Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
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Pete Biro
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Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Pete Biro » October 28th, 2003, 9:48 am

This could be a fun topic.

First of all, I have been in this since the late 1940s... and have had the luxury of a job that included travel to many corners of the globe.

My "first" mentor was an unknown magician from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, a signpainter that I worked for named Bill Anderson.

What was so good about him was he kept things simple, he was very original and was a great teacher.

Following Bill I got to know Lloyd Jones, a magic dealer and writer that specialized on books. Working at his home/shop I had access to all the books! All of them... and this was a great help.

Then, after some time doing the standard crapolla (tip over boxes, square cirlce, milk pitcher, etc.) I lost interest for a few years, then came back into magic in a big way.

My contacts and travels allowed me to write a lot for several years in Genii, with my column "The Reel Works."

Through this, when I travelled I got to become friends with people like Ken Brooke, Fred Kaps, Alex Elmsley, Pat Page, Paul Daniels, etc. etc.

Help and advice from them, especially Brooke, Kaps and Page, really were influential. Their knowledge and skill was infectious. A lot rubbed off from them to me.

Another that had a great influence was Persi Diaconis. There are a lot of critcs out there that don't know him, but if you knew him and earned his respect there was NOTHING he wouldn't help you with.

So, having bored everyone with name dropping, let us hear from you, as to those that helped teach you your magic.

Note: I just wish I had the hand skills (two surgerys) to do much of what I had learned... but, bluff and B.S. can make up for a lot of it! :D
Stay tooned.


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » October 28th, 2003, 11:19 am

A big influence was Harry Anderson. I ran across him doing his street act when in San Francisco near the wark and it was amazing. Another was Harry Blackstone Jr. I saw him perform at my school around 1969, give or take, and I never saw anything like it.

As far as a direct influence it would be a great magician out of Michigan named Mark Berringer. He was very talented, knew how to explain magic, and was an all around good guy. Unfortunately he passed away a few months ago of cancer, he was in his 30's.

Other than that I was out in the middle of no magic world and learned what ever I could teach myself or find in a library, which wasn't much.
Steve V

Alain Roy
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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Alain Roy » October 28th, 2003, 11:43 am

Morris Taylor was the kick that got me into magic. I suspect he's not well-known among magicians though, since he hasn't performed much lately. He is a wonderful person.

Bob Brown, who currently resides in Berwyn (outside Chicago) and is not the Bob Brown with the lovely assistant, was my mentor for a long time. He had a profound impact on my magic. He is an amazing person, with a wealth of experience from escapes to hypnosis to close-up to kid shows to memory acts to tarot card readings and more.


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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Randy » October 28th, 2003, 12:39 pm

Two gentlemen that I have had the great pleasure of sitting with were Harry Blackstone, Jr. and John Carney. Harry inspired me with his childlike love and passion for magic. I had the chance to sit with him in the dressing room after one of his shows quite a few years back. He absolutley LOVED talking about magic. John Carney inspired me by his ultimate respect for the art. His thoughtfulness and dedication to practice is contagious. It made me go back home and re-think all the effects I already thought were complete. If you ever have the chance to see John lecture, don't miss it. It may change the way you look at your magic. Great topic.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » October 28th, 2003, 1:04 pm

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
...those that helped teach you your magic...
Mid 1975 I started camping out in Tannen's. About Mid 1976 I was also attending the Saturday gatherings at the Governer cafeteria. The magic shop was frequented by more than a few talented and kindly magicians. And the Saturday gatherings were and still are attended by many who love close-up magic.

From David Roth who remarked upon the importance of good grooming for the hands, and reading older books for ideas among much other great advice... to infrequent visitors like Ron Bauer... to the Saturday cafe attendees who do the stuff in those older books... and contributed to those books... and who remember folks like T. J. Crawford and Dai Vernon as people. There were many people to learn from. Something to learn from all of them.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » October 28th, 2003, 1:05 pm

I have had several mentors. Micky Hades was one and John Hawken (an old friend of Paul Daniels) another. They were extrememly influential in my early years as was Martin Nash in affecting my love of card magic. Vernon was instrumental in my desire to learn sleight of hand instead of relying on gimmicks.

Because of their ability to share their knowledge to me, it has been the primary motivation for me to help others in their quest for improving their performance and skills.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
AB Stagecraft
Supplying unique mentalism world-wide

Ian Kendall
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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Ian Kendall » October 28th, 2003, 1:42 pm

The Lowland Scots are lucky enough to have Roy Walton, not so much as a mentor these days, but certainly as a catalyst.

In yon early days Al Woodrow and Larry Barnes guided me through Davenport's as I handed over my wages each week. Larry taught me to pick locks and Al made sure I got the good stuff.

Aside from that I tried to glean snippets from where ever I could.

Take care, Ian


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » October 28th, 2003, 1:52 pm

I came back because I forgot to mention a guy who is very important to me in magic and I see Alain has mentioned him, Bob Brown from Chicago. Bob is a wealth of knowledge and experience, from working the Carney shows and busking to performing for adults and children. He's one of the great treasures of our art. Wait! Another fella who has always been supportive and ready to help is Wesley James.
Steve V

Bill Evans
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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Bill Evans » October 28th, 2003, 2:26 pm

Gene DeVoe for for directing me to the best sources when I started over in magic in the late 1970s.

Ben Stone [Delben] for suggesting just the right idea for a particular gig and for his craftmanship.

Eugene Burger who continues to inspire me on how a magical effect should be presented. What a great guy to be around.

Michael Skinner for his technical instruction and friendship....a void that's impossible to fill.

Tom Mullica for his friendship, instruction and for setting the example of entertainment of the highest order.

Fortunately, Eugene and Tom are still around (more fortunate for them than me I'm sure :D )....it would be nice to add to the list rather than subtract therefrom....but I will always be greatful for being at the right place at the right time to experience their expertise.

Gary Freed
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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Gary Freed » October 28th, 2003, 6:20 pm

Those greats I never met are too numerous to mention.

Back in 1975-76 I met Steve Dusheck at a local convention on Long Island. He was about 10 years older than me and just starting to make his mark.He was both patient and generous with a teenage nobody. I saw him skyrocket to magical fame and watched him walk away when the "politics" got to him. He has been a friend for over 25 years and is the definition of class.

My other great mentor is Karl Norman. One of my great pleasures was watching Karl perform during a FFFF convention. Performing immediately after one of Magics truly great Card Men, Karl took out his sponge rabbits and woke up the layman's table in front of him. He is one of Magics true talents and the nicest man I have met in this field.

Andrew Martin Portala
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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Andrew Martin Portala » October 28th, 2003, 7:43 pm

My mentors are Dick Oslund,Jerry Conklin,Ted Carrothers and Dorian.
Doug Henning
Terry Seabrook
Tom Mullica and Fonzie(hey,he hits the jukebox, music plays,snaps his fingers,women appear.pretty amazing.) :D


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » October 28th, 2003, 8:22 pm


Doug Henning

Fred Kapps


Dai Vernon

Michael Ammar

Daryl Martinez


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » October 28th, 2003, 8:44 pm

Just wanted to add my mentor, since nobody has mentioned him yet. Someone I known for almost 50 years......Al Cohen :whack:

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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby cataquet » October 29th, 2003, 3:30 am

I grew up in NY, so you'd think that Tannens would have been my hangout. However, I was fortunate enough to meet Mike Tannen at Circle Magic. He was a lovely guy, and started off selling me little pocket tricks. As I progressed, he finally sold me a copy of Stars of Magic. I loved the book and worked through every trick in the book very carefully. So, the magicians in that book became my heros. My next purchase was the Ganson book on Vernon.

As far as mentors go, about 15 years ago I met Peter Kane. We have become good friends and I value his opinion, so I guess he's my mentor.

Bye for now


Michael Jay
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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Michael Jay » October 29th, 2003, 4:38 am

Unfortunately, living in Toledo, Ohio, there aren't many around to learn from. However, for the last year, in Lake Orion, Michigan, I've had the pleasure and great fortune to get to know, and learn from, Ron Bauer. Ron is terrifically knowledgeable and I've learned a great deal from the man. Also, Milt Kort while he was with us.

In the '70s, my "mentor" would have been the local shop owner, Milo, who helped me to pick the right stuff with the limited budget that a pre-teen has.


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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby mago » October 29th, 2003, 5:26 am

My real mentor would have to be Ed Marlo.

His works and the many letters that he sent me in answer to my questions enabled me to secure the job that I had for so many years in Mexico City.

He will always be remember in gratitude by me.

Tom Wolf

Jon Racherbaumer
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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » October 29th, 2003, 6:56 am

As Tom Wolf succinctly put it, Ed Marlo was my memtor and dragoman. Others who lit the way were Eddie Fields, Don Alan, Channing Pollock, and Martin Gardner.

Note to Tom Wolf: Please send me your e-mail address.



Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » October 29th, 2003, 6:59 am

I was a semi-ignorant magi-student until I had the pleasure of meeting / watching Paul Swinford (I was 16 and without a clue... aside from knowing a few cool Paul Harris tricks.) Not only was Paul Swinford a pro/master magician (with a wealth of knowledge) he was also nice (a rare combination.) Without his influence, I probably never would have became a 'worker.'

A few years later (1988ish) I came to New Orleans and met Jon Racherbaumer. For 15 years, Jon has continued to inspire me with his love for our craft.
I've sat with Jon at many magi-meetings and not once do I recall Jon averting his attention from anyone that requested it. Master magi that are open minded are a rarer breed than those that are nice... combine the two and you have Jon.

Thanks Rock.
Doug Conn


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » October 29th, 2003, 7:59 am

A magician who is a good model for any was Al Goshman.
Goshman was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Everything he was he made of himself. After every show that he did he critiqued his performance. I know -- many, many nights at the Castle he would come out and use me as a listening post. He wasn't looking for my comments, he just wanted someone to talk to while he went over in his mind every nuance and bit in his performance. He would go up to the library and look at tapes of his show to see where he could improve. And he constantly improved.

Many of those who were born w-a-s-s- in their mouths laughed at Al for his clumsiness and his gaucheries. Fie on them. Al paid the Maitre-d to give him table manners, to teach him how to eat properly. That takes a kind of courage that is sadly lacking in most of us.

When I first knew Al he did one trick -- but he did it better than anyone else. To the point where we were telling one another at the convention, "You have to see that bagel baker from Brooklyn. He is something else."

A good model and mentor -- and a good friend.


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » October 29th, 2003, 8:52 am

Eugene Burger was my mentor. His careful and thorough approach to teaching, helped me as a performer and as person. From Eugene I learned that my audience could feel my performance, not just see it.

David Parr also helped me think through my ideas til they were fully formed.

Jeff McBride allowed me to believe in myself. How can you ask your audience to believe in you, if you don't believe in yourself?

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Matthew Field
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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Matthew Field » October 29th, 2003, 11:50 am

As a kid, my dad took me to Circle Magic, which got me into the magic world. The guy at Macy's with the vanishing dime wooden board (John Tsoulakis? something like that) made me realize it wasn't just the props.

John Mueller at Tannen's was a big influence. He "introduced" me to Marlo. I met Frank Garcia at Tannen's as well. Don Alan, when I saw him on the "Magic Ranch" and "Playboy After Dark" TV shows was an inspiration. Earlier, I watched the Bonomo's "Magic Clown" on TV. Slydini on the Dick Cavett show was, to me, the ultimate.

Then they opened "Mostly Magic" in New York and I was hooked. Slydini played there on Fridays.

Paul Harris's books made me think magic was contemporary.

Studied with Richard Kaufman for 2 years -- my real mentor.

Matt Field


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » October 29th, 2003, 3:02 pm

I remember seeing Steve Dacri performs here at the local TV station and was quite taken by his presentation and abilities . But my mentor was my Uncle Norman who showed me my first trick , then taught me many.
Peace Out
Amazing Dick


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » October 30th, 2003, 12:00 am

My first mentor in magic was Ken Brooke. I spent a fortune in his magic shop. After Ken I met Jake Evans who worked at Devneports, then Jake introduced me to Alan ALan. Alan Alan has been my mentor in magic ever since the early 70's. Every Saturday, Alan and I would go to a coffee shop in the heart of Soho and we would meet the movie director Cy Endfield for lunch. Cy Endfield was an outstanding magician and my friendship with him lasted until his untimely passing.

My post would not be complete without mentioning my greatest inspirations, Slydini, Harry Lorayne,Derek Dingle, Larry Jennings and Michael Skinner. It is one thing reading about your heroes but to sit and study magic with them is mind expanding and life changing. I am forever greatful to them for their guidance.

My one disapointment was not meeting Marlo, alas you can't have everything. My current mentors are Whit Haydn and Darwin Ortiz; outstanding magicians and thinkers in the world of magic today.

With respect

Michael Vincent


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » October 30th, 2003, 3:54 am

... I have learned, and am still learning, from the "Greats" at my local Magic Shop -- Rob Herrit, Eric Goldfarb and Bob Elliot. My first true mentor, teacher, critic and guide, was the late- and much loved- Billy Naughton. All have incorporated their love and respect for magic in with their lessons. They have accepted me into their ranks, put up with my questions, and have guided me from the very beginning.

... I've never had an opportunity to know any of the often mentioned world-class magicians, but if I could have, I'd have loved to have met Ed Marlow.

... I admire any magician who remembers his first few weeks of learning, who didn't quit, and has pressed on; I admire those who try to achieve good and strong magic - fluid, and with a personal sense of grace and style.

... Thanks:)


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » October 30th, 2003, 3:01 pm

Mentors: Heba Haba Al (Andrucci), Skeets Mallun (both at the New York Lounge), Tony Andruzzi - for friendship, teaching and publishing my stuff, Terry Veckey, Jose de la Torre (for a freebie 2 hour personal lesson on the knives and coins while I was working at Treasure Chest in Chicago - it was a SLOW day!), Dai Vernon (the $1,000 lecture was an eye opener!) and Jay Marshall for reminding me "It's just a G-d Da__ed knife! Treat it like one!" :D

Heroes: All of the above, my late, lamented business partner, Paul Huffaker of Michigan, Michale Ammar for his kindness at a lecture in CHicago and the clarity of his teaching style, Max Maven (not only for his chops, but his attitude as well), Dai Vernon, Don Alan, Jay Marshall for his long friendship and kindness shown to me as a young, budding magician back in the Jurassic Period, Al the Only for being a friend, Dan Harlan, Charles Cameron for the kind words and superb thinking on bizarre stuff, SLydini, Renee Levand, Channing Pollock and Groucho Marx (for demonstrating the funniest card trick I have ever seen in the movie Duck Soup).

There are many others whom I have missed and apologize to.

With respect and thanks to them all,

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.

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Pete Biro
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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Pete Biro » October 30th, 2003, 3:14 pm

Lee... I accept your apology :D :D :D
Stay tooned.


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » October 31st, 2003, 4:10 am

... In thinking about this, I remembered the very first time I realized that there truly could be M*A*G*I*C -- not just in the story books, or stories told my my grandpa -- but on T.V. - the Ed Sullivan Show - which was really truly honestly real... I remember a fellow called the Banana-Man -- he wore this huge overcoat and a bowler hat; and he had a walrus mustache. Then, from under his coat, he'd produce a mini-bicycle and ride around, then he would produce a violin, a hatrack, a cello, a rubber chicken, three layers of overcoats, lots more stuff, and finally a 4ft. bunch of bananas. An absolutely amazing multiple production - but he wasn't billed as a magician.


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Pete Biro
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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Pete Biro » October 31st, 2003, 9:22 am

Ever see SAMSON? A Danish comedy act, produced dozens and dozens of flowers and tabbles while madly dancing and skipping around the stage.

A riot.

Tried to book him for IBM severall times, but the summer was his busiest season in Denmark, where he performed at the Tivoli Gardens.

Sadly, he died last year... :(
Stay tooned.


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » October 31st, 2003, 4:20 pm

I never had a "mentor"
I taught myself completely from books. David Berglas did spend a few hours one evening helping me when I was about 17 but that is about it.Very kind of him because he didn't know me.
I never met a magician until two years after I took up the subject.
I thank God every day for that. I am sure I would have gone down the drain as a performer if I had ever got caught up in the magic world. By being protected from all the dross for a couple of years I learned how to be good without being influenced in the wrong way by all the incompetents.

I suppose the authors of the books were the "mentors" Hugard, Lorayne and Ganson were the most important of these people and the most influential.

Even the other things I do were learned exclusively from books. Kid shows, cold reading, and even hypnosis.

Yet I have admired a very few performers over the years. A tiny, tiny, tiny few.
I have not counted them but I bet it doesn't come to more than about 25 or so. Maybe as low as 15. Right now I can't think of more than about 6 close up performers that I admire. Sadly they are all dead.
Not many considering the thousands of magicians I have come across.

Either my expectations are too high or the accepted standards are too low.

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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Marty » October 31st, 2003, 6:14 pm

small town Western Massachusetts doesn't lend itself to mentors but mine was a year older than me in my high school....

Bob Chesbro (inspired by his uncle Vern C..) was the most brilliant and maybe little known close up thinker I have ever seen.. I have seen his stuff in developement and in the works and when it all made the cut it was the best....his few marketed products are jokes compared to the real ideas he shows...I believe he once easily fooled Derek Dingle with his coins across ... he got inspired by Jerry Andrus who should inspire us all in more ways than one...Bob is almost a recluse when it comes to his work but what he has done is simply remarkable setting standards so high that I made every attempt to emulate

Marty Shapiro
now Greeville SC

Brian Marks
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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Brian Marks » October 31st, 2003, 8:03 pm

Sol Stone
Jerry Deutch
David Roth
Simon Lovell


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » November 3rd, 2003, 3:48 am

Hey Rich,

The "Banana-man" character was apparently played by a couple different guys over the course of several years. There is a feature article on the character in the August 2002 issue of Magic magazine.



Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » November 7th, 2003, 2:41 pm

The magician who interested me in magic first, back in 1960, was Mark Wilson. To my everlasting joy, I worked for Mark and his lovely wife and assistant Nani Darnell from 1998 to 2001. They were a great influence on me.
Other mentors included (back in the 70s) Tony Slydini and Don Alan, both of whom I studied with. More recently, I have learned a lot from Michael Ammar, Aldo Colombini and Lou Serrano.
Lary Crews
Las Vegas

Bill Duncan
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Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Bill Duncan » November 7th, 2003, 7:12 pm

In my mid twenties I stumbled upon a magic shop while I running an errand for the movie theater I was managing. Behind the counter, guarded by two small black poodles with delusions of grandeur, was my first mentor.

Marv Taylor of Marvins Marvelous Magic in Bellevue, Wa. Marv was a retired Boeing engineer who had opened a magic shop where you could hang out all day, eat sandwiches from the Arbys around the corner, and just watch magic and learn. He sold me the Dime and Penny, Bobos and COINMAGIC. He taught me to love magic books more than tricks and to read every page. He also taught me the back palm with coins and why the Erdnase One Handed Shift was worth learning.

Later, I discovered Micky Hades Seattle studio, where Steve Minch guided my early book buying and allowed me to spend hours in the stacks browsing. He answered my questions about every book that caught my eye and sold me a copy of the original Cylinder and Coins manuscript, that I found tucked in a corner, at list price.

That manuscript became a gift for the man who taught me my first pass and showed me Ramsays coin work: Steve Dobson.

Marv is gone now, but both Steves are very much with us and continue to enrich the art.

It occurs to me, as I write this, that Im a very lucky man.


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » January 6th, 2004, 2:37 pm

Colonel Frank M. Seymour was my mentor. He had retired to Little Rock and while some of his students could afford the shiny dove pans, I had to build and scrounge from the kitchen and Dad's workshed. The Colonel took me under his wing and taught me to entertain people with magic. I still do his Milking Cow for family and senior audiences-and while it is not much magic-once I do it-I always get requests to "do the cow thing". He claimed Lou Tannen took the idea from him. Does anyone reading this remember the Colonel? He was in vaudeville and then later the school and banquet circuit, along with his wife, Frances. He taught me showmanship and the KIND and POLITE handling of spectators.
David Lewis


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » January 6th, 2004, 5:35 pm

David, somewhere between 1966-1972 I was in outdoor show business. In that period of time I played the Rochester, N.Y. fair and I was right across from Col.Seymour. They had ther trailer stage and did four shows a day. I saw them all. I can shut my eyes and see him pin that cow's tail on the boy and with the funnell have the girl pump his arm and tickle her with the end of the tail or maby he pinned the tail on the girl and hit the boy in the face with the end of it, I'm not sure, we're talking about 40 years ago.I dug out a picture of them they gave me and a ad they sent to prospective clients " The $10,000 shoping center show is coming your way and available"It has a picture of their trailer and stage and one of Frank and Francis. If you don't have these I would be happy to scan the and e-mail them to you.


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » January 6th, 2004, 7:16 pm

WOW! Did this bring back some FOND memories?

Dai Vernon: Joe, you gotta have an emotional story.

John Scarne: Hit em fast - hit em hard - leave em shocked.

Francis Carlisle: Keep it simple so they can follow what you are doing.

Frank Garcia: Thanks for the weekly challenges.

Jim Herpick: Demonstrator at Tannen's, for sharing his wealth of knowledge.

Lou Tannen: For never-ending advice and for keeping me on track.


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » January 6th, 2004, 8:39 pm

Yes, this does kick in the memories. My first mentor was (and still is) Joe Stevens. I worked in the Emporium in the late 70's and early 80's (and have been doing ad copy and internet videos for Mark now), and both learned a lot, and became part of the family.

John Novak took me under his wing, and I learned lots about both escapes and presentation. The funniest lesson I learned was where he was doing a show at one of the local "meat market" bars that were prevalent in the 80's. He told me that drunk adults were just like children, so he changed his whole routine to his school show on a whim, and it went great.

Met lots of people through Joe. Spent an eleven hour ride (each way) with Joe and Michael Ammar in Joe's old cargo van between Wichita and St. Louis. Learned lots, but I figure that Michael must do coin rolls in his sleep. Another St. Louis trip, Joe flew back, and we drove his van. Wasn't too bad, except Hans and Helga Moretti performed there, and was going to do the video shoot for Joe right after. We had to listen to the ducks and chickens the entire eleven hour ride back.

Made many funny great memories.



Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » January 7th, 2004, 1:22 pm

My mentor was Leo Solomon who died at the age of 82 January 4th, 2003. Leo was a Slydini fan and a text book magician. He could entertain you all night with cards, coins and silks. He took me under his wing about 1988 and constantly worked with me to better me. His constant constructive criticism was used to better me. He was a wonderful man that did not deserve to leave this world in such a sudden way. I met Leo at Ring 50 in Washington DC in 1988 ever since then we were friends and he became a great mentor. Not sure if I'll ever meet anyone quite like him again.


Re: Who are YOUR mentors and idols?

Postby Guest » January 8th, 2004, 7:53 pm

Well, let's see, Pete...mentor, I only had one. Steve Vogelsang. He was a semi-pro working in Rumford, Maine, in the mid-70's. He took me along with him and had me perform with him to "get the ol' feet wet"...Hope he's alive and well, and still knockin' 'em dead!

"Idols" is a little strong, but "Heros"?

Al Flosso. The first REAL magician I ever met. I cautiously entered that dusty old shop, and suddenly, "Stand up STRAIGHT, my boy! Now come in, come in..." I will never forget him. "The Coney Island Fakir"...Sold me my first set of cups and balls (I still have them), and made me stay until I could do the whole basic routine! When my dad came by (6th floor, I believe) to pick me up, he thought Al was, "Quite a character"! Ha! he had no idea! I only found out much later just how beloved he was "in certain circles"...

Steve Dacri. Sold me my first I.T. trick, "Wunderbar". He gave me tips on lighting, angle, height...also taught me the whole routine before I left. Then I went back and bought my first Zombie from him (My grandmother lived in Worcester, MA, and boy did I look forward to THOSE visits!).

Hank Lee. I could write a BOOK about the great things to say about him and his shop. The man is a MASTER businessman. I'd also say that about his craftsmanship.

(OK, don't get a big head about this... :p )

Pete Biro. The Genii articles...the Johnny Palmer Cups & Balls...the great contributions he's made to the world of magic...

Pete also talked me into obtaining his Pete Biro Hindu Cups & Balls, recently. Could not have asked for better. Personal service from a true GREAT of magic (we don't have many left! Live long and Prosper, Pete!).

Whit Hadyn...Bringing a new twist (pun intended -taking a bow -) to the color changing knives...a true classic, plus the Comedy Ring Routine, bringing new life to that classic as well, plus his Teleporter...nawww, I won't go there! That's too good!

Harold Rice (& family)...The only reason my silk act was as good as it seemed to be. Stunningly bright, colored silks (they still look like BRAND NEW today!), the Palmo Ball, and "Thru The Dye Tube"...could not have done it without Rice!

Ken Brooke. His version of the Linking Rings gave me that flawless "count" of the rings. Still would use that same method today (If I ever get them out and show 'em again!).

Recently, Mickey Silver. He sent me a VHS tape (HIS expense!) of him doing the Retension Of Vision Vanish...I want this for myself, so I won't use up space ranting...

Michael Rubinstein...Encyclopedia of Coin Sleights DVD, vol's 1-3. If it's coin sleights, other than Mickey above, I can't recommend anyone else. I still have an old Videonics tape...still use it.

Many more, most of whom I've never met...

John Gaughan (Copperfield's "Flying")
Bill Smith
Mike Ammar
David Roth
Johnny Thompson
Laurie Ireland..ok, enough...


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