My Genii Routine

Discuss the views of your favorite Genii columnists.

Postby JR Russell » 02/08/08 12:03 PM

I have a new way of reading Genii each month. It all started when I was trying to figure out what to do with the collection of magazines growing on my bookshelf and an attempt to organize everything. I picked up a Oct 1999 issue and started reading about Jaspers 80th Birthday and found a David Acer trick Bespectable in the Magicana section that I realized I could use, now that I wear glasses. I also realized that there was a ton of good stuff that I either missed or forgot so I needed to come up with a new approach.

I did not make it far in my organizing attempt but I decided that each month when my current issue arrives, I would also go back 5 years and grab that issue and re-read it. Then when I saw Roberto Giobbis session column (one of my favorite columns in ANY magic publication) this month I saw that he quoted Dai Vernon from the Vernon Touch and I thought it would be interesting to read a single section from Vernon Touch book each month. When I opened my copy I saw that it begins in January 1969, so I was essentially starting from the beginning of the book! So I read January and February and I am on my way to finishing the book.

In his February column Vernon tells a very amusing Charlie Miller story where he gives an example of Charlies thoroughness. Charlie spent months learning Swedish because he wanted to write a letter to Nate Leipzig who was Swedish and he wanted to make an impression if and when he ever met him. Later when Vernon was with Leipzig, Leipzig showed Vernon a letter that Charlie had written and asked Vernon about the letter. I cant make heads or tails of this letter, Its written in some foreign language. I think it is Swedish. I dont speak any Swedish!

Vernon also writes about a magician named Lou Derman and his risque entertainment...for my money, (Lou) is one of the best there is as as far as this entertainment. Can anybody tell me some more about Lou Derman?

So there you have it. The first thing I read in Genii is Richards Genii Speaks (another one of the great columns in any magic publication) and now I will add the Vernon Touch to the mix. As for next month, Im not too sure who is on the March 2003 issue but if the mail delays my March 2008 issue, Ill start early and also see what Vernon had to say in March 1969.

Just in case you were wondering, the Feb 2003 issue featured The Secret Ways of Al Baker on the cover, another great issue.

Glad I subscribe!

:D
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Postby Adrian Kuiper » 02/08/08 03:34 PM

Lou Derman had a column in Genii each month. I think it was called "Lou Derman Speaks".

On another note, he was very involved in the TV show "All In The Family" as a writer.

Don't recall anything else right now.

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Postby Jim Martin » 02/08/08 06:09 PM

I know that Lou Derman was a writer/producer on the 70's CBS hit 'All in the Family'.
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Postby Mitch Dutton » 02/08/08 06:39 PM

Lou Derman was also co-creator and head writer of Mr.Ed.
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Postby castawaydave » 02/08/08 06:41 PM

As a magic kid In the 70s I heard of a little book by a guy named Lou Derman, something such as "Add Comedy to Your Act". I ordered it.

When it arrived, it came with my 6 bucks back, and a note from Mr. Derman's daughter explaining that he had died the week of my order, and that he wanted me to have a copy.

He was a t.v. writer who performed regularly at the Castle in the "old days", and who apparently was a card. --Another one of those guys who was, reportedly, a pistol (like Francis Carlyle) who always romped in the close-up room.

Fast forward to a couple years ago. My sister had HUGELY difficult back surgery.
During her recovery, she became addicted to watching re-runs of "Mr. Ed" (who it turns out was hilariously smart-assed for a horse; who knew? [rimshot]).

That show features a magic theme, or mention surprizingly frequently (Wilber, Ed's owner in a talent contest, Halloween shows, etc..).

Who wrote all those episodes? Lou Derman.

He was cool to me when he knew he was dying, and helped my sister through some horrible times.

I only know that little about him, but it's good.
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Postby EdAndres » 02/08/08 09:37 PM

Look for the re-run... Wilbur takes Ed to a S.A.M. convention to enter the magic contest. Their act is silly T.V. comedy(no magic). They do show Blackstone Sr.(vanishing bird cage with repeat),Dick Zimmerman(Ring and string dancing thing) and Lou does a fast cups and balls. Very cool.

Ed(Mr. if you want)
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Postby castawaydave » 02/08/08 11:29 PM

Blast you 10 minute editing rule!!

WilbUr...
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Postby Ian Kendall » 02/09/08 02:03 AM

JR - I have two piles of magazines on my bookshelf, one for Magic and one for Genii (there's a third for 'other' but it's a lot smaller). I grab one or two old copies a day to flick through. It's interesting to rediscover articles that I would have glossed over ten or fifteen years ago now that my tastes and interests have changed.

I'm surprised more people don't do this (or they do, but are keeping quiet).

I'd never heard of Lou, but I saw an episode of Mr Ed once, a long time ago.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Matthew Field » 02/09/08 04:24 AM

Eugene Burger recommends reading one magic book from 20 years ago after you read a new one.

I just purchased some back issues of Pabular very inexpensively, and I read those on my train rides into London when I'm not reading something new (for review).

We too often pass by excellent material because something new is on the horizon. Josh Jay's "Talk About Tricks" DVDs were good because they highlighted some of the excellent material in his column that I admit I glossed over.

And while I can empathize with Mike Close's statement in the Feb Genii that he won't recommend individual tricks in a volume because, dammit, he had to find those tricks himself, I used to love David Regal's occasional column in Genii in which magicians of note did just that.

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Postby Pete McCabe » 02/09/08 07:04 PM

You can get the complete Phoenix on CD for $20. Copy it onto your hard drive and you'll always have something older to read.
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Postby David Alexander » 02/12/08 10:24 PM

When I was performing close-up for the Trader Vic Organization in the late 1960s I'd drop by the Castle after work. You could always tell when Lou Derman was nearing the end of his set by the HUGE laugh that poured out of the close-up gallery. He was consistent and usually got bigger laughs than anyone.
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Postby castawaydave » 02/15/08 10:17 PM

David,
This post truly makes me jealous: You were smack-dab in the middle of it--at the CRUX. --Vic's (R.I.P. :( ), the Castle, and remembering the zazz brought about by Lou Derman.

Please relate as much about Lou as you can.
He is almost forgotten today, as mentioned, I remember hearing he was supposed to be a bon vivant, like Francis Carlyle, Paul Rosini--raconteurs who were so personally charming they just slayed rooms of folks.

--And that cache because The Professor thought he was great.

P.S.
Purely guessing (i.e., don't know if he wrote it or not, but he probably did): one of my favorite bits on Mr. Ed has always struck me as a Lou Derman type gag.
N.A.S.A. is trying out different animals to send into space.
Scientists in a lab get ready to put Mr. Ed through several tests. They say, "We put a carrot here, inside this cage which is electrified. When the dumb animal goes for the carrot he will learn a shocking lesson".
Mr Ed casually saunters over to the plug for the cage, pulls it out, strolls back and enjoys the carrot.
Of course the scientists flip. Ahh innocent entertainment...

P.P.S.
Mr Ed was damned sarcastic for a horse.
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Postby castawaydave » 02/15/08 10:57 PM

Messers Biro and Maven must have some recollection of Mr. Derman, no?
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Postby Q. Kumber » 02/16/08 03:36 AM

If memory serves Lou Derman had a regular column in Genii magazine.

His brother Bill Derman went into trade shows later in life and wrote the book Card Tricks That Get The Money and The patter That Gets The Bookings, as well as developing a no-slit card in envelope, instantly resettable routine.

Lou Derman had an ongoing fued with Clarke Crandall which prompted Crandall to remark, "Any man who can put words in a horse's mouth should have no trouble talking through his own posterior."
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Postby Steve Bryant » 02/16/08 02:05 PM

I was hoping others would flesh this out, but, as they haven't, here is a bit more:

In the golden early days of the Magic Castle Lou was known as Friday Night Lou because he would do a single comedy show late on Friday nights (around 11 or 11:30 as I recall) in the Close-up Gallery. There was magic, but also lots of mildly risque comedy. More on that later.

In this era Lou also had a column in Linking Ring called Leger-Dermania. It was full of comments on the Magic Castle and advice on performing, but written in a very light tone, full of gags. Sort of like Robert Orben - lots of setups and punch lines to get his point across.

And the wonderful book already mentioned, Add Comedy to Your Act. In addition to some of the best advice on performing ever, it included 50 comedy card tricks. Great stuff.

His brother Bill, as mentioned above, was also a performer and magical author and inventor. Bill's son (and Lou's nephew) Nathan performed for a while at the Castle as Nate the Great.

You can find Lou mentioned 25 times in Vernon's column, collected by RK in the wonderful book, The Vernon Touch. Credit Lou with Vernon's best gag: "Lou Derman gave me a line that I like to use in my opening remarks when I work the Castle: 'I am 76 years old and have been doing magic for over seventy years - I wasted the first six years.'"

Back to Lou's act: it was delightful and one that I loved attending. A perfect night for me with new guests would be to catch Albert Goshman early and Lou Derman late (after which we would leave the Castle and go to the Playboy Club, where breakfast was $1.50!).

He would do such things as:

The Pea Can (and explains in Add Comedy to Your Act how to make this inoffensive)

Scare a sponge bunny into producing "pellets" which he would sweep into a spectator's lap

A cut rope routine with comedy scissors (he had a whole collection of them)

Finding a spectator's card rolled up and protruding from a rubber chicken's bottom. Screaming when the spectator pulled the card out.

And my favorite:

Ribbon spreading a deck of cards across the table and saying, "Think of a card, any card you see. Would it impress you if I reached down and picked up your card? " Lou would move his hand back and forth over the cards, then grasp one of the cards on the end and lift. ALL the cards would come up, to a big laugh, as it was an Electric Deck. "It would scare the hell out of me!"

I've always thought someone should do a book on Lou, detailing his act and including all his writings, as they deserve a wider audience. The missing link is the act itself, with all the tricks and gags. Perhaps a job for Nate the Great.
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Postby castawaydave » 02/16/08 03:25 PM

Thank you for that!
:D
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Postby David Alexander » 02/16/08 08:11 PM

Originally posted by Steve Bryant:
I was hoping others would flesh this out, but, as they haven't, here is a bit more:
snip...

Finding a spectator's card rolled up and protruding from a rubber chicken's bottom. Screaming when the spectator pulled the card out.

When I was around this particular effect always produced the biggest reaction. Standing at the bar you could always tell when Lou found the card in the chicken's ass, the reaction was that loud.
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Postby magicbar » 03/27/08 12:49 PM

you ought to check out Bill's Tricks/Patter book. It really is a how to be a success in trade show and corp type shows. It has the Sach's Dice routine and a very eclectic mix of other routines and stories.
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Postby JFox » 04/08/08 08:09 PM

Lou Derman had a column in Genii each month. I think it was called "Lou Derman Speaks".

__________________________________

I believe it was actually called "Ledger-DERMAN", and it was a Linking Ring column (I'm not home at the moment to verify).

I loved the "Mr. Ed" series!
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Postby Bill Duncan » 04/08/08 11:19 PM

Steve Bryant wrote:He would do such things as:

The Pea Can (and explains in Add Comedy to Your Act how to make this inoffensive)

Scare a sponge bunny into producing "pellets" which he would sweep into a spectator's lap

Here's the part that puzzles me. Why would someone who dumps fake rabbit [censored] on someone be worried about the fake pee being offensive?

Oh, and thanks for giving me a reason to buy a set of sponge bunnies...
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Postby Joe Pecore » 04/11/08 09:48 AM

Steve Bryant,
I hope you don't mind. I used a lot of your post to create a MagicPedia article about Lou Derman.
Share your knowledge on the MagicPedia wiki.
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Postby Joe Naud » 04/11/08 10:29 AM

I think Lou is speaking to a lot of us from the other side. So the other night I am reading this thread and decided to get my copy of Vernon Touch and I pick up reading where I left off several months ago and what article do I read, yes that's right, one about Lou Derman. Thanks so much to all for the great stories.
Peace, Joe
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