is the only magician to own all the performing rights throughout the world
Stage hands, assistants, magician spectators have described what they thought happened but did they see --all!

We should be more than grateful to him.

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Thus Granville Taylor has earned the his immortality in the future Magic World.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/03/12 04:50 PM

I hope it gets released during his lifetime so folks can give him some appreciation for his efforts.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 05/03/12 04:55 PM

Just found an old promotion piece of Faust in my collection. Sadly it does not have a picture of the AMAC illusion

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Postby Jim Riser » 05/03/12 10:13 PM

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/04/12 07:46 AM

? is this the version of the trick with the wire/harness and the backdrop segment that helps hide the floats?
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Postby John McDonald » 05/04/12 11:38 AM

No :)
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Postby Allen Tipton » 05/04/12 01:32 PM

Johnathan,
Together with John McDonald---a DEFINITE-- NO !

You are still in the old & very wrong explanations given in Greater Magic, Burling Hull's Ency. of Stage Illusions & Illusion Builder to Fu Manchu.

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/04/12 01:43 PM

Correct Allen, that's the place I read about the illusion. At least I try (tried) to learn from books. :D
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Postby Pete Biro » 05/04/12 01:49 PM

My Father was on the bill in vaudeville with AMAC, who did his Find the Lady. My Dad told me as clever as it was it WENT NOWHERE WITH THE AUDIENCES. Zip, nada, totally boring.
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Postby Allen Tipton » 05/04/12 06:24 PM

Perhaps Pete that was when its time as a draw was running out.
As Sawing In Half, even with Dante performing it, did in Australia.
From what I read-- the Keith Organisation saw Amac perform his Act and offered long term contracts PROVIDING he scrapped ALL the Act except Find The Lady--or The Elusive Lady as it was then called.
Perhaps also--Amac was not that good as a performer.
I met him in 1950 when I was 17 and he seemed a nice, quiet man but I, even now, believe, he did not have that charisma necessary to really stir an audience with his personality.
Over the years, as someone as respected and knowledgable as yourself, must know--we have had magicians with clever tricks or illusions but NEVER went over with audiences.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/04/12 08:09 PM

I thought Steinmeyer did a great job with it at the LA History Conference a few years back. It was pretty mystical.
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