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Dick Oslund
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Hi Jon!

I have a couple of stories about Charlie Mardo!

John Cassidy is playing the local Junior College at 6:oo PM and it's now almost 5:oo so, Ill come back this evening or tomorrow.

O
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Anatole
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Dick,
I remember Earl told me about a time Senor Mardo came to Norfolk a little down on his luck and in need of some quick cash--and he sold Earl the roll-on table you can see in this photo from the Ring 103 facebook page:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/h......3c0ebd8e

Earl had a policy of never lending his equipment to magician friends, but when I performed on the stage of the Navy YMCA one evening, he let me use the Mardo table. He came along to see the show and made sure I took extra care of the table. At Earl's funeral, Ruth told me that Earl always thought of me as a son, and that meant a lot to me.

The photo shows Earl and Donna doing their award-winning Chink Cans routine that ended with the production of a 50-foot Rice streamer--an amazing, classic routine!

----- Sonny
----- Sonny Narvaez
Dick Oslund
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Hi Sonny! I certainly do remember that table! --and how proud that Earl was of it. I often wonder what happened to it when Earl died. I hadn't even heard that Earl died, and was touring Virginia for the Roth office. I found Donna at the old shop on Granby about 9 PM. It was closed, but when I identified myaelf, she opened the door and I got all the news. She told me where Ruth was living, and I visited the next day. Ruth gave me Earl's "A & B" shooting wand, and several other small props. I was a bit shocked when she brought out some pictures of Earl in his casket.

Yes! I remember well, when Charlie Mardo arrived from Florida, without an overcoat, on a cold winter night in 1951, in Norfolk, I wrote up the details in the book, and I've decided not to tell them here, as it's too personal a story. Suffice it to say, that I was able to repay a debt to Senor Mardo. He left Norfolk with money in his pocket, a new overcoat, a bus ticket to New York, and, most important, his dignity.

The other Mardo story:

In July 1947, I was in San Francisco with my parents. On a Saturday morning, I found Bob Stull's magic shop. It was upstairs on Market St. I climbed the stairs and the shop was full of magicians (all adults) socializing. I was 16, and didn't know anybody. I was ignored. When a spot at the counter opened up, I asked for a hand dye tube. I already had two silks in my pocket. The salesman dug into a drawer and produced a tube. It was $.75! I turned to leave and as I got near the door, a little man, Spanish looking, said, "Do you know how to use that, young man?" I replied, "No, sir, but instructions came with it." I showed him the 2" x 3" instruction "sheet" printed in very small type. I said, "I'll go back to the hotel and read them." He held out his hand, and said, "Let me have those silks and your dye tube, and I'll show you!" He spent 20 minutes, explaining, demonstrating,guiding,and enabling me to do the color change silk. He saved my eyesight (those tiny lines of print!)and, also he saved me hours of reading (and decyphering!) those "esoteric" instructions!

I thanked him, and he said, "De nada!" and got up to leave. As the door closed, another man sitting nearby, who had been watching, asked me, "Do you know who that man is?" I said, "No, but I sure appreciate his helping!" The man said, "That was Senor Mardo!" I hadn't the slightest idea who Senor Mardo was. I had never heard the name before. But, it was apparent that he was "somebody". I thanked the second gentleman, and left.

I've done the Color Changing Silk in almost every show that I've done since. (67 years!!!) Along with Senor Mardo's excellent help with the physical moves, I developed a presentation that fits me. It's my opener, and has never failed to "get 'em with me"! I silently thank Senor Mardo every time I pick up the silk and dye tube. He was just one of many, who, "helped along the road"!

He published five booklets which contained contained some real gems. "Routined Magic" contained his egg bag routine, in which he shares his vanish of the egg from the outside of the bag. (Harold Sterling credits Mardo with this "move". It also contains some great concepts with the old crystal casket,
including showing it empty (the audience can see through the glass sides). His notes on cups and balls are also in it.

"Applause" followed in 1947, "The Hands Only" also in '47, and White Sorcery in '51. "The Cups and Balls" was published in '55, and included his "treatise" on the cups & balls, plus his notes on The Homing Ball, The Shell Game, and "The Chinese Marvels" --from Sach's "Sleight of Hand". His contributions to magic literature--and magicians--are worthy of note.

He was a fine performer, but, from what I've read, and heard, he was apparently not too good a businessman. as evidenced by his arrival in Norfolk in December sans overcoat.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Anatole
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Re Dick's comment about Mardo being not very business savvy. I think a lot of magicians were not very good businessmen--or couldn't read the handwriting on the wall that said magic was dying and needed a blood transfusion of new ideas if it was to recover. I have a Bob Thomas article I clipped about Blackstone (Sr.) telling how from one year to the next he kept losing money and eventually had to retire. Then there was a resurgence of interest in magic with the advent of Doug Henning and David Copperfield. Great acts will find a venue if they are patient. I remember going to a lecture by a prominent magician who said that there was no longer a market for manipulation/dove acts like Channing Pollock's, even in Vegas. But a year or so after I attended that lecture, Lance Burton and Joseph Gabriel arrived on the scene. The cream will rise to the top. Denny Haney is another pro who managed to find good venues for his show and make a decent living.

----- Sonny
----- Sonny Narvaez
Bill Hegbli
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I would not be so harsh on Senor Mardo or any of the famous magician that have been in the past, many of the story ending are not very exciting to read about. I am sure Dick Olund knows about the traveling magician more then anyone in our century. He was just a workaholic and planed for his future. America was a land immigrants and many followed the path they stumbled upon, as Emil Jarrow. Remember their was no air conditioning and mass transit was the means to get around in the U.S. They paid their own way for meals, lodging, and cleaning. They were rushing from town to town for the next show. They had no home base because they did not make enough maintain a home and travel all over the country.

I remember when the buses stopped at every little town in America, even villages like Colon, Michigan. I seen a Trailways bus stopping in Colon in the 1965, just like in the old movies. It no longer goes anywhere near Color, Michigan today.

They had no Social Security and pensions back then, nothing to fall back on except any savings, and sooner or later that also runs out. Yes, it is possible to out live your nest egg.

So before commenting on their lack of business knowledge, take into consideration the era they lived in. It only seems glamorous to outsiders, but it was life for them.

So much in show business has to do with being the right age, and being in the right place at the right time.

I also have to whole heartedly disagree with the statement above that "great acts will find a venue if they are patient", you have to be out there and exposing yourself, otherwise no one will know you exist, or even want to work. You have to make connections and stay in contact, and let them know you want to work.

Example: I use to work with a guy in banking. He was let go do to cut backs. He played every week with a friend that was still in banking, only a different bank. They played Racket Ball every week for a year. Finally the guy ask how things were going. They guy said, job hunting is not turning up anything. The guy replied, you are looking for a job, I thought you were just taking time off. The guy said, no I have been looking for a banking position for a year now. The guy said, why didn't you say anything, I can get you in our bank, we have an opening we been looking for a mortgage manager. The guy started his new job the next day.

See, he waited and nothing was happening, but as soon as he informed others, his situation turned around. Great, because he had a wife and 2 kids, and she had just been laid off as well.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
bowers
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Ha Axel
As said above rope effects work very well with
A large crowd and distance is a factor.
Even the simpler ones like cut&restore
professors nightmare and linking ropes.
And welcome to the café.
Todd
JayF
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One card routine that I have done for over a thousand people is cards across. I used a personalization of Simon Lovell's presentation. It seemed to play great even in a large banquet room.

Jay
Dick Oslund
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Hi Bill! Your comments of Dec. 5, are just two posts above, so I won't quote them here.

You make some very good points regarding "how it was back then". Young folks today, who didn't experience the Great Depression, should see the "Grapes of Wrath" movie.

I really didn't mean to disparage Charlie Mardo. I don't know all the details of his life. There may well have been circumstrances of which I am unaware. I first met him in San Francisco, in 1947. I was just 16. I was 21, almost 22 when we met again. As Sonny noted above, Mardo came into Norfolk "...a little down on his luck, and, in need of some quick cash...". At first, I was unaware of his problem. I introduced Mardo to Earl Edwards (owner of EdMar Magic Shop). Earl was old enough to be my father, and he was much wiser than I. Earl, realized Mardo's situation, and, in his kind fashion, "took the lead" in helping Mardo. Mardo had arrived on a Saturday evening, hungry. "We" (Earl, myself, and, Hy Kroskin)did what we could to help.) Mardo left on Wednesday morning, as I noted above, with money in his pocket, a new overcoat, a bus ticket to New York, and, his dignity.

Yes! It definitely WAS a different "world" in the early 20th Century!

I especially liked your story of the unemployed banker. It reminded me of another example. I think it was in a motivational speaker's speech, that I heard: "He who hollers down a well, about the things he has to sell, will never make as many dollars,as he who climbs a tree, and hollers!"
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Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Dec 14, 2014, JayF wrote:
One card routine that I have done for over a thousand people is cards across. I used a personalization of Simon Lovell's presentation. It seemed to play great even in a large banquet room.

Jay


Steve Reynolds showed me Bill Malone's "Cards Across" a few years ago, when I was wintering in New Orleans. It awakened my interest in that ancient routine. I first saw Stuart Ross present it in 1946. It's a great example of what I call a "card trick for a thousand people"! --and you carry the props in your shirt pocket!
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Dick Oslund
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We have gotten way off of Axel's OP! I hope that he will benefit from some of our conversations.

To make amends, I have mailed him all of my notes on (golf) ball manipulation, multiplication,and sundry effects. Also, I tossed in some comments on split fans, "fixing up" a deck, etc.

He is limited to 5-10 minutes. He already has some talent with cards, so, he should have enough to keep him out of mischief for a few months!

Keep us posted Axel!
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Anatole
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Yeah, we got way off-topic from Axel's original post. But this is the Magic _CAFE_ after all, not the Magic Lecture Hall. Conversations in a Café often drift with the stream of consciousness. (How's that for a metaphor?) When a topic moves too far in the wrong directions, the moderators sometimes re-route the discussion to a more appropriate forum. But I have enjoyed this discussion and will make one more comment about entertainers who encounter obstacles in their efforts to be successful in a challenging and difficult profession. Keep in mind what Irving Berlin wrote in his classic song "There's No Business Like Show Business":
The costumes, the scenery, the makeup, the props.
The audience that lifts you when you're down.
The headaches, the heartaches, the backaches, the flops.
The sheriff who escorts you out of town.

The sawdust and the horses and the smell.
The towel you've taken from the last hotel.
----------------------------------------

Show business can test a person's determination and will. As ballroom dancer Johnny Castle (played by Patrick Swayze) said in "Dirty Dancing":
"You don't understand the way it is, I mean for somebody like me. Last month, I'm-I-I'm eating Jujubes to keep alive. This month women are stuffing diamonds in my pockets."

Some struggling full-time pros live out of their car when traveling from town to town because they can't afford a room for the night. Then they wash up in a public restroom and change from their traveling clothes into something more appropriate for their audition or to meet with an agent. Part-time pros (of which I admit I was one) don't always go through that kind of struggle since they have another profession to fall back on that puts money in their pockets so they don't have to eat Jujubes to keep alive.

----- Sonny
----- Sonny Narvaez
Dick Oslund
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Oh! How I remember Berlin's song! I played it on a 78 rpm record when I was a teenager! Wilma Rench (organist at Abbott's GTG for years) used it to close the medley of curtain raisers at every show! You've brought back some most happy memories!

You make a good point. Sonny! Those who have replied to Axel's OP have given him some good specific suggestions. --Enough to get him thinking, anyway! And, that's what a good mentor does. Budding young magician "wannabees" should also hear some backstage anecdotes! I remember a not too qualified "magician" who managed to get booked on a cruise ship. He was so bad, that he was fired after his first show. The ship was at sea. He was hired as a dishwaaher for the rest of the cruise! I never heard of him, again. I remember a young fellow who insisted on doing "illusions" on a school tour. He couldn't make the jumps with all that baggage. The bureau manager phoned me to ask if I could help find a replacement. I suggested a young college student, whom I had "trained" to work out of a little prop case.

The manager needed to fill another 10 or 12 weeks. He signed the young man. After his FIRST DAY on the road, when the manager got reports from several schools, he booked another four weeks for that tour, and, offered him a tour for the following year. He was in his second year of college, but he accepted that second tour,plus a third tour with another agency. Then, he retured to school. he graduated. --and was a proud young man. For 20 years he was a part timer THEN, he went back on the road!

Enough stories!


Axel and I have emailed several times. He is 15, adolescent and eager! He is very polite. He expresses his thoughts very well. He asks intelligent questions. How can I not respond with appropriate answers?

Of course, there's more to being a magician than doing tricks! I always keep in mind, S. H. Sharpe's comment: "Those who think that magic is doing tricks, are strangers to magic. Tricks are only the crude residue from which the lifeblood of magic has been drained."

I always strongly urge, yes, even demand, that young fellows who dream about performing professionally,"get" a good education. That way, they always have a
"rock to land on" if it should become necessary.

I tell them, that an education is the one thing, that doesn't DEpreciate! I strongly suspect that those pro's. who "live in their cars", did not get an education before they got into "$HOW BU$INE$$".

There are exceptions. (Here comes the "but"!) But, the exception "proves the rule".
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
wally
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Looking for Joseph ovette repeat knot booklet.
Dick Oslund
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Wally! Abbott's still sells it. In the '40a, it was one dollar! Now, I think it's FIVE! You "get" 2 pages of instructions.

>>>>>>>>>>>PM me!!!!!!!!!!!<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
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