Tony Giorgio & Sam the Plumber

Discuss the views of your favorite Genii columnists.

Postby Jeff Eline » 02/04/03 09:36 AM

Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed reading this column. While I'm not sure I would have had the mettle for it, I think living in the days of Vaudeville, card sharps, dice mechanics and Sam the Plumber would have been facinating. Probably over romanticizing it alittle, but it was still a good read.
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 02/04/03 07:13 PM

I liked the article too Jeff. I have always savored and enjoyed Mr. Giorgio's articles in the Genii . His contibution to the magazine is the ingredient/aura of a 1940's Hollywood replete with hustlers and card sharps, and Ciros nightclub (One of the legendary Alan Wakeling's performance venues). His behind the scenes stories of magic in the movies are also wonderful.

My favorite Giorgio article is the one about the times he hung around Jimmy Grippo and the mob. Herein we catch a glimpse of Grippo's card index work along with tasty tidbits of Mafia lore. Wonderful reading!

Hey-the guy had a part in The Godfather. Albeit, it was a brief appearance but nonetheless enough to earn him an element of mystique. Mr. Giorgio is the real deal.
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Postby Geno Munari » 02/04/03 07:34 PM

Tony worked for Jimmy Grippo as a fighter and had every move that Jimmy's brother Jan and Jimmy did. Tony would smoke a cigar and palm a card.......wonderful move and great misdirection.

Jimmy's brother Jan, produced the Bowery Boys (Eastside Kids) starring Leo Gorcy.
He also produced the movie Valentino, about the famous film star......and before he died he wanted to produce a movie about Nick the Greek....

The Grippo DVD is coming out soon that will give actual work that Grippo used. It will be the close-uo worker's reference, in my opinion. By far he was a master and if I don't produce the work, I will be omitting a piece of original and fantastic magic history.

He was truly phenominal!

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Postby Leonard Hevia » 02/04/03 08:56 PM

Fantastic Geno! Will you be releasing the Skinner performance tapes on DVD soon as well?

According to that Giorgio essay on Jimmy Grippo, Mr. Giorgio mentions that he wasn't actually Grippo's prizefighter, but was thought to have been by the mobsters that pulled up next to him and Jimmy to invite them to dinner. For a moment Tony believed he was "going for a ride."
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/06/03 11:43 AM

Geno... you went public with the Grippo release. Great... I hated to know this and not talk about it (I didn't want to blow your announcement).

Having sat with and watched Grippo his material is truly unbelievable.

He, like Johnny Paul, were from another planet as far as how well and how original they did things.

Looking forward to the material. :cool:
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Postby Jeff Eline » 02/06/03 07:30 PM

Originally posted by Geno Munari:
Tony worked for Jimmy Grippo as a fighter and had every move that Jimmy's brother Jan and Jimmy did. Tony would smoke a cigar and palm a card.......wonderful move and great misdirection.

Tony was a fighter? Isn't that a bit dangerous for someone that does card work?

And I'm sure this will flaunt my youth and inexperience, but who was Jimmy Grippo? I've heard the name, but not sure exactly who he is.

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Postby Pete Biro » 02/06/03 10:34 PM

Grippo was the "house magician" for high-rollers at Caesars Palace.

He worked for the important guests, doing private close up magic.

However, before I got to know him a little bit, I happened to be at Caesars, working for them as a photographer on a project, and noticed him at a table by himself in the coffee shop one morning. I had my partner with me, but wanted to go over and say hello and meet Grippo.

I went over to his table to introduce myself. He said, "Let me do something for you." I said, "Well, I can't stay here, my partner is over there..." Grippo said, "I'll join you."

He came over and did about half an hour of incredible card magic. All original stuff.

You could touch a card, look at it and he could IMMEDIATELY produce that card out of his pocket.

Of course those "in the know" knew that he was a master at the card index. Just how fast he was was unbelievable, and no fumbling.

He had many other effects, but that seemed to be his trademark.

Incredible as it may seem, Geno Munari, a close, longtime friend of Grippo is putting the material out on DVD.

And, a total freak of luck, when Grippo died some of his clothing went to a charity... and (I don't know the details, maybe Geno will clarify) somehow Geno obtained his jackets, with the "real work."

Believe me, and others will back me up, Grippo was a one-of-a-kind, a genius, and one really nice guy! :genii:
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Postby Terry » 02/07/03 05:59 AM

Jeff,

On EBay, there is a book called "Worlds Greatest Magicians" by Hyla & Clark. It contains numerous photos and stories about Vernon, Goshman, Grippo, etc. This was my first exposure to Mr. Grippo. Second was the 1992 IBM or SAM in Las Vegas. He was in the dealers room and did a few things for those gathered around. He even autographed his business card for me.
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Postby Steve Ehlers » 02/09/03 03:14 AM

Grippo was always my favorite magician. Leonard, I also enjoy Tony's column but must have missed the story regarding Jimmy Grippo. Do you have any idea what issue it was in?

Thanks

Steve
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Postby Jeff Eline » 02/09/03 08:29 AM

Originally posted by steve ehlers:
Grippo was always my favorite magician. Leonard, I also enjoy Tony's column but must have missed the story regarding Jimmy Grippo. Do you have any idea what issue it was in?

Thanks

Steve
Steve, It's in the Feb issue with Al Baker on the cover.
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Postby Steve Ehlers » 02/11/03 08:43 AM

Leonard,

I'm asking about the Grippo Story, I read the Georgio story. I always enjoy Tony's column.

Steve
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Postby Guest » 03/14/03 10:00 PM

The most incredible, I mean absolutely "incredible" trick I ever saw was Grippo on Johnny Carson's doing' Card to Sealed Envelope'. No one that I knew or asked seemed to have the vaguest idea of how he did it. I was taking some lessons with Slydini at the time and put it to him. HIs answer was, "I think he's using an Index". Did Tony actually know more and not want to reveal it so he said "think"? He never went beyond that and courtesy required that I not push him, but I have been puzzled now for gosh knows how many years. Maybe I should have asked more. I'll be eagerly awaiting the releases and hoping. . .
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Postby Brad Henderson » 03/14/03 10:33 PM

May I ask if these DVDs will contain any footage of Grippo himself performing? I would give my eye teeth to see that.

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Postby Geno Munari » 03/15/03 04:58 AM

Yes they will. I have several pieces of good footage of Jimmy performing,
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 03/15/03 10:25 AM

The how and why of Grippo's fantastic approach will soon see the light of day. Combined with Geno Munari's DVD, you will have all the pieces of the puzzle.

Onward...
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Postby Guest » 03/16/03 12:07 AM

On a recent visit to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., I ordered a copy of a book of magic tricks by Jimmy Grippo.

It was a thick book with a lot of tricks, but the instructions on each one were brief. I had a very short time before the library closed, and the only trick of note that I recall is "How to Tear a Telephone Book in Half," which is not really magic.

Anybody know about this book? Is it any good?
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Postby Steve Ehlers » 03/16/03 11:14 AM

David,

The book was published in 1981. Geno Munari was the collaborator and he could answer any questions you have regarding the book.

Steve
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Postby Steve Hook » 03/24/03 09:54 AM

1) Does anyone know of a picture on the Internet of Tony Giorgio?

2) Does anyone know of a picture of Tony Giorgio as Bruno Tattaglia they can post (it's not on the Internet either)?

Google, as good as it is, was no help so far. Maybe John Edward could peer out and find one... or send me one. (I'm in my office in Orlando, John.)

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/24/03 11:16 AM

Steve, the types of parts which Tony played usually didn't get coverage by the studio still photographer. So, Paramount released NO stills of Tony in The Godfather, other than the famous one of Luca Brasi getting garotted, in which you can see the back and side of Tony's head.
Tony will be on the cover of the May issue of Genii, and we have done dozens of frame grabs from his films which will accompany the piece.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 03/24/03 12:37 PM

I saw an episode of Adam-12 on cable (TV-Land?) a few months ago. Giorgio played a generic thug on it. I'm pretty sure that this episode was not listed in the Internet Movie Database.
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