Johnny Hart has passed away.

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Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby performer » December 11th, 2018, 11:06 pm

I understand that Johnny Hart has passed away. I have reason to believe he must have been about 73 years old although I can't say for sure. I only met him once and very briefly. He was one of the greatest acts of his day. I am saddened to hear this. I still remember Ken Brooke saying, "there will never be another Johnny Hart"

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 12th, 2018, 9:04 am

Sincere condolences to Johnny's loved ones. Ken Brooke was right, and here is the proof. Phenomenal skill, stage presence, personality, elegance, rhythm and comedic ability. The Do As I Do Saw The Lady In Half routine that follows the incredible manipulation act is absolutely brilliant!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr69uHhfAZ0

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 12th, 2018, 11:37 am

I heard that he copped the parakeet act from Jack Kodell.
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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby Max Maven » December 12th, 2018, 7:07 pm

Not quite, Richard.

In the 1950s, information traveled much slower than it does today. Reportedly, it was Harry Stanley who saw Jack Kodell’s act in the U.S. and then “gave” it to Johnny Hart, who had no knowledge that it was proprietary.

Yes, Jack had performed the act in England, at the Palladium. But, at that time (1949) Johnny was four years old, so we can assume he did not attend.

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby performer » December 12th, 2018, 8:52 pm

I was told that Johnny had been caught rifling through Jack Kodell's caravan looking for secrets. I have no idea how true this was. Possibly just a rumour. I did know Harry Stanley reasonably well and I still remember his reaction when Johnny decided to seek new management arrangements. He said to me. "Johnny will still get some work but from now on he will just be the name on a book"

I think Harry did have very good connections in the business,

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 12th, 2018, 10:43 pm

Okay, Max, so he was doing Jack Kodell's act without Jack's permission.
He could have changed his act when he found out that he was doing someone else's original material.
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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby Marco Pusterla » December 13th, 2018, 3:29 am

The controversy of "Johnny Hart has copied Jack Kodell" has been a popular subject discussed by magicians in the '60s and '70s and it's briefly covered in the biography of Johnny Hart recently published. Jack Kodell was - of course - particularly incensed, as Hart did indeed use some "bits of business" of his and Channing Pollock's act. But Hart was not the only one to use budgies in his act: Gwen Voltaire, Bobbie Voltaire's wife, did an act with budgies in the late 1950s and presented it at the Magic Circle show in 1960, the year before Johnny won the "Young Magician of the Year" competition who brought him to the interest of bookers.

By the time Hart was starting to perform professionally, Kodell had retired (indeed, Magicpedia states that Kodell had retired in 1960, the year before Hart sprung to fame), so the two were never in competition. Mark's comment that Hart was "rifling through Kodell's caravan" sounds inaccurate and may even be slanderous...

Pat Page, in Pabular, justified Hart by saying that he was only 17 when he created/developed that act, and that every magician at that age did the same, copying tricks they may have seen or read about. What Page says is that Hart, at 17, was already a great performer, being a natural, looking good, well dressed.

As I said, there is more to the story than these paragraphs and it can be found in Johnny Hart's biography, copiously illustrated.
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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby performer » December 13th, 2018, 8:57 am

I could be wrong but I swear that Johnnie was using budgerigars when he won the Young Magician of the Year. This was way before he even knew who Harry Stanley was. I am not certain that Harry gave him the lowdown. I am also not sure of the caravan story either. In fact it may not have been Jack Kodell but possibly Jack Gwynne. Jack somebody or other anyway. It was just something that someone mentioned to me years and years ago. I have no idea if Johnny ever met Kodell in fact. In any event neither of them are using the act at the moment so who the hell cares?

I remember seeing Johnny Hart's act when he won that young magician competition. He was just as good at talking as he was working silently. Harry Stanley put a stop to that and decided the talking had to stop to make the act more commercial. However, Johnny Hart is the only magician I have ever seen who was able to transition from silent work to talking. Usually you see some guy starting off his act silently and it works well. But then he stops and starts to talk and it is always a let down. They usually have a squeaky voice or a horrible accent or something. At any rate I have never seen anyone successfully do it except Johnny Hart.

I thought Johnny had a superb act despite Paul Daniels telling me all sorts of negative things about him. Magicians are not really a brotherhood. They are the biggest backstabbers around. Show business is a ruthless field in general and magicians tend to be among the most unpleasant of the genre. I often think the motto should be "Steal before you are stolen from"

I know I would steal from another magician without batting an eyelid or asking permission. The odd thing is that I hardly ever do--not for ethical reasons, but it just isn't practical. What suits other people just doesn't suit me. And since most magicians are crap anyway there is hardly anything worth stealing. I probably steal far less than anyone else does but it has nothing whatsoever to do with ethics. I am usually nodding off when others are performing so I would probably miss it when anything comes up which is worth stealing.

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 13th, 2018, 10:29 am

Marco, please don't give legal opinions. You cannot libel a dead person.
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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 13th, 2018, 10:51 am

I don't think Mr. Hart is in a position to defend himself at this point (unless, of course, Performer establishes contact with him in the "Spirit World"). IMHO, the overriding issue is that he was a great performer, who brought magic and entertained many people, and managed to make a living doing it - not an easy feat by any means. I believe he should be revered and celebrated by his brethren. I hope he continues to perform and delight others in the great beyond!

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby erdnasephile » December 13th, 2018, 8:41 pm

I've not read this book, but it was reviewed in The Linking Ring this month:

http://www.johnnyhartbook.com/

There is also a video of Mr. Hart performing on the site.

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby performer » December 13th, 2018, 8:53 pm

Oh! I just realised that I know the author of that book! He sold svengali decks for me! And quite a bit of my kid show comes from him! (No, I didn't steal it from him)

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby performer » December 13th, 2018, 10:52 pm

I read the Jack Kodell biography. He went out at the top just as Channing Pollock did. He made a calculated decision figuring out that his success would not last and he would no longer make a living as time proceeded. So, just when he is leaving show business Johnny Hart came in and made a living for decades afterwards. Not an easy thing to do but he did it. He deserves respect for that alone.

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby Richard Hatch » December 14th, 2018, 3:06 am

Here's some very good footage, posted recently, that probably shows his act at its prime in 1977:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAZCBFJcM9o

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby Chas Nigh » December 14th, 2018, 4:18 pm

Del Ray was another magician who could make the transition from silent to spoken word successfully.

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 14th, 2018, 6:58 pm

Here's some really old footage, from back in 1969, when Johnny was virtually a kid. This includes the parakeet shtick the head Genii made reference to. And even beyond that, there are some incredible productions, I had not seen on the other videos, nor had I previously seen the (mind blowing) production of the cat. Also there is some superlative cardistry/card manipulations on this video, that is not on the others Richard H. and I posted on here. And the vanish that concludes the act is phenomenal.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3lhINcJ74U

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby performer » December 14th, 2018, 7:40 pm

Chas Nigh wrote:Del Ray was another magician who could make the transition from silent to spoken word successfully.


That was not what I meant. I do not mean talking in one act and silent in another. I was referring to both in the same act. First the magician works silently as an opening segment then stops to talk. I have never seen anyone doing it effectively. As far as I am aware Del Ray did not do both in the same act. It is much wiser in most cases to go the whole way through with the music if you start that way especially in a shorter act.

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby erdnasephile » December 14th, 2018, 7:46 pm

performer wrote:
Chas Nigh wrote:Del Ray was another magician who could make the transition from silent to spoken word successfully.


That was not what I meant. I do not mean talking in one act and silent in another. I was referring to both in the same act. First the magician works silently as an opening segment then stops to talk. I have never seen anyone doing it effectively. As far as I am aware Del Ray did not do both in the same act. It is much wiser in most cases to go the whole way through with the music if you start that way especially in a shorter act.


Lance Burton did this well, IMHO.

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby performer » December 14th, 2018, 7:54 pm

Yes. I have seen Lance Burton at it and he did indeed do it quite well. But he was doing a full evening show and in those circumstances it can work quite well since it bloody well has to. You can't work silently for 90 minutes to two hours. I have seen various worthies such as John Calvert and Sorcar do silent segments in long shows. I really do not recommend talking after opening with a silent act in a short performance. It always comes off very amateurish.

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby performer » December 14th, 2018, 7:57 pm

Anyway for those who like nitpicking here is Jack Kodell at work. By all means compare Johnny Hart with Kodell and see where the similarities are. I couldn't see much except the budgies. I don't think it is a big deal and who cares if it is? The public don't know and that is all that matters. Of course I have a very elastic conscience over these matters. Years of wickedness does that to you...............


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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 15th, 2018, 10:08 am

Yes, and when you think about it, many of the staples in the acts of many performing magicians over the years, if not centuries (Sawing Lady in Half, Substitution Trunk, Floating Lady, Zombie, the Bullet Catch, Cups and Balls, Dove Productions, to name a few) were originally created by someone.

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby Jackpot » December 15th, 2018, 10:16 am

MagicbyAlfred wrote:Yes, and when you think about it, many of the staples in the acts of many performing magicians over the years, if not centuries (Sawing Lady in Half, Substitution Trunk, Floating Lady, Zombie, the Bullet Catch, Cups and Balls, Dove Productions, to name a few) were originally created by someone.


Agreed. I hope the first magician to pull a coin from behind a child's ear isn't rolling over in his grave because I stole his act.
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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby Leonard Hevia » December 15th, 2018, 10:58 am

Who was the first magician to produce doves? Was it Cantu?

Thurston sent Blackstone a telegram in 1928 asking him to stop performing the Floating Lady. An effect that Kellar ripped off from Maskelyn, and Carter ripped off as well. The blood is already on our hands.

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby Philippe Billot » December 15th, 2018, 11:31 am

Long before Cantu, magicians produce doves.

For instance, in Magic No Mystery pubished in 1876, we can read :

Magician's Bottle for Holding Birds, etc.

"It is a very good ending to a feat to produce the
juggled-away bird, mouse, rabbit, and other articles,
from a bottle which has to be smashed to get them
out."

At the end of the XIXe century, there is the trick Glove in Dove from Herrmann or Martin Charpender
At the beginning of the XXe century, there is Karl Germain with his trick Bird from Confetti.

Etc., etc.

Cantu presented his show with doves in the 30s

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby Bill Mullins » December 15th, 2018, 1:30 pm

performer wrote: I do not mean talking in one act and silent in another. I was referring to both in the same act. First the magician works silently as an opening segment then stops to talk. I have never seen anyone doing it effectively.


Jason Alexander's Magic Castle act?

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby performer » December 15th, 2018, 5:00 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:
performer wrote: I do not mean talking in one act and silent in another. I was referring to both in the same act. First the magician works silently as an opening segment then stops to talk. I have never seen anyone doing it effectively.


Jason Alexander's Magic Castle act?


I have never seen it so I cannot comment on it. I am merely saying that as a general rule it doesn't seem to work. They all start off nicely but as soon as they open their mouths it is generally bloody awful.

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby Jackpot » December 15th, 2018, 6:33 pm

Mr. Mullins and performer are likely both correct.

Like performer I have not seen Jason Alexander's Magic Castle act, but I suspect it was extremely well done. In addition to performing magic Mr. Alexander has extensive acting experience on television, in movies, in plays and musicals. While this does not disqualify him as an example for Mr. Mullins, Mr. Alexander's vast experience outside of magic makes him the exception rather than the rule.
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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby performer » December 16th, 2018, 12:05 am

There are indeed exceptions but generally speaking it is something I have noticed time after time over the years. I have mentioned it on this interview with Mahdi at around 36 minutes in. I would also highly recommend looking at the rest of the video too for educational purposes. Some of the more astute magicians have told me that the advice is pure gold.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vYiairhhoI

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby AJM » December 16th, 2018, 9:19 am

Can anyone confirm what age Johnny Hart was when he passed?

The age of 73 was mentioned earlier in the thread however I recall he made an appearance at one of the Blackpool gala shows a number of years (5-10?) ago.

From my recollection he did some card productions followed by a Zombie routine.

I would have pegged him as being in his seventies at that point but perhaps my memory is playing tricks on me.

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby Marco Pusterla » December 16th, 2018, 10:23 am

John Bernard Hart was born on 29th August 1943, so he was 75 at his death.
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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby performer » December 16th, 2018, 10:49 am

The reason I thought he was 73 was that I have always thought he was a year younger than me because of the age limits for being in the Young Magician of the year. The competition was in 1961 and the age limits were between 14 and 18 years old. The "between" was what confused me. I am not sure whether 17 or 18 was the maximum age allowed to enter. I suppose if he was 75 then it must have been 18 rather than 17.

There were some negative reports of his work at Blackpool a few years ago. I wasn't there so I can't judge. However, I have written about this phenomena in the past. That is the phenomena of "dropped details". This is a very easy trap to fall into with an old established act that is no longer any good any more. The Dropped Details factor.

I did meet Johnny Hart for about two minutes in Harry Stanley's studio and I have never forgotten his rudeness. I asked, "Are you Johnny Hart?" He would have been about 19 years old and Harry Stanley was managing him at the time. He responded to me dismissively "No, I am his twin brother". Arrogance of youth I suppose. And I can carry grudges for years on end.

Still, he had a great act and I do feel sorry for his debacle in Blackpool although I don't know much about it since I wasn't there.

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Re: Johnny Hart has passed away.

Postby Marco Pusterla » December 16th, 2018, 12:51 pm

It is often difficult to establish the real age of a performer, as artists tend to be quite liberal in disclosing their anagraphical details to the media and the public. Not only magicians, but actors, singers, etc. The Young Magician of the Year was open to everybody who, on the date of the event, was under the age of 18 (between 14 and 18). This was quite good for Hart, as the final of the competition was on Friday 24th May 1961 ahd Hart was only three months shy of his 18th birthday, so he could compete. This was good luck, more than anything else, I think (and, still, the guy had talent, I think we all agree on that).
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