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RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: April 8th, 2013, 4:55 pm
by M.Lee
Rest my Dear Friend, Rest Now.
Prayers to the Reveen Family

Michael Lee

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: April 8th, 2013, 7:18 pm
by Roger M.
What terrible news.

I worked many dozens of shows with Reveen and his various sons over the long years.

Reveen at the height of his craft, onstage in sold out 2000 seat theatres, was truly a site to behold!

The best of the best.

RIP Reveen.....and condolences to his many family members.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: April 8th, 2013, 7:26 pm
by Bob Farmer
Over the years, I spent some time with Reveen and he was always fantastic. I first saw him perform when I was about 13 and I still remember parts of that show. He was a great showman.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: April 8th, 2013, 9:47 pm
by Jonathan Pendragon
Peter was a great guy who will be missed by all. I saw perform many times. My favorite effect of his was the Knight's Tour which he did better than anyone I had ever seen.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: April 8th, 2013, 10:19 pm
by PickaCard
I have fond memories of seeing Reveen with my dad as a child and in my early teens in Montreal. He was even nice enough to sign the playbill during intermission (a security guard could not turn down a kid asking him to see if Reveen could autograph it and to my surprise he even personalized it to me). I still cherish it to this day.

It was the first time I ever saw a hypnotist and was blown away by what I saw. I remember laughing harder than any comedy show I have seen since. At the time I believed his memory feats could only be explained by some kind of trick. Only once I got deeper into magic did I appreciate how incredibly challenging his memory demonstrations were. True magic.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: April 9th, 2013, 11:16 am
by ForgetRich
Peter was a big deal to so many Canadians who saw his touring illusion show. It was my first and greatest show ever. It is so vivid in my head to this day. I would not be in magic if it wasn't for him. I eventually got to work with him and receive an award on national television in China from him. It was a seminal moment in my life. The man they call Reveen. What a man he was. He lived up to everything I hoped he would be when I meant him. Approachable, nurturing and full of stories. Rest in peace Mr. Reveen.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: April 9th, 2013, 11:47 am
by Roger M.
Small aside noting Peter's well honed and perfectly timed sense of humor onstage.

Many memories from the hypnosis portion of the show, but the strongest for me by far is hypnotizing "the little Dutch boy" with his finger in a hole in the dike.

"There's a hole in the dike Reveen!!" screamed at the top of a grown man's lungs routinely brought forth theatre wide belly laughs which only got stronger as this poor chap desperately tried to stop all the water from the other side of the dike from filling up the theatre.

I've laughed at a lot of routines over the decades, but I can't say I've ever laughed quite as hard as I did at a 6'5", 250 pound "little dutch boy" brought to actual tears because the dike had a hole in it.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: April 16th, 2013, 5:48 pm
by magicalt
Here are the details of the Memorial/Life Celebration for Peter
Saturday, May 18, 2913 3 to 6 pm
Desert Wiilow Country Club 2020 West Horizon Ridge Pkwy., Henderson, NV 89012

Rest in Peace you always greated me with open arms. You will be missed.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 13th, 2017, 3:00 am
by Arnaud
Does anyone know if there are any publicly available video's of Peter Reveen doing his famous Knight's Tour?


Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 13th, 2017, 12:52 pm
by performer
I never saw his hypnosis show but I certainly saw his illusion show. I thought it was easily the best full evening illusion show I had ever seen. Far better than John Calvert or Sorcar Jr. The only thing I have seen to match it was Kio at the Moscow State Circus which I was enthralled at as a kid.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 14th, 2017, 12:43 pm
by Roger M.
You read about a lot of performers who aspire to command the stage.

Peter COMMANDED the stage from start to finish, and his "Knights Tour" on a really good night (IMO) can never be equaled.

To Arnaud above: I don't think there's any footage online of Reveen doing the Knights Tour.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 14th, 2017, 3:21 pm
by performer
Yep. I actually saw Reveen do the Knight's tour live. It was the best I have ever seen do it. Mind you the fact that I have never seen anyone else do it may have some bearing on that matter!

However, I do have a little story regarding the matter. It happened a long, long time ago at some convention or other. Probably Blackpool but I can't be sure. I think it was though. Reveen happened to be there as an attendee but had not been booked to perform. Somebody got the bright idea to ask him if he would perform the Knight's Tour. I have no idea if they paid him or not. The only problem was to find some venue for him to do it. They eventually decided to do it in the bar downstairs and word got round that it was going to happen.

Old Murray the escapologist was down there drinking and when he heard that Reveen was going to perform he was very annoyed indeed. Murray liked his drink and he was in the bar to escape the shows and just have a quiet drink with his friends. He was quite put out to find out that someone was going to put on a performance and disrupt his peace and quiet. He grumbled and moaned and groaned about it. I tried to placate him by telling him "Reveen is an Australian just like you, you know" It didn't work. Murray growled, "Well, he should go back there!"

Eventually Reveen came downstairs to perform his Knights Tour. After he finished I approached Murray with some trepidation and asked him what he thought. He muttered reluctantly, "Well, the man is a showman". That was one hell of a compliment from Murray I can assure you!

I can't remember if it was the same convention or not but I remember crossing the street one day outside the convention venue and Murray was crossing from the other side not taking any notice of oncoming traffic in the same way he always did. I met him halfway and asked him what he thought of the very famous mentalist on the gala show the night before. He muttered, "not very much!" That should give you an idea of how critical he was!

However, the most enduring memory I have of Reveen is believe it or not giving advice on kid shows of all things! They had a panel at the convention of various worthies who were supposed to be experts on the subject and who answered questions pertaining to the subject. Somebody asked a question about flexibility in charging fees and whether you should charge someone more if they seemed to be in a higher financial bracket. Lucky old Murray was not on the panel as his pricing of merchandise in his shop could be very flexible indeed! If you looked wealthy you would be charged twice the price of someone not quite so solvent!

But back to Reveen. He was in the audience and I observed him looking very irritated at the answers the various "experts" were giving. He kept twisting and turning and they more they ponitificated the more you could see him getting agitated. Finally he could stand it no longer and stood up and in his commanding voice thundered, "You HAVE to charge everyone the same price! If you charge Mrs Smith one price and then a week later charge Mrs Jones a lower price then sooner or later Mrs Jones will speak to Mrs Smith who will realise she has been overcharged based on her financial status. This something you MUST not do!"

I will never forget how the room went silent and it was as if God had spoken. Everyone knew he was right and that was the end of the discussion. I couldn't get over the fact that a master hypnotist and illusionist was giving advice on children's shows! The fact he was even in the room where nothing but kid shows were on the agenda surprised me no end!

I never ever saw his hypnotism show but I have always been impressed with what he said here and I always try to follow his philosophy not just with hypnotism but with magic too.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 14th, 2017, 6:05 pm
by Daniel Z
Sadly (for me), I never saw his illusion show but I did see his hypno show. It stands out in my memory as being a wonderful act and much more sophisticated then many others.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 14th, 2017, 9:38 pm
by performer
I heard that his hypnotism show always went well particularly in the Maritimes but for some reason the results in Toronto were more lukewarm. Or so I was told by people that knew him. I am not sure if they were referring to the show itself or the box office receipts. It seems he preferred to do the illusion show but kept losing money on it and always had to return to the Hypnotism show to recoup his losses. It really was a fantastic illusion show and it is a great pity that it wasn't as financially viable as the hypnosis show.

I do remember with great glee that a certain Irish hypnotist bluffed his way into some place or other, possibly a radio station or an advertising agency,--I know not what-- and told them he represented Reveen and made off with lots of his publicity material and posters for no doubt nefarious purposes. Perhaps research on how to advertise.

It seems that Reveen and Billy McComb searched some convention high and low for him and he had to hide under seats when he saw them coming! That kind of thing fills me with sadistic glee!

I never did meet Reveen although I saw him around at conventions. I remember seeing him deep in conversation with Harry Stanley. I did meet someone who worked with him, possibly as a stage manager or something. A big tall guy -that is all I can remember. It was somewhere I was selling svengali decks. He spoke very fondly of Reveen and seemed to know him very well indeed.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 15th, 2017, 3:46 am
by Brad Jeffers
performer wrote:I actually saw Reveen do the Knight's tour live. It was the best I have ever seen do it. Mind you the fact that I have never seen anyone else do it may have some bearing on that matter!

I too have only seen one performance of the Knight's tour.

It was not done by a magician, but by Chess Grandmaster George Koltanowski.

I simply cannot imagine any performance of the Knight's tour done by a magician equaling that of The Blindfold Knight's Tour presented by "Kolty".

From Wikipedia ...

Koltanowski's most sensational chess entertainment was the ancient exercise known as the Knight's tour, in which a lone knight traverses an otherwise empty board visiting each square once only. Of the countless patterns for achieving this feat, there are trillions of sequences for performing the more restricted version known as the re-entrant tour, wherein the knight on its 64th move lands on its original starting square. For Koltanowski, who claimed to have a "phonographic memory" (a keen memory for sequences), the trick relied on mastering just one re-entrant pattern. He could begin on any square in the sequence and complete the tour by rote. However, it was his original twist that gave Koltanowski's performance dramatic value well beyond the mechanical moving of the knight through the memorized sequence.

Koltanowski began his tour with a large chalkboard divided by lines into a grid eight squares by eight. As he solved problems on a large demonstration board, audience members were encouraged to come onstage to enter words and numbers into the squares. By the time all 64 squares were filled, it was common to see street and city names, names of months or days of the week, names of famous chess players, names of audience members, names of movie stars or TV personalities, telephone numbers and addresses, birth dates, serial numbers from bank notes, etc.

After concluding his problem solving challenges on the demonstration board, Koltanowski would turn his back on the audience and examine the chalk board for three or four minutes. Then he would seat himself with his back to the board and ask for any audience member to call out a square; for example, e4. He would recite from memory the entry in that square as an assistant crossed it off with a chalk mark. Making imaginary knight-moves through his re-entry sequence, Koltanowski would recite the contents of each square as the knight landed on it.

As amazing as this performance was, if time permitted afterward, Koltanowski would occasionally demonstrate his mental grasp of the board by reciting the information contained in the squares by rank or file, or even the two long diagonals. He occasionally performed the tour on two boards simultaneously. In Palo Alto, California, he conducted his performance on three chalk boards, jumping the knight back and forth between boards mid-move, until all 192 squares were completed. He made two errors and immediately corrected himself both times. At the time of this performance, Koltanowski was 80 years old.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 15th, 2017, 4:22 pm
by MagicbyAlfred
Not bragging, but I may be the only amateur to have ever check-mated Kolty.

We played a game for pretty high stakes, and when it was over, I said, "Here's a check, Mate."

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 15th, 2017, 5:24 pm
by Roger M.
It never surprises me when threads like this (a Peter Reveen thread) eventually receive the post along the lines of "oh yeah ... well I saw a Knights Tour that Reveen's Knights Tour couldn't have been as good as, performed by ?????? ..."

But in this case, and although I've never seen Kolty perform the Knights Tour, I would posit that he, being a chess player as opposed to a performer capable of the absolute command of any given stage, likely couldn't hold a candle to Peter Reveen when speaking of a PERFORMANCE of the Knights Tour that was designed to entertain an audience of paying patrons.

I didn't just "see" a Peter Reveen show once or twice ... I worked on dozens of his shows over a period of many years. The illusion show, multiple iterations of his hypnosis show, and with various and sundry members of his family as his sons grew up and Ty eventually turned into Calvin as Peters onstage assistant.

Reveen's Knights Tour was (from an entertainment perspective) dynamic, in that it started off slowly and built up throughout the act. By the time Reveen got to the end of the bit, the audience was on their feet giving him a standing ovation.
Now ... this was for the Knights Tour ... the Knights Tour folks, not a piece of "magic" that is particularly exciting, or even particularly entertaining. It is, in the hands of most performers somewhat interesting, and done well it might even move from interesting to somewhat amazing.

But in the hands of Peter Reveen, it was neither of the above ... in fact it was a bloody miracle performed by a living, breathing miracle worker, and presented by a man with a voice and an onstage demeanor that could bring down ceilings and walls.
It was a Knights Tour unlike any Knights Tour could ever be, and it brought the audience to its feet without fail ... and it brought them to their feet before the last square on the board was filled.

Top that.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 15th, 2017, 5:36 pm
by Bob Farmer
I saw Reveen do the Knight's Tour several times. It was fantastic. He used this giant vertical chessboard with hinged panels and as each move was done an assistant would flip the panel. As the panels flipped they formed an image of a chess piece. Reveen would start out slow, then increase the speed, and as each panel was flipped there would be a bang as it settled into place. The whole thing was fantastic and all the sound and fury was designed to really impress, even if you knew nothing about chess.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 15th, 2017, 6:11 pm
by Daniel Z
I found this online and it gives a glimpse of the board Bob is describing.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 16th, 2017, 9:54 am
by Bob Farmer
I first saw Reveen when I was about 14. He was doing his hypnotic show in Quebec. I lived next door in Ontario where, at the time, so-called stage hypnotism was illegal, but it was legal in Quebec. I still remember that show: it was so dramatic. At one point Reveen said something like, "What if I should die while you are under my control?" and he dropped the mike. He was great.

Fast forward many years. Reveen wants to bring his hypnotic show to Ontario, but Ontario had this law (which has since been repealed) called The Hypnosis Act:

By this time, I'm an entertainment lawyer and Reveen hires me to see if a loophole can be found.

The first thing I notice is that there are no reported cases on this law. Which is odd. Also, there is no definition of "hypnosis" in the law. I call a psychologist friend of mine who tells me a few things: there is no physiological hypnotic state (i.e., there is no difference between being "awake" and being "hypnotized"); and, some experts in hypnotism don't believe it's a separate psychological state.

I then ask a doctor who uses "hypnotism" if he could hypnotize somebody he's never met before in under 15 minutes in front of a theater full of people. Nope. He couldn't do that.

The law allows for expert witnesses to give testimony--but how could an expert witness sitting in the audience know that a person on stage with a stage hypnotist was hypnotized? Maybe the person was just pretending.

At this point, the Hypnosis Act is looking weaker and weaker. There's no accepted definition of what hypnois is or that it even exists. I find out the law is administered by the Ontario Ministry of Health and the guy in charge is a doctor with an unfortunate surname which I won't mention here (it's too funny and too ironic and has something to do with being nonfunctional).

I ask him why there are no reported cases and, initially, he is reluctant to explain, but then I press him by saying the problem is there is no definition of hypnosis--right? Yep. He tells me they just send out letters if they hear of a stage hypnotist and threaten action but they never take any action.

In the lobby of the building my office is in, there is a hypnotherapist offering treatment for various things (these people were exempted under the law at the time). I made an appointment to see the guy. He had a lot of "degrees" on the wall and looked a bit like an older carnie. As soon as I told him I was a lawyer, the guy's spine froze up like an ice berg had just hit it--but then I explained I was working for Reveen. As soon as I said that, he dropped the facade and we were pals. I told him what I was doing. He then told me how the Hypnosis Act had originally been passed.

It turns out there was this hypnotist working in Ontario decades before. He was friends with this fellow, who, as it turned out, I knew, because he was a member (very eccentric) of the magic club. The hypnotist and this fellow were friends but had a falling out when the hypnotist refused to reveal some of his secrets to the fellow. The fellow, who was well connected politically, told the hypnotist he was going to put him out of business--and he did, by getting the Hypnosis Act passed.

So, at the next magic club meeting, I go up to this fellow, and without telling him why, I start talking about stage hypnosis. He begins to babble on telling me many things including that hypnosis is useful for communicating telepathically with the Martians. I keep a completely straight face as I'm thinking I'd love to have this guy in court as a witness and have him explain about those Martians.

I call Reveen and tell him Ontario will be happy to host his act--there's nothing they can do. A few weeks later, Reveen opens a very successful run at the Royal York.

I don't know why the Hypnosis Act was repealed, but maybe I had a bit to do with that.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 16th, 2017, 11:17 am
by Roger M.
Great story Bob!

My strongest recollection of the actual Reveen shows I was involved with revolve around the fact that I always thought of hypnosis as "an entertainment", and nothing more than that.

On three occasions, two when Ty was acting as Peter's assistant, and the last tour Peter did with Calvin as his assistant ... there were calls from the Front of House Manager after the show about "situations" in the audience chamber.

Each of these "situations" revolved around a person, still in their seat, and somewhat catatonic ... this in a now empty theatre.

On each of these occasions, Ty or Calvin would come out into the house (never Peter), and whisper something in the ear of the somewhat catatonic patron, at which time the patron would open their eyes, and either sheepishly get up and leave, or in one case - begin crying and THEN get up and sheepishly leave.

Reveen always stressed to his audiences, he almost begged them ... to "please come up on stage if you want to be hypnotized". He always made it clear that it you wanted to play along, to please come up on stage and do so ... and NOT remain in your seat.

These "incidents" I note above were, to my eyes, folks who had remained in their seats and played along ... only to get hypnotized where they sat rather than up on stage where Reveen could control the situation with his masterful and commanding voice.
I don't know if hypnotism is "real" ... but I sure know what I saw on those three occasions!

Another thing I'll never forget is the way Reveen could spot a "faker" onstage, and how quickly he got them off the stage and back to their seats. I won't say he did it with distain ... but if, as a patron, your goal was to be one of the selected folks in order to create some sort of mayhem during the show, Peter could spot you a mile away, and he wasted no time in letting you know the only place you'd be going is straight back to your seat.

I can still hear him ... "Down, Down, Down now, Deeper Down and now relaxed, Down, Down ..."

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 16th, 2017, 1:48 pm
by MagicbyAlfred
Fascinating discussion. There seems to be some phenomenon in the brain and/or psyche which enables a suspension of disbelief in what a person might otherwise know, on a rational level, is fictitious. For example, in watching a movie, we know in many (if not most cases) that the story is completely made up, and that these are merely actors playing a part. Yet we can become totally absorbed emotionally, even to the very point of tears. Both our wills and emotions are engaged to the point of genuinely wanting to see, and having a stake in seeing, the hero/heroine get extricated from a bad situation. We can, and often do, even feel hatred and anger toward the villain, and want to see him or her fail and "get what's coming too them."

I wonder how much of this dynamic comes into play in cases of successful hypnotist performers, like Raveen, who understand this phenomenon, and are able to capitalize on it? I would think it is a significant, if not the primary element, in people feeling as if they are hypnotized and under the suggestion of the hypnotist performer, and in onlookers believing it to be the case.

It seems to me, that Raveen, like many great performers, understood that getting people involved in the show greatly heightens the entertainment value for the audience, because generally speaking, people are interested in and intrigued with other people, and he was apparently a master of exploiting that, as well...

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 16th, 2017, 8:15 pm
by performer
Bob Farmer wrote:
I don't know why the Hypnosis Act was repealed, but maybe I had a bit to do with that.

Actually no. I got the law repealed single handedly. I have powers you know. The whole story is described in my most worthy memoirs, "The Lives of a Showman.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 16th, 2017, 8:35 pm
by performer
I have done literally hundreds of stage hypnotism shows and naturally am rather good at it. I am no Reveen but I get by very well indeed. In fact i sell a course on the matter for a mere $150. It is a hard copy set of three DVDs and an audio CD. Just contact me privately. However, if you wish to make Chris Wasshuber equally as rich as me then you can go the download route where I won't make so much money but at least I won't have to do any work for it. Here it is. ... 0250b26a79

The real secret of hypnosis is to realise that it is a load of old cobblers. Once you know it doesn't actually exist it makes your study of the matter much faster and easier. I used to believe in it until a certain stage hypnotist who was on a par with Reveen and in fact was one of the greatest stage hypnotists of the 20th Century informed me that it was a load of old baloney. I bet Reveen also knew it was a load of old baloney too! I find a lot of stage hypnotists do but a lot of the dafter ones don't. Of course I have a more cynical view of humanity than most.

What happens is that in many cases the subjects delude themselves that they are hypnotised and act in a manner that they think hypnotised people are supposed to act. They actually BELIEVE they are hypnotised! Now if you want to argue semantics with me and say that self delusion actually IS hypnosis then be my guest. I really don't give a stuff one way or the other as long as people enjoy the show.

I love it when people in the audience go into trance and I even encourage it a trifle by announcing to the audience that it sometimes happens and if it does not to disturb the person and just point him out to me. Since I don't work to audiences as large as Reveen did I can spot these people very quickly and bring them up on stage or alternatively make them do some daft things in the audience. And I make bloody sure that I bring them out of trance at the end of the show. Quite frankly I think it is asking for trouble to have the audience leave and have people left in trance sitting there after the show. That is when the horror stories that you read in the press start to appear. For some reason the hypnotist is not around or he has left for home and people start panicking and calling the police and ambulance etc;

When I first started this catatonic nonsense used to scare me until I realised that nobody is under hypnosis in the first place. When I had that in mind it was no problem to wake them since they weren't in a trance in the first place!

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 17th, 2017, 2:14 pm
by Brad Jeffers
Roger M. wrote:and although I've never seen Kolty perform the Knights Tour, I would posit that he, being a chess player as opposed to a performer capable of the absolute command of any given stage, likely couldn't hold a candle to Peter Reveen when speaking of a PERFORMANCE of the Knights Tour that was designed to entertain an audience of paying patrons.

Being a master chess player and being a master showman are not mutually exclusive.
Koltanowski's performance was definitely designed to entertain an audience of paying patrons. You think he did this for free!?
It was how he made his living.

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 17th, 2017, 3:07 pm
by Roger M.
Brad Jeffers wrote:Being a master chess player and being a master showman are not mutually exclusive.
Koltanowski's performance was definitely designed to entertain an audience of paying patrons. You think he did this for free!?
It was how he made his living.

This is a R.I.P. Peter Reveen thread. A way to remember the man for those who might have known him, or are interested in his work.

I'm sure Kolty was very entertaining ... why don't you start a thread about it?

Re: RIP Peter Reveen Sr.

Posted: September 17th, 2017, 4:05 pm
by Q. Kumber
It is the nature of threads that they go off on tangents.

I saw Reveen perform in Blackpool back in the 80's. It was then a one day (Sunday) convention but there was a get-together on the Saturday night in the HQ hotel on the south shore - possibly The Gables Hotel. I recall Reveen having the large frame as described by Bob Farmer and I'm pretty sure he was blindfolded, pulling it off at the finish for his applause. He must have been touring the UK at the time, otherwise why would he have the large frame with him?

His performance was superb.