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Topic: I remember Don Alan
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Oct 30, 2004 03:03PM)
I remember Don Alan… In magic it is almost like - who doesn’t remember Don Alan.

Don Alan was a friend of my Dad’s (The late Billy Bishop). And later he became my friend too.

I met Don Alan for the first time at a three sheeters party. For those that don’t know the three sheeters was an entertainers club in Chicago. The ideas of the name of the club came from the vaudeville slang from star billing on the list of acts that made up the bill. To have three sheets the big billing said that you were the star of the show.

I had seen him several times on the Bozo TV show (WGN Chicago). He performed the kind of magic I liked best - close up magic.

I still remember the first time I saw Don Alan perform magic live at a show. He did an effect with one cup and a ball. (Chop cup) the small ball vanished from his hand to the cup and from the cup to his pocket. Then he produced two tennis balls one at a time from the cup.

He did a card stab where a selected card was found by stabbed the deck with a sharp knife.

Another card was selected and lost in the deck. The cards were dealt in a circle on the table. A toy bird was removed from a box. After some comedy lines the bird was blindfolded and wound up.

The bird pecked around and found the selected card. (ranch bird).

Sponge-balls vanished from his hand and appeared under a bowl. Balls vanished from his hand into the spectators hand. Then the bowl was lifted and a large steel ball barring was found under the bowl… It was heavy and solid!

Then a hat was shown and coins added. A silver coin and a washer changed places and one of the coins penetrated the table. Don Alan offered to do it again and put the coins below the table and asked the two spectators to push down on the hat…

As they did they could not push down the hat. Then the hat was lifted and a big steel nut was found under the hat. It was huge and heavy. I know because I was one of the people that was pushing down on the hat.

I was totally fooled and decided I wanted to do magic like that when I grew up.

I met Don Alan several times as the years passed by. I got to see him perform magic on several television shows. More appearances on Bozo, That’s incredible, The Tonight show, The Mike Douglas, show and many others.

In magic Don Alan is also remembered for one of the best magic television shows called the Magic Ranch…

Many in magic have said that because he appeared on TV so much over the years that he became the most copied magician in magic.

I also feel that Don Alan was one of the magicians that led the way by appearing on television so much he helped make close up magic popular with the lay audience. And acceptable as it’s own magic - performance art form.

I just think of Don Alan and I smile… He was one of magic’s performing ALL Stars and a legend in magic!
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Oct 31, 2004 03:36PM)
I met Don Alan many years ago when he was performing for Anixter cable at the Offshore Technology Conference. He was an interesting fellow and a heck of a magician. He inspired all of us who knew him.

Sure, he had his foibles, but don't we all?
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Oct 31, 2004 06:06PM)
I remember seeing him at the first magic convention I ever went to. What a great performer.

Everyone should be required to own the "Magic Ranch" videos to study how a pro works.
Message: Posted by: richardl (Nov 9, 2004 03:18PM)

I found this link of Don Alan's performance on that's Incredible.


Very nice performance.
Message: Posted by: dlcmagic (Nov 15, 2004 07:59PM)
Richard is right. I just purchased a Don Alan's
Magic Ranch video and it's fantastic !
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Nov 28, 2004 04:42PM)
His magic ranch show was a very good show. And good for magic. It was produced by George B. Anderson who worte one of the great books in magic called the Magic Digest.

I used to sell car loads of that book. It had a low price and the two tricks I did to sell the book were the shell game and the chain of chance.

In it George talks about the old days when he produced the magic ranch for time to time. There is even a spong ball and tea cup routine in it that is a little like the Benson bowl routine.

I think when the Benson Bowl routine first came out it was performed by Roy Benson as a stand up trick and he did it as an encore effect in Night Clubs.

Don Alan took it to the close up table and added the load that was a ball barring - and the ball barring was a Frank Travis idea.

Chop Chop also did the Chop cup as a encore night club effect... Don Alan also took this to the close up table.

I have footage of Don doing these effects at my web site below... As well as other greats in the art of magic...