Mr. Ira Stadlen (Stage name: "Captain" Allen Swift) has passed away at the age of 87. Throughout his career, Mr. Stadler voiced characters in more than 30,000 television and radio commercials, as well as cartoons such as Underdog, Tom and Jerry and Diver Dan, but some might remember him most as the man who saved Howdy Doody. His nephew has posted a remembrance on his blog, which includes a link to a "novelty 45" mp3 recording of Swift's "Are You Lonesome Tonight." [more inside]
Most people have probably never seen the magic of Steve Cohen, who for 14 years has held court in a private suite at the Waldorf-Astoria, to sold-out crowds of "celebrities, royalty, government officials, and other VIPs." But bits of his "Chamber Magic" show are available online to marvel at. [more inside]
Genii, the conjurer's magazine is the longest-running independent magazine devoted to magic and magicians in the history of the art. Their website has a bit of information for the public including some lively forums, but the real treasure trove is MagicPedia. There, you can find over three thousand biographies, information on almost 1,700 books of and about magic, nearly 200 magic organizations, and so much more. The current featured article is on the American Civil War, and the role numerous magicians played at that time.
Ehrich Weisz may not have had much formal education, but he grew up to be Harry Houdini, self-educated stunt performer, escape artist, and owner of "one of the largest libraries in the world on psychic phenomena, Spiritualism, magic, witchcraft, demonology, evil spirits, etc., some of the material going back as far as 1489." Houdini bequeathed much of his collection to the Library of Congress, which received 3,988 volumes from his collection in 1927, including a number of magic books inscribed or annotated by well-known magicians. Archive.org has more of the Harry Houdini Collection online. He also put a great deal of research into his tricks, as seen in his letter to Dr. W. J. McConnell, a physiologist at the U.S. Bureau of Mines, written up after Houdini's watery grave stunt in 1926.
If you're looking for some uplifting dance music to help you get your week going, Goldroom's Otoño Mix 2011 is a very soulful nu-disco collection that pairs nicely with The Magician's Magic Tape Sixteen. Need something with more energy? Edwin van Cleef's November mix is a bit more hands in the air, perfectly suited for the elimination of afternoon doldrums. [more inside]
Bryan Hollon, better known by his musical handle Boom Bip, is probably recognized for two drastically different sounds: abstract hip-hop from his early Mush Records days, and his Mercury Prize-nominated Neon Neon collaboration with Gruff Rhys. Add to that a new inspiration: black magic from the turn of the 19th century. What does that sound like? Let Boom Bip walk you through his new album, Zig Zaj. Step behind the deep red velvet curtains for a peek at the history of Boom Bip. [more inside]
"A wonderful brain interprets something differently from what it actually is, but it doesn't mean it's made a mistake. It took the information it had and did it's best job." Those are but two tricks from Jerry Andrus (1918-2007), self-taught magician and illusionist, and one of great renown amongst other magicians. But he was more than a slight-of-hand man: he was also a poet, philosopher, inventor, humanist, agnostic, and skeptic. There are an impressive number of videos of him online, these are but a few to get you started down the rabbit hole: Jerry Andrus is visual poetry (Google video / YT, 28 minutes) :: Jerry Andrus at the Magic Castle (G.vid, 49 min), Jerry Andrus at 83 his Optical Illusions (G.vid, 41 min) :: Jerry Andrus and Ray Hyman on Uri Geller (YT, 26 min) :: James Randi on Jerry Andrus (YT, 5 min) :: James Randi - who was Jerry Andrus? :: James Randi describes Jerry Andrus. The last two clips are from Rex Young, a young illusionist who has recreated many of Andrus' illusions on his YouTube channel, and made some of his own.
Actor, Playwright, Artist, Comedian, Magician, "Man of A Thousand Voices" (including Mighty Mouse,) "Beloved Herring Maven"
He invented or popularized a startling array of the fundamental elements of film: the dissolve, the fade-in and fade-out, slow motion, fast motion, stop motion, double exposures and multiple exposures, miniatures, the in-camera matte, time-lapse photography, color film (albeit hand-painted), artificial film lighting, production sketches and storyboards, and the whole idea of narrative film.
By 1897, in a studio of his own design and construction – the first complete movie studio – his hand forged virtually everything on his screen. Norman McLaren writes, "He was not only his own producer, ideas man, script writer, but he was his own set-builder, scene painter, choreographer, deviser of mechanical contrivances, special effects man, costume designer, model maker, actor, multiple actor, editor and distributor." Also, his own cinematographer, and the inventor of cameras to suit his special conceptions. Not even auteur directors such as Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles, John Cassavetes, and Stanley Kubrick would personally author so many aspects of their films."Inside: 57 films by Georges Méliès, the Grandfather of Visual Effects. [more inside]
Lennart Green is an exceptional magician. [31 mins - but worth every one]
When the CIA tried its hand at magic A top-secret 1950s training manual for CIA field agents, based on the knowledge of famous magician John Mulholland, has been made available to the public. Via
Everybody loves Zombies. Everybody loves killing Zombies. Nobody wants to suddenly wake up surrounded by Zombies. Not when you thought you were just playing a video game.
Mind control revealed. Derren Brown, magician turned hypnotist, performs amazing feats of mind control and then gives away the basic psychological tricks he uses. The link is to the video clips from England's Channel 4, an article is here. Via boingboing.
Man charged in Blaine paint attack "A 28-year-old man has been charged with criminal damage for allegedly throwing pink paint at the box illusionist David Blaine has made his temporary home." It's not the first time he has been attacked. Here are the stunt details, a progress report and the box's location.