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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Milbourne Christopher (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Larry Barnowsky
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Inner circle
Cooperstown, NY where bats are made from
4826 Posts

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I just obtained a video of Milbourne Christopher performing on TV in the 60s from Willliam McIlhany a noted collector. I remembered him from this TV special he starred in with Zero Mostel and Julie Harris as guests. The magic was pretty corny but two things really bothered me. One was the worst performance of the cups and balls I've ever seen and the second was the slowest Metamorphasis ever done (about 10 seconds for the exchange). Mr Christopher is no longer with us to defend himself, but I wonder if others have seen his performances and have other opinions.
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Larry,

I remember seeing the special. Remember this is how magic was done in the olden days. Slow. Boring to us now. They did not have television in the old days.

I have seen a number of so called 'Names' in magic perform. In all instances I have been disappointed in their performance.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
GSmithson
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In defence of the departed Milbourne Christopher, please keep in mind that the man was a performance king and magic luminary. You are extermely fortunate to possess footage of the man.

With that in mind, here are a few thoughts to consider:
1. Television producers of that era may have asked him to perform his effects at a certain pace for the "benefit of the folks at home."

2. Remember also, that television was often performed live at that time and mutliple cameras were "hot-switched." He may have compensated his handling and timing to prevent angle problems that may have otherwise resulted from multi-camera blocking.
Larry Barnowsky
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Inner circle
Cooperstown, NY where bats are made from
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The metamorphasis and cups and balls were shot with one camera. He also did a nest of boxes from pocket with a marked coin which could have been good but he literally fumbled in his pocket for nearly 10 seconds before bringing out a sac with the nest of boxes. At about that time (mid 60s) Fred Kaps followed the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show and was perfection. He also had to deal with live TV cameras and the technology of the day. Mr Christopher contributed greatly to Magic and the magic literature. As a performer I think there were much better magicians among his peers.
KirkG
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How old was Mr. Christopher in the movie? Was he past his prime? I see a lot of magicians continue to perform past their ability. Perhaps that was all it was. Or he could have just been a great historian and just a so so performer. Or it could have been the direction of the director. It is different acting in a movie verses just performing your own act in front of a camera.

Kirk
Larry Barnowsky
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Inner circle
Cooperstown, NY where bats are made from
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He looked about 50. This was not a movie. This was a TV Magic Special and he was the only magician on it.
I checked and he was born in 1914 and this show was about 1964.
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