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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Did you hear the latest? » » The Safe House : "Sneaky" Pete Elliot (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

jgravelle
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No sooner do I list him as a tremendous influence:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......start=60
...than I discover that "Sneaky Pete" has long since vanished from behind the bar at Milwaukee's "Safe House" tavern/restaurant.

My understanding is that he was battling serious health issues when last seen. Aside from a brief mention on Doc Eason's site about his early days at the Tower (circa the Bob Sheets era) I never discovered much about a guy who, twenty years after I last saw him perform, is still emblazoned brightly in my memory.

Magi often talk about meeting a spectator who carried a signed/folded/burnt/restored playing card in their wallets for years. For nearly a decade, I was that spectator, and Peter Elliot was that magician.

If anybody knows anything at all about his whereabouts, I'd be indebted.


Regards,

-jjg
The Donster
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Someone just said the other night that sneaky pete disappeared off the face of the earth and no one knows where he is.
sneakypetefamily
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Hello jgravelle,

I am Sneaky Pete's niece and I just came across your post this evening. It was fun to read your thoughts on my uncle. I, too, loved watching him at the Safe House- what a place! I am sure he would have been honored to have influenced you. He is actually in the hospital right now in the end stages of Parkinson's. He could use your positive thoughts!

Take care. All my best.
rrath1
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Peter Elliott was not only a very entertaining close up magician, he was a very good teacher. Peter would spend hours working with me for days on card sleights. His use of misdirection was the best I have ever seen, even as of to today. He was the one who taught me to use props in close up, not only for visual intrigue, but for misdirection. Many people never realized the reason he carried a bowie knife around, it was because he used it every day in his magic routine. Pete did a world class chop cup, he taught me how to use the cup for entertaining small or large crowds, but during his routine, when he would ask if the ball was under the cup or in his pocket, he paused and say ¡¨this is a game of choice, do not grab¡¨ and with that he would grab the bowie knife and stick it into the table with a large ¡§bang¡¨. Now the knife was stuck in the table or bar, and your mouth would just drop¡K. Later in life, he started using a switch blade because of concealed weapons violations. Once the secret service know of him, the Milwaukee Police Department would stop him and pat him down for it and his ¡§toys¡¨. Everything he carried on his body had a purpose for doing his magic act, the thumb cufflinks, the microphone in his ear was for his little amplifier he wear on his belt, the blank gun for effect in getting everyone¡¦s attention, immediately¡Kƒº Peter would carry over 25 Gimmicked Johnson Products coins everyday in different pockets so he know where the one he wanted to use without fumbling around. His props in his pockets were his act, Sneaky Pete did not do one trick after another, but told stories with the props in his pockets. His test tube of grass, which his called hooch, his nickel with a penny nail solder to it, his funny glasses, and the list would go on and on. I never saw him drink alcohol, or be rude. He as a good individual, and a friend. I know Peter had Parkinson the last 8 years, and his health was failing. God Bless him.

One a side note, I am not sure many people know Peter was convinced of the John Kennedy assassin conspiracy. He had a replica rifle, all the warren commission¡¦s findings, and he wrote articles for publications. He would talk for hours about it. He was very knowledgeable in subjects that interested him. He never did anything half way, all in or nothing.

Bob aka the Amazing Rath
Wizard AKA The Amazing Bob Rath
john_willman
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Believe it or not, Peter was one of the most influential people in my life. At 7 years old he gave me inspiration to learn magic as I would stop him and ask him to show me card tricks in front of the corner Dime Store in Shorewood. Over the years I've seen him fly some of the local kids (with the help of a parachute), spew decks of cards from his mouth and make 5 pound steel bolts appear right in front of you while eating pizza at Numero Uno's on Oakland. He hypnotized parents and teachers and created custom made ventriloquist dummys of dozens of the neighborhood children. He was a riot at the Safe House and a good friend, I will continue looking in the shadows for I don't believe he is gone, this is just another one of his tricks!
JHenderson
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I worked with Peter at WTMJ-TV back in the early 70s for just over one year. He started there a few months before I did, thus he had more seniority thru the stage hands union and any promotions were decided based on that seniority. An opening developed for a senior floor director and although I had my Associate degree from MATC's television production program Peter had that seniority thing going for him. The stage manager sympathized with me but said his hands were tied. Peter was ill-suited for behind the camera responsibilities. He had no formal training as a senior floor manager because as a junior floorman he was not the crew member wearing a headset and learning the business through all the mechanicians of listening to the director create a TV show. Once the headset was his to wear and guide the production in the studio I think he was absolutely lost.

I left TMJ shortly after Peter received his promotion moving over to WISN where I eventually was promoted to a director position.

Peter was a unique individual, something of a free spirit. He went through his fascinations with all the gusto he could muster. He went through his imaginary one-sided love affair with actress Ann Blythe with a binder of photos, and as had been mentioned elsewhere, he had his thing about the Kennedy clan. In all of the massive amounts of down time at TMJ he was getting into ventriloquism and working on creating his dummy.

I had always been interested in magic, particularly closeup card magic. Peter showed me a few things to set the hook and then I bought a number of books through Kanters in Philadelphia. Peter protected his secrets, possibly because he likely didn't trust me and I think he probably didn't trust most people he came into contact with. In a lot of ways I felt sorry for Peter. He had that silly overwhelming crush with actress Ann Blythe and confided in me that he was always on the look out for a real girl friend to love. I don't know if he ever found that kind of happiness. It was difficult to have a real conversation with Peter as he was always "on" and seldom opened up for those around him. He substituted his "on stage" personae for anything calling for a personable touch. My guess is he may have felt inadequate to that task. To some degree, most people have their insecurities. I know I do.

I had heard through the grapevine that he may have moved to Denver sometimes in the late 70s/80s, only to move back to Milwaukee a few years later where he either rented or owned a home in the near downtown area. As was also noted earlier by a relative in 2011, he was sick for a number of years, sadly with Parkinsons. How sad it must have been to deal with the cruel disease that may have robbed him of his dexterity.

Sadly again, I saw Peter's obituary a couple of years ago in the Journal/Sentinel, bringing back magical memories of that time in the early 70s when the pearl in the oyster shell was life for Peter, and only a few of us saw that value.
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