The Show Must Go On

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Robert Allen
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The Show Must Go On

Postby Robert Allen » January 3rd, 2006, 8:59 pm

The title of this thread occurred to me despite myself not being able to fulfill such a title. But I saw Lance Burton in the Rose Parade on his float, in the rain, and the title of the thread seemed self evident.

Talk about sub-optimal performing conditions. Not just then, but 5 miles in low temps, wind and rain...and then presumably having to go back to work in Vegas? Lance is not a favorite performer to view, not that I dispute his skillz, but after seeing him on the float, I can only grovel before him. What a guy!

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Guest » January 4th, 2006, 5:25 am

As the late, great Noel Coward said, "WHY must the show go on?"

It seems a bit ridiculous!

Dentists don't say, "The cavity MUST be filled!" Or lawyers, "The briefs MUST be filed!" Or plumbers, "The drain MUST be unplugged!"

So why MUST the show go on?

Damned silliness. Probably something to do with show biz tradition.

However, remember what Sir Winston Churchill had to say about tradition: "What is naval tradition? Rum, sodomy, and the lash!"

Eric Rose
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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Eric Rose » January 4th, 2006, 8:01 am

Originally posted by Peter Marucci:


So why MUST the show go on?

Because I spent the advance portion of the check a month ago... :(

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 4th, 2006, 8:02 am

There is a compulsion among show-business folks that virtually no matter what happens, when people have come to see you performm, you don't disappoint them: you perform. The show must go on.
Not only does it speak to the dedication of the performer toward his or her audience, but it also speaks to the psychological state of someone when they're performing. Most thoughts of real life leave your mind. If you have a cold, for example, you forget about it when you're on stage.
So, those are two good reasons why the show must go on.
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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Eric Rose » January 4th, 2006, 8:08 am

I read once that Lou Costello performed (either radio or tv) a few hours after his young son drowned in a pool. He left immediately after performing and Bud Abbott announced to the audience what a professional Costello was.

I've always had mixed feelings about that story. I wonder where Mrs. Costello stood on the topic.

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Robert Allen » January 4th, 2006, 8:30 am

I heard that Lance was performing magic while on the float, but that the rain forced him to fall back to just standing and waving.

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby mago » January 4th, 2006, 8:56 am

On December 15, 1985, we opened the close-up room that my boss then, Wolf Ruvinskii had built for me to perform in.

I had a temperature of 102 along with the flu.

The "show must go on" and I did my opening performance in front of the cameras and all.

Looking back at it, I don't think that I would do it again. lol..

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Ian Kendall » January 4th, 2006, 8:57 am

I've always tried to live by Sammy Davis Jr's definition of a professional; someone who does a good job even when he doesn't feel like it.

Another point, to paraphrase Harry Chapin; before your next show, go out and have a look at the audience coming in. These are people who have chosen you to entertain them, and are giving you their hard earned money for you to do what you would probably do for free anyway. It's easy to say that if the show is cancelled they have not lost anything, but the reality is that they have lost an evening.

Which would explain some of the atrocious conditions I've worked in over the years...

Take care, Ian

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Pete Biro
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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Pete Biro » January 4th, 2006, 9:04 am

LANCE DID PERFORM in the rain.... on Channel 7... I depended on what station you were watching... I switched to another channel and they missed his effect. He showed a fan of Giant Cards, mimed to the audience to "think of one" and then he closed the fan, turned cards around and removed one. And it was the thought of card.

When the parade was re-run (all day on 5) they edited it out for some reason.

And one station, the one that commented on him not doing anything was in a different location down the street and they missed what he did.
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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Pete Biro » January 4th, 2006, 9:06 am

Oh, re: The Show Must Go On... I remember one show we were doing when I had a horrible sick stomach and (as an assistant) each time I went offstage vomited into a bucket we put in a handy spot... but when I went back on stage the smile and perky walk was there.

My dad, in vaudeville, an acrobatic skater flew off the stage into the orchestra pit once (landed on the drums) climbed back out and went on with the show even though he was in killer pain.
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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Guest » January 4th, 2006, 9:18 am

While I must admit I have never let an audience down by not appearing, it has been more by good luck than by good managment.

Richard Kaufman writes: "There is a compulsion among show-business folks that virtually no matter what happens, when people have come to see you performm, you don't disappoint them: you perform. The show must go on."

Actually, since most show-business folks have minimum education and few marketable skills, it is more a fear of being fired than any love for the audience.

The song, There's No Business Like Show Business, pretty well sums it up: The lyrics say the show must go on but all the reasons relate to the performer and not the paying audience! (YOUR name up in lights; a star on YOUR dressing room door; nowhere can YOU get that happy feeling . . .")

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby David Alexander » January 4th, 2006, 9:25 am

The show must go on because the performer's problems are not the audience's problems. An audience has shown up, paid their money and expect to be entertained. Professionals set aside their personal lives (which, despite what you see in the tabloids, is no business of the audience's) and deliver to the audience what it paid for. That's what professionals are paid to do.

I don't know if Peter Marucci is a lawyer or not, but yes, the "briefs must be filed" when facing certain deadlines or court imposed restrictions. And yes, Peter, the drain "must be unplugged" because the plumber's personal problems are not those of the people with the plugged drain.

Years ago I did a Christmas show a day or so after my older brother suffered a heart attack and died. I didn't need the money so much as I wasn't about to inflict my problems on a bunch of strangers, inconvenience them, putting them in the position of having to scramble at the last minute to find someone to replace me, if they could. I did my job, delivered the entertainment, and mourned my brother privately.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 4th, 2006, 9:30 am

Peter wrote:
"Actually, since most show-business folks have minimum education and few marketable skills, it is more a fear of being fired than any love for the audience."

Now there's a lovely sentiment.
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Joe M. Turner
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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Joe M. Turner » January 4th, 2006, 9:39 am

I think part of "the show must go on" mentality is simply that professionals deliver what is promised to the client. When I was in the corporate world, "the show must go on" was certainly just as meaningful regarding our deliverables as it could possibly be regarding a theatrical performance.

Some of the brightest and most capable people I've ever met are in show business. I suspect many of these people can and would be successful in any enterprise they chose. Others, I agree, are totally unequipped to handle anything other than show business. But it seems an overly broad statement to make, suggesting that "most showbiz folk" have few marketable skills. I've known a lot of actors, musicians, dancers, magicians, writers, directors, etc. and most of the ones I've known had at least some skills I would consider marketable outside the theatre or entertainment arena. Perhaps I just perceived that comment as being a bit more snarky than Peter intended.

As for Lance Burton -- he exuded charisma, humor, and dedication... but the card trick didn't fly in my opinion. The hosts on the network we were watching (HGTV) were already knocking on the door of the method before the float had even passed. ("Which card were you thinking of?") Fortunately, they quickly shifted topics. I can imagine that there would be good reason to edit that particular trick out of repeat broadcasts and frankly, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a restriction on rebroadcasting the trick had been planned from the beginning.

I think he was smart to go out there in the rain and do the parade, though. Every performer who was seen giving their best in that dreary situation derived a good bit of "star polishing" for their efforts. And that's good business acumen. (Which was, by the way, a skill/trait on which I was evaluated quarterly when I was in consulting.)

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Pete Biro
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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Pete Biro » January 4th, 2006, 12:09 pm

ARghhh... boy am I glad I missed THAT... SHEESH :whack:
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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Tom Ladshaw » January 4th, 2006, 12:40 pm

Originally posted by Peter Marucci:
Actually, since most show-business folks have minimum education and few marketable skills, it is more a fear of being fired than any love for the audience.
Criminy. Speak for yourself. There are *so* many things to pick apart about the above ...but let's just go with: 'Even those show-business folks with "minimum education and few marketable skills" no doubt know at least enough to not publicly make asinine generalizations like that.'

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Jeffrey Cowan » January 4th, 2006, 12:51 pm

Originally posted by Peter Marucci:


Dentists don't say, "The cavity MUST be filled!" Or lawyers, "The briefs MUST be filed!"
Actually, lawyers do say "The briefs must be filed." We also say it frequently. There are statutory deadlines that control these things, and it's one UGLY can of worms that gets opened if one blows the deadline, especially when hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars are at stake.
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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Gord » January 4th, 2006, 2:40 pm

Originally posted by Peter Marucci:

Dentists don't say, "The cavity MUST be filled!" Or lawyers, "The briefs MUST be filed!" Or plumbers, "The drain MUST be unplugged!"
I remember once many years ago when I worked for my Brother's electrical maintenance company. I was teamed with his only other full timer, a certified electrician whose job it was to train the poor sap of an apprentice that I was.
One week we were on the top of Toronto's Eaton Center (A major shopping mall downtown) replacing wireing that worked a defrosting system that melted ice on all of the glass on the top of the mall.
The temperature was in the negatives and the wind chill didn't help, expecially since we were approx. five to six stories up. I was frozen to the bone and cound barely grasp a tool, let alone use it.
I made mention that maybe we could come back another day when it was less freezing.
He said, "We aren't hired for another day, we were hired for today and today is when we do this. I don't care if it's a new ice age coming we are doing this job today! It's what being a professional is all about."
And so the "show" went on and I froze.
It is, after all, what being a professional is all about.

By the way, I don't do electrical maintenance any more. I got used to the weather but the shocks just got on my nerves after a while. (Oh yes, and I was really bad at it.)

Gord

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 4th, 2006, 5:11 pm

"... the shocks just got on my nerves after a while."

That's damn funny.

Yes, the show must go on. It doesn't matter if I'm jetlagged after returning from overseas, or if I have a lousy cold, or the flu. It won't even matter if I break my arm, leg, or whatever. Genii MUST always come out each month ... the show must go on.
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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Guest » January 4th, 2006, 11:18 pm

"The show must go on" is the oldest tenet of show business. Perhaps it has no philosophical verity, but the things men live by are rarely subject to logical proof. [Robert A. Heinlein--Double Star ]
Heinlein's protagonist realizes that while he doesn't care about saving interplanetary civilization, he is willing to risk his life for theatrical tradition.

OK, here's what Noel Coward had to say about it, and here, under the same title, is Penn Jillette's take on it.

I first heard the Lou Costello story from essayist Florence King :

I FOUND myself aboard another time capsule when the Houston Oilers fined football star David Williams for skipping out on a game in order to attend the birth of his child. The Sensitivity Patrol led by Anna Quindlen flew into the usual hysterical rage, but I flew back to the 1940s and sat on the floor beside our huge Philco console with my ear pressed against the brocaded vent so as not to miss a word of Abbott & Costello.

This particular show was as wonderfully wacky as the others. Not once did Lou Costello give any indication that anything was wrong. Not until the next day did we learn that he had gone on the air only hours after receiving word that his son had drowned. No one called him "insensitive" for leaving his wife alone while he made the whole country laugh; in the flood of admiring editorials that followed, one word stood out: "trouper."

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Rafael Benatar » January 5th, 2006, 2:30 am

Three months ago, the show had to go on for me. I was working at a restaurant, at one end of a long table, for a group of 20 pharmaceutical people. 5 minutes thru my show, I cut my thumb tip or, rather, the tip of my thumb during a rope routine. I was feeling so confident with the routine that I looked away at the crucial moment.

Blood began to pour. Stains over the table cloth. My yellow jacket looked like Vito Lupo's act. Isnt' it a perfect illusion? Ladies and gentlemen, this is wat a live performance is about. No problem, let me just get a napkin... uhhhhh we're gonna have to stop.

One of the waiters was very helpful (more than a doctor that was around, who was giving me long-term advice) and put some tape tightly around my finger to stop the thing, about the size of a lightbulb. Well, I finished the show, with some improvising and skipping what I had to skip (like running cards with my left thumb) and I could do my cups and balls to finish (being careful with one particular move) with a huge success. Three stitches. Three scissors stitches. Could have found the missing bit had I looked for it.

Something to think about. Could have been worse. There should be a limit. What happens with payment, especially considering there was an agent involved? What do legal guys have to say other than put it in the contract? Spectators were nice and didn't mind waiting ten minutes and gave me lot of compliments, but when I got home (after hospital) I realized no one had asked if it was OK for me to continue. Maybe I underplayed it, avoiding to make a big deal out of it. And I understand. Well, sort of. They're minding their own corporate thing and you're not there to bring them a problem.

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Bill Palmer » January 5th, 2006, 3:05 am

Originally posted by Peter Marucci:
While I must admit I have never let an audience down by not appearing, it has been more by good luck than by good managment.

Richard Kaufman writes: "There is a compulsion among show-business folks that virtually no matter what happens, when people have come to see you performm, you don't disappoint them: you perform. The show must go on."

Actually, since most show-business folks have minimum education and few marketable skills, it is more a fear of being fired than any love for the audience.

Peter, there are many of us in show business who have advanced degrees and multiple skills.

And I'm sure that you have never disappointed an audience by not appearing. Quite the contrary.
Bill Palmer, MIMC

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Ian Kendall » January 5th, 2006, 3:08 am

Mac King told a similar story in a Magic issue several years ago - he sliced the top off his thumb in a rope routine and carried on through the show.

The next show an audience member (who had been at the previous show) asked at the end why he didn't do the trick where he cut off his thumb...

Last year I managed to cut my finger (on a Dean's Box, of all things) which was a bit of a surprise. Now I always carry sticking plasters in my case (I also took a chunk out of my finger in one of my early street shows in 92 doing a rope routine. It seems history repeats itself more often than we think...)

At least, come Crispin's day, we can all show our scars...

Take care, Ian

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Guest » January 5th, 2006, 4:53 am

Bill Palmer writes:
"Peter, there are many of us in show business who have advanced degrees and multiple skills.
"And I'm sure that you have never disappointed an audience by not appearing. Quite the contrary."

Right on both counts!

My point was a generality, though, and there has been nothing in this thread to refute it -- just anecdotal incidents (and that's NOT proof!)

Besides, the original query was WHY and WHO SAYS?

And that still remains unanswered.

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David Regal
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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby David Regal » January 5th, 2006, 5:54 am

When I was in the comedy group Chicago City Limits, many things happened. One night I ran into a fill-in cast member in wings, as I was rushing to exit and he to enter. Heads collided, I saw stars. The lenses of a pair of prop glasses broke and impaled my now-gushing forehead, glass went into the other guy's eye...the show went on - I went to the doctor's after. Another night I lept into the air at the top of the show, and came down on my left foot in such a way that it sprained and I crumbled to the floor in agony. I did the rest of the show using prop crutches we had in the back as my ankle swelled to the size of Gazzo's final load. Another fond memory is doing a show right after I had five (yes, five) wisdom teeth removed. I was on Percodan, and one of our bits was an "expos" of three-card monte. I played a street hustler doing the hype on an overturned cardboard box. We did it like a public service ad. The joke was, after a quick demo of a tourist picking the wrong card and losing his money, the "tape" (this was live) was played in slow-motion, at which point you'd see an accomplice enter, switch the cards, grab the ass of the tourist's wife, etc. Well, it turns out that doing the hype on Percodan is different than when not on Percodan. Cards were sailing over the box, across the stage, onto the floor... I felt great, though.

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Roy McIlwee » January 5th, 2006, 8:49 am

In case anyone is interested, the saying "The Show Must Go On" is widely accepted as being first said by Sir Harry Lauder. Upon hearing of his sons death in World war I, many urged Harry not to take the stage that night but Harry insisted and is said to have said, "The Show Must Go On". The late great Scottish entertainer is said to have fainted right after his show. Just trying to contribute, Roy McIlwee, Scranton, Penna.

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Jeff Eline » January 5th, 2006, 9:13 am

Originally posted by Rafael Benatar:
I cut my thumb tip or, rather, the tip of my thumb during a rope routine.
Mac King told a similar story in a Magic issue several years ago - he sliced the top off his thumb in a rope routine and carried on through the show.
Originally posted by Ian Kendall:
I also took a chunk out of my finger in one of my early street shows in 92 doing a rope routine.
Where's OSHA when you need 'em! I'll stick to cards.

David Alexander
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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby David Alexander » January 5th, 2006, 1:01 pm

Peter states, apparently through self-knowledge, that, "Actually, since most show-business folks have minimum education and few marketable skills, it is more a fear of being fired than any love for the audience."

I've known a number of people in the upper and middle levels of show business and I can assure you that many (most) of them are more than capable of working in other fields with great success. This is evidenced by the fact that many actors/performers have investments in businesses not necessarily associated with show business.

Several of us have explained various reasons why the "show must go on," but Peter fails to understand them. "Who?" he asks, says this, and "Why?"

Simply put, you Peter, are the "Who," by agreeing with a client that you'll be at a certain place at a certain time to deliver a known quantity and quality of entertainment. Clients make plans and the entertainer is not working in a vacuum.

The "Why" is equally simple: You're being paid to show up and deliver, your word (let alone your legal/contractual obligation) should be worth something, and, finally, your audience doesn't know or care about your personal life or problems. They have their own. Your problems should not be imposed on strangers.

Carolyn Kepcher, the female half of Donald Trump's advisors on "The Apprentice" wrote an interesting business book, "Carolyn 101." One of her Good Employee Rules was, "Bring me a solution, not problem." This applies to those of us who sell entertainment services. We provide solutions to bookers, not problems.

When I do a gig I take my own sound system, just in case the one provided isn't appropriate. A couple of club date performers I know take their own spot light, just in case. Others have carried their own small set of lights. Some, if they're going to an unfamiliar area, will drive the route the day before and leave extra early to make certain they aren't late.

Peter says "While I must admit I have never let an audience down by not appearing, it has been more by good luck than by good managment." Sorry Peter, but as a working performer it is my business and responsibility to rely on good management rather than "luck," because good management and attention to detail are the hallmarks of a working pro and far more reliable than "luck."

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Jim Riser » January 5th, 2006, 10:43 pm

Originally posted by Peter Marucci:
<snip>
Actually, since most show-business folks have minimum education and few marketable skills, it is more a fear of being fired than any love for the audience.
<snip>
This is exactly the type of post I have come to expect on The Magic Caf; but not on The Genii Forum. Peter, you need to get out more and meet a wider variety of people.

Formal education has no bearing on how professionally a person behaves, nor on ability, nor on intelligence, nor on level of skills. People have different opportunities in life, different interests, different abilities. None of these affect how professionally a person behaves. I consider attitude and behavior more important in life skills than formal education.

Peter, I suggest that you get out more and see how truly dedicated people operate. They certainly do not rely upon luck.
Jim

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby David Alexander » January 5th, 2006, 11:54 pm

And on getting cut...some years back I was working up a published routine that had the scissors picking up and moving a portion of the rope. In learning the routine I scratched my left palm rather badly with the tip of the scissors.

Thinking that that wasn't something I'd want to have happen during performance I looked more closely at the pictures illustrating the routine. The author must have had the same problem as the ends of the scissors he used had been ground blunt, though this was not mentioned in the text.

As I was using exactly the same kind of scissors, it only took a trip to the cutlery store where the sharp points were ground down to match the ones the author used.

The next time I saw the author I pointed out his omission and got a sheepish grin in response.

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Bill Palmer » January 6th, 2006, 1:40 am

Don't worry Jim, Peter has never let facts get in the way of his making a post, nor has he let misunderstanding ever keep him from making a response.
Bill Palmer, MIMC

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Guest » January 6th, 2006, 1:58 am

Originally posted by Jim Riser:
This is exactly the type of post I have come to expect on The Magic Caf; but not on The Genii Forum. Peter, you need to get out more and meet a wider variety of people.
I suspect that Peter's beginning to regret that he didn't put a smiley or three after his quip.

Dave

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Q. Kumber » January 6th, 2006, 11:18 am

Roy Keane former captain of Manchester United Football Club, was recently booted out for publicly questioning the wisdom of the manager for allowing wives and girlfriends to attend a training weekend. Roy maintained that a training weekend was purely for training, not socialising.

As a follow on to what David Alexander posted, a couple of years ago a new player turned up on his first day and apologised for being late as he had trouble finding the place. Roy lectured him that a true professional would have checked out the route and venue the day before.

And on the subject of bleeding fingers, Mark Raffles, now 86 and British Ring president, developed a picpocket act after the second world war. Perfroming twice nightly, six nights a week, he discovered that towards the end of the run, a spectator from early in the week might return and volunteer on the Friday or Saturday. This delightful character would have razor blades in his jacket pockets, purely to catch out the pickpocket. Once this happened a few times, Mark had plasters on his table so's he could attach them quickly without letting the audience know he was bleeding. It's also why he cut down the number of volunteers from eight to two.

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Re: The Show Must Go On

Postby Bill Mullins » January 7th, 2006, 12:38 pm

Originally posted by Roy McIlwee:
In case anyone is interested, the saying "The Show Must Go On" is widely accepted as being first said by Sir Harry Lauder. Upon hearing of his sons death in World war I, many urged Harry not to take the stage that night but Harry insisted and is said to have said, "The Show Must Go On". The late great Scottish entertainer is said to have fainted right after his show. Just trying to contribute, Roy McIlwee, Scranton, Penna.
From "A QUARTETTE NO LONGER," _The Washington Post_; Jul 3, 1879; pg. 1.

"Last night was the opening, and the boy, John, the only male of the party, was very unwell, but it was decided that the show must go on."

"NEWS OF THE THEATERS," Chicago Daily Tribune; Mar 2, 1909; pg. 8

"During the previous engagement Mabel Tallaferro, who is Polly's creator and next friend, was ill after the first week. Practically every day her physician told her she should not act that night. And every night, feeling, with Polly, that "the show must go on," and being willful, she got out of bed and went to the theater."


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