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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Return Of The (not so) Youthful Curmudgeon! - by Paul Chosse » » Hey Dan, here it is, the story you ALMOST told... » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Paul Chosse
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V.I.P.
1955 - 2010
2389 Posts

Profile of Paul Chosse
Hi all!

I said this would be a sort of daily journal, and today I read something I just have to comment on. In the "Guest of Honor" forum, J.C. Wagner hosted this month. One of the topics was about my old friend, Jerry Camaro. Unfortunately I didn't see the post until the forum was closed, so I didn't have a chance to answer there. I'm going to do that here...

Dan McLean, in reminiscing about Jerry, mentioned another Café member. That would be me! And he alluded to a funny story. I guess he didn't want to tell it without my permission, and I appreciate that consideration, but the story is sort of amusing, so I'll have to tell you...

It all started with the Faucett Ross book. Well, actually it started before that. It started when I met Jerry Camaro. Jerry was a short, fat, jovial, Italian mafioso, bartender, smoozer, card trickster, hand grenade-throwing ex-biker fun guy! And that's the short version! Jerry and I had history before we even knew one another. Jerry used to be a Hun, member of a Rhode Island motorcycle crew from the 70's that was often at odds with the Hell's Angels, another club that had a chapter in Massachusetts, where I lived. I knew the HA, and Jerry was a Hun. We had history. In fact, the HA headquarters in Lowell, where I hung out, was blown up by a hand grenade when we were all away, in Laconia, NH for a "Bike Week". We always wondered how that happened. Years later, as I sessioned with this affable Italian bartender, I found out! Yes, Jerry and I had history...

It was 1982(?), and there was a new guy in town. "Town" was Santa Rosa, California. I lived near there, in the Redwoods on the Russian River. I heard about the new guy, and he heard about me. Somehow we managed to get together, and the next thing you know we were doing card tricks. What else? One thing led to another, and Jerry and I became the very best of friends. I can't tell you how many things we did together. Conventions, shows, etc. And our families got very close. His daughter calls me Uncle Paul. So, in fact, did Jerry, when he wasn't calling me Dad! Of course he only did THAT when there was a pretty girl around. He introduced me as his father, thinking he'd cut out the competition! Jerry was the consumate jokester, always cutting up, and getting everybody laughing along the way. I never had a bad time when I was with Jerry. Niether did anyone else...

There are a million stories, but I'll stick to the one at hand. Now that you know that Jerry and I were close, you can figure that we were always working on something together. I had a vast library, and Jerry was always borrowing books. One book he wanted to read was that Faucett Ross book I mentioned. I loaned it to him, and after he'd read it we talked about the stuff. As usual, Jerry was looking for something funny - he really thought that you ought to be laughing through the magic. Jerry just couldn't do a serious magic trick! there is a funny anecdote in the Ross book about Tommy Downs. In case you haven't read it, I'll summarize:

It seems that Faucett Ross was having lunch with Downs, and asked him, "Tommy, what is the best trick you do?" Downs, having just eaten, paused a moment, wiped his mouth with his napkin, and said, "That's it!" "That's what?" asked Faucett. "My best trick, that was my best trick, I just did it for you!" Downs opened the napkin to reveal - a set of dentures!

It seems that Tommy Downs had two sets of dentures - "Lookers" and "Chewers". One for looks, the other for eating. And he thought that switching them right in front of people was the best trick he did! He got a great boot out of it, and Faucett thought it memorable enough to record.

Well, Jerry and I thought this was the funniest thing, we laughed about it for several minutes. And then Jerry said to me, "Paulie, we both have fake choppers - we must be able to do something with that!" So was born the stuff of legend!

So here's the deal: It's a Friday night in sunny California, I have some magic friends visiting from the East Coast, and they've heard about this great bartender-magician, Jerry Camaro. Do I know him? Can we see him work? Of course! Dial, dial, dial, ring, ring, ring, "Jerry? Uncle Paul here. I'm coming in with friends to see you work - let's do the "bit"..."

We arrive at the restaurant, make our way to the bar, and there's Jerry! He rolls on over and says hello, but, sort of ... subdued, you know? Takes our order, makes the drinks, ackowledges the introductions. Then, off he goes...

"Hey, Jerry, these guys want to see some magic! Do something for them!" Quietly, not at all like Jerry, comes the answer, "Ah, maybe later, Paul..."

"Oh, come on Jerry! Let's see some magic!"

"Paul, I can't, don't embarrass me!"

"What Jerry? what's the deal? What are you talking about?"

"Paulie, I lost my teeth! I CAN"T work, I can't even talk!"

"Oh, is THAT all? Here, use mine!"

And out came my upper plate, a full denture. I handed it to Jerry, he grinned from ear to ear, showing NO TEETH, and popped my plate in his mouth! He'd push it around, smile, and say,

"That's great! Thanks Paulie! Here, you guys - pick a card!"

Well, you should have seen the faces on that crowd! It was amazing! Dumbstruck hardly describes it. They'd pick a card, Jerry would do a trick, maybe two, all in deadly silence.

Finally, as the shock wore off, someone would have to ask, "What the Heck was THAT?" And Jerry would just say, "What? You never saw a card trick before?" You had to be there, it was just beautiful...

We did this once, at the Beverly Garland Hotel, during an A-1 Convention. The session was a memorable one. Roger Klause, Larry Jennings, Mike Skinner, Bill Goodwin, Dan McLean, Steve Brooks, Jerry Camaro, Me, and about half a dozen other folks. If you ever see them, ask about it! That may have been the all time greatest audience Jerry and I ever had for that trick, and it brings a smile to my face every time I think of it - I hope you're smiling too...

Best, PSC
"You can't steal a gift..." Dizzy Gillespie
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Return Of The (not so) Youthful Curmudgeon! - by Paul Chosse » » Hey Dan, here it is, the story you ALMOST told... » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes)
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