(Close Window)
Topic: Seen any good pitchmen lately??
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Aug 17, 2005 01:26PM)
I have. Spent a good deal of time at the Wi State Fair last week. I saw a GREAT English gentleman pitching knives. Very very strong. He was turning an average of 6-8 every time. Extremely funny and a great pitchman. (Don Driver may know his name) I wanted to video his pitch but didn't because I didn't get a chance to ask permission first. Also, watched and met a gentleman named Phil who was pitching lint roller called "Mr. Sticky" He was also very good and a really nice guy.

But the highlight for me was the 5 days I went down and got to hang around Don Drivers and S David Walkers joint. Man, I can't tell how much fun I had with those guys. They are both just incredibly nice and funny guys. Excellent pitchmen of course but also excellent magicians. They were both so nice and even though I was worried about it, they really didn't seem to mind letting me hang around. Don Driver helped me out with a bunch of card magic (even after I had made a fool of myself by trying to perform for him). Did you know Don Driver is a great card magician? Did you know he does great work with rope? Did you know Don used to do escapes? I didn't, but I do now, because I got off my butt and went down to meet these guys.

S David Walker is an incredible man. The King of the Svengali pitch, taught by Mickey McDougal himself. David assisted Dunninger years ago. David Walker has basically seen it all and done it all. And he's had fun all along the way. He has more jokes, stories and anecdotes than you can imagine. And he's just as nice a man as you'd ever have the honor to meet.

I made some great friends during the run of the fair. I could hang out with these guys all day. This may have been David’s last fair (I'll believe it when I see it) but Don and I were able to capture one of his last pitches of the fair on video. I also have video of Don pitching and David Walker sticks the joint!! It's GREAT!! If they come back next year, I may take the entire week off from work. It was that much fun!!

If you ever get a chance to meet and hang with Don or Sir David, please, do yourself a favor and do it. These are good people. I also want to take this time and thank Don and David for being so nice and gracious and letting me hang around. And special thanks to Don for helping with some card tricks and also teaching me a cool rope trick and the "reverse snapper" LOL.

Thanks Guys!!

I'm not "with it" but I've been near it.
Message: Posted by: drwilson (Aug 17, 2005 01:53PM)

What a riot! I wish I had a chance to see these guys.

The small fairs I've worked in Maine don't have pitchmen anymore (except me), but I remember with great fondness the folks pitching the Veg-O-Matic and blenders (new at the time) at the Canfield Fair in Ohio. I also remember a Svengali pitchman, it must have been the mid 1960s. Of course, my dad bought me a deck, and the torch, as it were, was passed.


Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Aug 17, 2005 01:59PM)

It was great time. Hopefully Don will see this and post something. I would like to know who that English guy was. Don met him, so he knows his name.

My family and I would always go to the State Fair on my Birthday because it always coincided with my birthday. David Walker has been working that Fair since the 60's. It's highly likely that I had seen him work all those years ago. Even as a very young kid I would have been attracted to a magic deck of cards.
Message: Posted by: Steve V (Aug 17, 2005 03:52PM)
The English guys name is Mark Hyman.
Steve V
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Aug 17, 2005 03:54PM)
That right it is!! How did you know that Steve?
Message: Posted by: prospero (Aug 17, 2005 05:05PM)
After that comment, methinks this belongs in the mentalism forums.
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Aug 17, 2005 06:53PM)
I'll second that...HOW did you know Mark Hyman Steve V ????
Vandy is putting it on a bit thick.I did show him some card stuff and a few rope routines.
Vandy is a really OK guy.I never knew him before the fair.I posted here that I would be there and he said "see you there".At the last minute David couldn't get to town to pick me up at the bus station on Monday Aug 1st.I ask Vandy if he knew of some sort of ground transportation to the motel we were all staying atabout 25 miles from downtown Milwaukee.He said there is nothing but he would take off of work and come pick me up.He did so.Mind you he never knew me.
So who's the good guy here?
Thanks again Vandy.
David and I had a really fun 11 days together with Vandy.
Message: Posted by: Steve V (Aug 17, 2005 09:54PM)
I don't always reveal when I may be someplace....
Steve V
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Aug 18, 2005 08:06AM)
Ahhh a man of mystery huh? Well if you see Mr Hyman tell him I enjoyed watching him work.

Message: Posted by: Avrakdavra (Aug 18, 2005 09:13AM)
There's a woman ("pitchwoman"?) I have seen a few years running at an indoor Spring Fair in Bangor, who has super-absorbent towels. I would rather watch her pitch her towels than have to suffer through the "entertainment" enlisted for the fair (which includes a prepubescent hip-hop "dance" group of tarted up little girls acting as if they are the entertainment at a brothel while moving to lyrics that their parents would have been punished for using in the house, much less performing to in public) anyhow...the towel lady is filled with such radiant enthusiasm, such charismatic appeal, such perfectly studied combinations of patter and movement, that I usually watch her whole pitch three or four times solely for the pleasure of it (and we stock up on super-absorbent towels, of course). I have spoken with her between pitches; she told me that the towels have paid for her mortgage. Wow.
Message: Posted by: isaacfawlkes (Aug 18, 2005 10:46AM)
This past May I had the chance to hang out with Don in Tennessee. I was working the Tennessee renaisance fair and found Don here at the Café. Found out he lived about 5 minutes from the campground I stay at every year. We got together and Visited Tabby at his home/studio/workshop. What wounderful people. Got to see Don work his pitch and visit with him in Nashville. Boy did I get an education. Loved the opportunity to see a real pro work. Thanks Don. To anyone out there if you ever get the chance to see Don work take it, watch and learn. I also recommend you check out his tape on the pitch. It is a wealth of information.

Thanks again Don
Hope to see you next May
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Sep 7, 2005 04:33PM)
Don is putting together a tape of some of the pitches from the State Fair. I have some footage that I am going to get converted and give to him. David Walker sticking the joint after one of Dons pitches is hilarious. Don hands him a deck and says "be sure to read your instructions" when David walks away from the joint he looks right into my camera with the tiniest bit of a smile. It's priceless.

Message: Posted by: markjens (Sep 8, 2005 02:42PM)
Vandy, Don told me about what a nice guy you were, and I want to thank you for taking such good care of him. He is such a good guy, and would have been stranded if not for a guy who had never met him, but heard of him on the Café. That is the definition of a community, my friend. Glad you got to spend some time with him, too. He is the real deal, as is Mr. Walker. Be well,

Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Sep 8, 2005 03:58PM)

Thanks. I didn't do much, but what I was able to do was an honor. I agree about the community. If it weren't for the Café I would have never had the opportunity to meet Don and make a new friend. He is a great guy. Also, I would never have had the chance to hang out with Don and David and have such a great time.

Message: Posted by: Steve V (Sep 8, 2005 06:29PM)
Don, next Friday I'm taking a day off from work and making myself available should you need a ride. If not then I'll just go to Reno.
Steve V
Message: Posted by: gregg webb (Sep 19, 2021 08:54AM)
Not lately, but way back there was an interesting one. A type of pen that would write forever and if you got a dud, you would just bring it back and he'd give you another. They were made of glass rods and were 'drawn' to a point over a Bunsen burner and a bit of black paint on the tip. There were instructions. You were to take the pen home and soak it in water overnight and then the next day it would write forever. Of course it didn't. But, IF it didn't you'd take it back to the guy and he'd give you one that wasn't 'defective'. The pitchman moved around so you wouldn't even find him...but if so he'd give you a new one in the rare case. Either you didn't follow the directions correctly or perhaps it really was a dud, so here's a fresh one. I always got a kick from hearing about that one.
I was annoyed at people who pitched Svengali decks. I felt it was exposing. To this day I can't believe people end with showing the cards to be all alike. If you don't reveal that fact, a giveaway, there are many great tricks possible, including the ability to riffle shuffle the deck. Many great card men have created effects using a Svengali without the exposure at the end.
Message: Posted by: Phil Ainsworth (Nov 1, 2021 05:49PM)
Hi Gregg, nice to see a new face join the pitchman forum.

It’s interesting to hear different people’s opinions on different things, and on what they view as ‘exposure’ and on what they view as an ‘interesting’ pitch.

However, I can tell by your answer that you are currently a magician, rather than a pitchman.

That’s perfectly admirable, and you’re very welcome here.

But if you’d like to learn the pitch, you might need to do a 180 on your beliefs :-)