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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » BILL NEFF (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

donsmagic
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I just got through reading the new Bill Neff book Pleasant Nightmares by William Rauscher. It was a great read.
I used to own a magic shop on Ft.Myers Beach Florida. One day I got a call from a lady that said her husband was a magician and she had a few of his things that she would like to sell. Since it was "season" and the traffic was heavy, I had a friend of mine go see her. He called me on the phone to tell me that her name was
Evelyn and she was married at one time to Bill Neff. We bought the few items that she had and she called me the next day to thank me for sending my friend over. I sold the items to Bill King who has a outstanding Neff collection. I did keep a pocket trick that was a small wood vase that was empty. You threw a hanky over the vaseand upon its removal a little flower appeared. I don't know who made it but I do have the original instructions. I also kept a photo of Bill performing the linking rings for a elephant and a type written manuscript for a book he wanted to write.
mtpascoe
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If I am not mistaken, but wasn't Bill Neff a friend of Jimmy Stewart?

I remember as a kid seeing the pictures of the naked women Bill used in his act. What a great combo; women in the buff and magic.

The only other picture I had of that like was Bill Bixby in Playboy doing illusions. What spread that was.
Stanyon
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Neff was not only a friend to Jimmy Stewart, who was a magic buff, but they teamed in an act.

Cheers! Smile
Stanyon

aka Steve Taylor

"Every move a move!"

"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
donsmagic
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That's correct. When Bill Neff died, Jimmy Stewart sent a large bouquet of flowers for his funeral. Jimmys parents and Bill's parents were close friends, so the boys grew up together.
hugmagic
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Recently while enjoying Ken Klosterman's collection, I stumbled on a book of photos of Bill Neff's. Many of these were the original photos used in his publicity. Several of them had various amount of fading or bleaching on them. These were on Neff and on many of the girls.

As a photographer, I recognized the signs of airbrushing that had not been fully neutralized after it was done. Flipping over one of the photos, the proof was there. Neff's had remarks written on the back of the photo like "Make breasts bigger" "Clean up the hairlines" "Shorten skirt" "Remove eye wrinkles"

So Mr. Neff was a magician in more ways than one. He knew how to make a good photo into a great photo. Something people don't think of much today with Photoshop but it was a big deal and expensive to do back then.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Irish_matt
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There's a great review of an old Bill Neff show from 1946 in Arnold Furst's "Great Magic Shows".
hugmagic
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Most of the photos in the Furst book are the ones I saw at Klosterman's that had been airbrushed.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
David Todd
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Quote:
On Nov 11, 2008, Irish_matt wrote:
There's a great review of an old Bill Neff show from 1946 in Arnold Furst's "Great Magic Shows".


Photo collage of the Bill Neff show , from the Furst book:

Image
hugmagic
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All the ones on the bottom row had marking for the airbrush artists to add more details to the models, such as extra cleavage. It was fun as photographer to see where the potassium ferrocyanide had continue to etch away at the retouching. It was a big deal back then to airbrush or retouch photos. Now an eight year old can do it with photoshop.
The live performance shots were taken by Charles Reynolds.
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
Russo
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A Lot of those photos looked just like Ken Griffins Show (in their book-"Illusion Show Know-How")- Wife and I assisted them (Ken & Bert) on their Calif tour 1960.
David Todd
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As had been mentioned above, Bill Neff and James Stewart were friends who performed together before Stewart headed for Broadway and then Hollywood. In this photo they are reunited after Stewart returned from his service in the Army Air Force during World War II .

Image
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