Sunday, May 15, 2005

"One of the better, cheaper acts"

You could describe Magic as my first love. The fact that I have a love/hate relationship with it now doesn't really change things. You'll hardly ever get me to do a trick. I still spend quite a lot of money on books and gizmos. I just love the subtlety of the art. One of my favourite acts (seen live once, and also on tv) used the slogan "One of the better, cheaper acts" in his publicity - a self-deprecating phrase that could only fit a real Grand Master. Dean of the Society of American Magicians, Jay Marshall, died on May 10, 2005, at age 85. I saw him dominate a huge theatre using just a white glove on his left hand - Lefty - a wonderful variation on the usual Vent Act - and unusual in that the puppet's voice had a deeper tone than the performer's...I never stole the line for publicity purposes, but I used it as a throwaway line about my own act, occasionally. I hoped he'd forgive me. Watching him onstage made me want to do something, so apparently simple and effective, to brighten up people's lives.

One time, as the story goes, he asked a young fan what he wanted to do when he grew up, and the boy replied "Be a magician!" "Son," Jay replied, "you can't do both."

Unfortunately, I finally grew up.

Jay Marshall and Lefty

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