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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » Jack Gwynne...the Magician's magician (6 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

southernmagi
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I dearly loved the magic of Jack Gwynne and family. The suspension, vanishing chicken, Temple of Benares, Flip-over box and of course, the fabulous fish bowls production. Jack had a way of taking a standard effect and making it better. He also had a team of family members adept at misdirection when needed. His suspension picture with Helen Gwynne is one of the most magical photos ever taken. The choreography to pull of the fish bowl production(8) was a masterpiece of
misdirection, mechanics and pure guts. Anne Gwynne answered my question via mail about this production and said the fishbowls were extremely heavy, however Jack seemed to handle the stack with ease.

Click here to view attached image.
Conrad Hartz
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hugmagic
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I never saw Jack work but I did see David Carvett's fine recreation at IBM many years ago. It is a masterpiece of misdirection.

The key was Jack was a very strong fellow. When you figure water weighs 7.5# a gallon, he was lifting something like 65#. To do that and make it look effortless, is another matter. That is one reason no one has ever consistently performed the act.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Julie
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For us weaker folk, Abbott's used to sell a Stack-of-Glasses Production. It's not as impressive as the fishbowls, but a whole lot more practical.

Julie
hugmagic
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Bill Brewe used to make a stack of either 3 or 5 brandy snifters. Very practical as the glasses were self centering.

Julie, I bet you could steal the glasses from rollerskates.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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magicgettogether
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Greg had some Stack of Glass productions made up for the Get Together, they are in stock.

http://www.abbottmagic.com/Stack-of-Glas......sprd.htm
80 years in the making - Magic Get Together
Visit Abbotts Magic Online - Abbott Magic
Julie
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Quote:
On 2011-07-19 18:28, hugmagic wrote:
Bill Brewe used to make a stack of either 3 or 5 brandy snifters. Very practical as the glasses were self centering.

Julie, I bet you could steal the glasses from rollerskates.

Richard


:)
J
Anatole
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I think in Dunninger's _100 Houdini Tricks You Can Do" there was a picture of Jack Gwynne doing a levitation on an airport runway in front of an airplane. I was only knee-high to a T. rex at that time, still gullible about whether magic was "real" or not, and that picture of a levitation out in the open convinced me that some magicians really could make people float in mid-air.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
David Charvet
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I had the pleasure (and honor) or performing Gwynne's routine with his original bowls back in 1990 at the IBM Convention in St. Louis at the Kiel Opera House, where Gwynne had performed years before. This performance was recorded by NHK network in Japan and shown on one of their magic TV specials. This was the show that Richard Hughes mentions seeing, above.

The Gwynne bowl routine is a difficult one to present properly without three well-trained assistants. The timing and misdirection involved requires everyone being at the right place at the right time to make it work. I also performed the routine on MagiCruise in 1989 on the S.S. Norway and M.S. Seaward and in both instances had the assistance of a great crew of dancers from the review shows, who were used to "hitting the mark" and made it look wonderful.

Yes, the bowls full of water are heavy. Gwynne was an athlete and pole vaulter in his youth and was quite muscular. Karrell Fox once told me that "Gwynne used all of the effort to lift the stack of bowls that I do to lift a potato chip!" When I performed the routine I made one concession - I used modern plastic fishbowls. Two reasons: yes, they are lighter - and, I did not want to break Gwynne's originals. (The Gwynne props were loaned to me by a collector and I returned them to him after my several performances with them.) Still, the plastic stack with water weighs about 35 pounds.

I did have John Pomeroy of Gem Magic build me a duplicate gimmick (the Doc Nixon design which Gwynne used) and I put together a duplicate set, which is the one I use today. My sister is an artist and she painted the silks (3 - 42" squares and a 36" x 25 foot streamer) with the fish/aquarium theme as Dorny had done for Gwynne. The routine starts with the production of silks from a large fishbowl filled with water, setting on a low table. The silks are then gathered together and the stack of bowls appears atop the large bowl, making a stack that stands 5 feet from the floor. The fact that Gwynne could do the routine surrounded by the audience in the middle of a night club floor is what made it a real miracle.

I think the main reason it is seldom seen today is that the apparatus is not readily available, it is a messy trick (with the water) and it requires assistants. (Just the kind of effect I love!)

I have also owned Gwynne's original Temple, Palanquin and Flip Over Box, all of which had original touches not seen in the versions that were later commercially produced. Yes, he was a creative man and a great performer.
Marshall Thornside
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I believe the Al Gabor bought Jack's Stack of Bowls and eventually sold it to whomever.

When my dad created the idea of the modern levitation in the 1960's he was going to build
it for Jack but Jack said to build it for himself because he was going to reture and he was
happy with his suspension. Eventually my dad did find the the right things needed to build
it and it became several magicians favorite levitation...this would be long before the
gamalo levitation.

Marshall Brodien currently owns the Temple of Benares.

I'm currently researching the Scenery that Jack owned from the 1934
World's fair for my book project on my father. The origins and story
plus to find photos from it being used at the fair.

I adore the scenery!
you will remember my name

World's Youngest Illusionista
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omk
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David Charvet who posted above wrote a comprehensive book about Jack Gwynne titled Jack Gwynne: The Man, His Mind, and His Royal Family of Magic.

I was fortunate to see Jack perform a couple of times and the book brought those performances back to life. It is a great read on a great performer. I highly recommend it.

Dave
southernmagi
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I purchased David's book when he completed it. I absolutely treasure it. I was also luck enough to get two Jack Gwynne typed letters to a customer of his "Chicken" trick. This letter was published years ago in an "encyclopedia of magic" type book that I now cannot recall the name. Anyway, it is a special collector's piece as Jack was selling his tricks to other magicians.
Many thanks to David Charvet for all he has done to keep Jack's magic alive. Conrad Hartz, Beaufort, SC
Conrad Hartz
Professional Puppets in Wood
Beaufort, South Carolina
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Marshall Thornside
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I'm currently doing research on the chinese scenery my dad helped
Jack get for my book.

Jack and Anne were very close friends of my dad's.
I keep in touch with his grand daughter.
you will remember my name

World's Youngest Illusionista
7th greatest pianist in the world
Go Red For Women and Stroke Ambassador
www.mai-ling.net
David Todd
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Quote:
On Jul 19, 2011, southernmagi wrote:
His suspension picture with Helen Gwynne is one of the most magical photos ever taken.


Does anyone know where this particular photo of Gwynne performing his suspension came from ? (book , magazine article ?) I've searched via Google Image Search , but have not been able to find a higher resolution version of it , only the tiny 180 x 145 version posted above by southernmagi. There are several good photos posted online of Gwynne performing his Miracle of India suspension, but this one eludes me. I hope someone here might know the source of this one.

Click here to view attached image.
hugmagic
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I believe that this may be aN Irving Desfor image. I will have to check his book to see if it is in there.
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.
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