Karrell Fox column
Editor’s Note: Karrell’s material remains just as timely now as it did when he first created it. We’ve reprinted a fun effect from his book “Comedy A La Card” published by Magic Inc., and reprinted with permission here. We’ve also reprinted a bio on Karrell for those of you who may not know him. He remains one of the most beloved and gifted performers in our craft.
Karrell Fox first came to the attention of the magic world as a red-headed kid being funny at Abbott’s magic affairs and around Detroit. The red hair darkened to an attractive auburn, the child grew into a man, and the man turned out to be someone very funny, indeed. Karrell Fox today is considered to be one of the leading comedy magic acts in the world.
He was born on January 30, 1928. He nursed his way through the crash of `29 and toddled his way through the Depression. As a child, his parents operated a small restaurant in E. Rainelle, W. Va. (then population, 905). A guest departed without paying a bill, but left behind a few small tricks. With these, Karrell launched into magic.
It has been his vocation ever since. He appeared on the “Ed Sullivan Show” at age 18. He also, at that time, co-owned a magic shop in Detroit. He had his own TV show in Detroit “Famo and His Magic Carpet” in 1949, which made him tops in the club date field of Detroit, Cleveland, Toledo, etc.
In 1959 he toured Europe with a U.S.O. troupe for three months. In 1960 he did a commercial movie for AC Spark Plugs, playing the part of a magician. His wife Lynn, whom he married in 1956, performed as a dancer in the same movie. That same year, he designed, wrote and sold to the Ford Motor Company the complete idea for a traveling advertising show called “The Magic World of Ford.” It toured for three months with three units in various parts of the United States. It provided work for a number of magicians and utilized many magic tricks.
Karrell is a continual favorite performer at conventions, especially at the IBM, where he has lectured continuously for 27 years. He is a past president of that organization and the recipient of many awards in this industry.
******************** Op-Trick-Al Illusion ********************
Although based on an ancient optical puzzle, this gag will get you many modern laughs. It begins with the performer freely forcing the Deuce of diamonds on some gullible but interested spectator. With bravado announce that you will find the spectator’s card.
Running through the deck (or walking, if it’s a hot day), remove a card and place it face down on the table. “This is the selected card” you say.
“You goofed,” spectator says. “My card was a Deuce. This one’s an Ace.”
“Oops” you say. “I guess I did goof. However, if I cause the other spot to appear on the card while you’re holding it, is it still a good trick?”
“Yes,” says the spectator.
“OK” you say. “Hold the card horizontally and SLOWLY move it in toward your face. Now do you see two spots?” you ask.
“Yes,” says the spectator. “You’re fantastic.”
And there you have it. A trick that never fails to amuse.
***************** WORDS FOR WIZARDS *****************
When the professional finds that his act is being copied, he will know that he has arrived. Imitators may be able to copy the motions and the patter, but they cannot capture the personality of the originator. A dwarf may don the role of a giant … but, he remains a dwarf.