Joe’s Personally Speaking – September 2008
“The Funny Side Of Magic"
by Tony Gerard
With the good response that we had with the historical funny articles that Tony accumulated for years, we are issuing part two of his fine book that he printed, with title, “The Funny side Of Magic!”
You will enjoy these articles and they are all true and thanks to Tony for writing these for posterity.
You can contact Tony if you are interested in the complete “Funny Side Of Magic” articles and he is working on volume 2 at present
Tony Gerard (Magic Masquerade)
2011 West Main St
Kalamzoo, MI 49007
Now, please enjoy the brief funny “bits” of our illustrious stars of magic.
The Practical Joker
Most of you know of Don Alan, the performing magician, writer and creator of fine magic. How many of you know of Don Alan the practical joker? He didn’t reveal the practical joker side of his personality often but when he did it was sure to be a winner. My favorite Don Alan story involves Don and his maid. Not his house maid, but the maid who cleans the hotel room after the occupant has stepped out. I was told that when Don checked into a hotel he would bring his own soap, towels, toilet paper and a box of sanitary toilet seat covers. What he did next shines some light on his humorous side. During his hotel stay, which was quite often four to seven days, he would use only his own towels, which after the use he would hide in an empty suitcase. He would use only his own toilet paper and leave the hotel’s paper untouched, and every time he would use the toilet he would replace the torn toilet seat cover with one of the new ones that he brought along. One can only imagine the thoughts and questions that must have gone through the maid’s mind after the third or fourth day of his stay.
I Wanted To Hear The Echo
This story involves the board of directors from The Las Vegas Magic Seminar. Present were Joe and Martha Stevens, Jay and Frances Marshall, Roger and Wanda Klause, Pete and Bobby Biro and Howard and Cheryl Hale. Joe Stevens invited the board to Mexico for a meeting, vacation and to work the Mexico City Magic Convention. While there the group took a guided tour through some of the ancient ruins. At one of the stops, they were taken into an ancient amphitheatre. Though the tour guide spoke little English, he did know how to ask for silence (shhhhhhh). The tour guide then clapped his hands twice. The acoustics were so good that the echo sounded like a second person had clapped his hands.
The tour guide then turned away to show some more of the sights, Roger stepped up and clapped his hands twice and again the echo repeated the sound. Jay Marshall was standing next to Roger when he clapped his hands. Jay looked at Roger and said, “What the hell-o are you doing?” (but not in those exact words.) Roger said, “I just wanted to hear it in English.” Jay immediately broke into uncontrollable laughter. With the perfect acoustics, this in the ancient amphitheatre must have been quite a sight (sound). Roger later told me, “It was the only time I ever made Jay laugh.”
One Last Bit Of Korn
In 1990, my wife Laura, sons Tony and Nick and I were working The Las Vegas Desert Magic Seminar. Also working the convention was my dear friend, Karrell Fox. Karrell was having quite some difficulties in getting around due to his diabetes. Because of that we arranged for a wheelchair for Karrell to use. On one of the days of the convention we took Karrell to dinner. He was quite tired when we took our seats, so we let him doze off after ordering. When the waitress brought the dinner rolls, I thought Karrell to be fast asleep. I leaned over and quietly said, “Karrell, would like a roll?” Without missing a beat or even opening his eyes, he replied, “No thanks, Tony – the floor’s much too dirty for a roll.” Even near death, Karrell was “The King Of Korn.”
Karrell didn’t eat much, so after the meal the waitress handed him some aluminum foil with which to wrap his sandwich. Instead of wrapping the sandwich, he started tearing the aluminum foil. Karrell asked Laura to come over by him, as he started forming the foil. He twisted, crumpled and bent it, then asked if she knew what he was making. No one knew, so he folded, twisted and squashed the foil some more. Still no correct guesses. Then he slowly turned it over, and as if by magic, the crumpled piece of foil was transformed into a little 3-dimensional silver fox. A tear came to Laura’s eyes as Karrell handed it to her. It was her first gift from Karrell and sadly the last. She told him that she would treasure it always and it would go in her showcase, next to the gold medallion given to her by Siegfried and Roy. At that moment, the Star of India in all its beauty could not outshine her newly acquired treasure. As I sit here writing this book, 15 years later, that little silver fox still stands proudly next to the golden medal given to Laura by Siegfried and Roy.
It was getting late and the cast party had already started, so we loaded Karrell into his chair and off we went to the party. Toward the end of the party, Laura and I had to leave and catch a flight to Chicago for the National Halloween Show where we were exhibitors. We said our good-byes and, as were leaving, I recalled that I had not yet had Karrell autograph my copy of ” Abracafox “. I did have him sign six or seven other items, but not the ” Abracafox ” book. I turned and made my way back to Karrell’s table where he was autographing a book for Jeff McBride. Karrell turned and said, “Hi Tony, long time no see.” I brought out the book and asked if I could get one more autograph. Karrell signed it and commented, “Tony, I have signed everything but your wife this week.” At which point, Laura stepped up, pulled her skirt up slightly so Karrell could autography her leg. Karrell got a big smile on his face and we again said our good-byes. If we didn’t leave immediately, we would miss our flight, so I didn’t even have time to read the Korny inscription that Karrell was so fond of including on my items.
We were somewhere over the Grand Canyon when I realized that I had not yet read the inscription. I opened the book and read what he had written, “To Tony, from one of your fans, Karrell Fox”. I thought to myself, that as soon as I get to Chicago, I will phone Karrell and say thank you. Unfortunately, when we arrived in Chicago, Joe Stevens informed us that Karrell had passed away earlier that day. It was the only autograph that I ever received from Karrell, “The King Of Korn”, that was not korny. It may also be the last autograph that Karrell signed. Another amusing thing that happened at the convention was when a person gave Karrell a gift of a book that he had written, he wrote, “To Karrell – you changed my life – can I have the old one back?” I thought it amusing.
The Chandelier And The Boomerang Hat
There are a couple of short stories about Lance Burton that I found amusing. In the first story, Lance was about to make his appearance from the hanging chandelier when the power to the winch went out. It was about two hours before the problem was fixed and the show could go on. Lance was apparently stuck in the chandelier for over an hour.
Another incident happened during one of the Las Vegas Desert Magic Seminars. Lance performed a bit where he took his hat off and tossed it out and over the heads of the audience. The hat would then circle the audience and return to Lance like a boomerang. On this particular occasion, Lance missed the hat on its return. When it came back the second time, it was out of his reach. In the end, the hat wound up suspended from the ceiling for the duration of the show.