I flew to Long Beach on a whim, to visit the Magic Castle in Hollywood. I went there to visit a childhood friend of my father’s, George Schindler, and got to meet his wife, Nina, for the second time. George was performing in the Parlor at the Magic Castle and I had never seen him perform before. He arranged two guest passes for me, so I brought along hypnotist Marc Bachrach, whose home I stayed at while in the LA area. ...
Tickets to Magic Castle, March 21, 2012Murray Hatfield also gave me passes for the night, so Marc invited two of his friends, Liza Carbé and Jean-Pierre Durand, of the Incendio Band. Coincidentally, I also got to see Murray Hatfield & Teresa perform in the main room at the Magic Castle, the Palace of Mystery. The other amazingly funny act in the Palace that night was Marty Putz.
Alan Sands and Milt Larsen at Magic Castle
Alan and Milt Larsen
I had my picture taken with Milt Larsen, one of the two brothers who created the Magic Castle. And one of the highlights of the night for me was talking to Jack Goldfinger, the entertainment booker for the Magic Castle. Jack has always, in my mind, been one of the great class-act magic performers I have admired for a long time. Magician George Schindler performed classics of magic, with all the classic patter I grew up watching and listening to, as my father was of the same school.
Alan Sands with George and Nina Schindler at Magic Castle
Alan with George and Nina Schindler
You see, George Schindler was mentored by Dr. Abe Hurwitz during and following WWII. Abe Hurwitz was the father of Shari Lewis (of Lamb Chop and Hush Puppy fame) and grandfather of Mallory Lewis, who is now reviving her mother’s famous puppet characters. Dr. Hurwitz was in charge of the NYC Parks & Recreation Department under Mayor La Guardia in the 1930s and 40s. He started magic clubs in all the boroughs of NYC. My father, George Sands, joined all these magic clubs and was also mentored by Dr. Hurwitz before WWII, and after he returned from the war (not that my father ever went to war, but that’s another story). So, that is why my father knew George Schindler and why they were friends, since the beginning of time. It was great to see George work. He has all the spunk and energy I remember my father always had. Even their styles were similar; I loved it. And it was great to see that George Schindler is still as sharp and alert as ever, and he certainly hasn’t lost any of his flair and showmanship.
Alan Sands and Murray Hatfield at Magic Castle
Alan and Murray Hatfield
Murray Hatfield & Teresa were really the delight of my evening at the Magic Castle, since I represent them in the United States. They shined far brighter than I had expected. Teresa is an amazing dancer, able to hold the attention of the audience as she solo dances her way in and out of boxes and around Murray. She added a fluidity to the show like few have. Just smooth, that’s the only way to describe it. She’s gorgeous, yet not overtly sexy; classy, yet completely enthralling. Murray does all the talking – and he is a great entertainer in his own right. It’s rare to see two people working together who can hold the attention of the audience independently. Together they are absolutely dyn-o-mite!
Marty Putz is a prop comic in the style of Carrot Top, but he is totally original and I don’t think he missed making every single person in the audience laugh, a lot! He made ME laugh, and I am one jaded audience member! All three acts—George Shindler, Murray Hatfield and Teresa and Marty Putz—are the type of performers I can go see again and again and never get tired of watching ... well, twice, anyway. Maybe three times. OK.
Logo: The MandalaOn Tuesday, March 20th, I scheduled my flight back to San Francisco at 5:15 p.m. so I could hang out in LA for the day. I went to a morning meeting with Marc Bachrach where professional people network and promote their small businesses. I got to sit and talk to Magician Shawn McMaster for a good half-hour. Shawn is a magician and has an online magic magazine called The Mandala. What a really great guy! We all had 30 seconds to introduce ourselves at the meeting. Shawn actually pulled off a 30-second version of the Invisible Deck. Amazing! I know! After the intros, Shawn and I snuck into another room and discussed the possibility of his interviewing me for a future issue of The Mandala magazine, and it was a great pleasure meeting him.
lisareif_cardAt the meeting as you come in and register, they give everyone the opportunity to throw their business card into a hat and they raffle off donations. I won one of the items, a free 30-minute massage from “Massage by Lisa Reif.” I went for the massage, but decided to pay Lisa anyway since I don’t live in the LA area, and I didn’t feel she was going to get the response she wanted from giving me a free massage. I know!
Then I drove into Hollywood to have lunch with my nephew, Cameron Fife, who is working diligently to be in the movie business, doing the hustle in all ways – living the fantasy. Elise Sherman joined us, a fortune teller and card reader I met online because we are both being pursued by a scam artist at this moment, and Scot Nery, a juggler friend I know from Facebook, also joined us. He is friends with all my juggler friends in the Bay Area. Scot is a hoot. No, hoot is an understatement. Even Paul Nathan says Scot is twisted. The waitress dropped a hamburger bun and Scot proceeded to spend the next two minutes trying to pick it up, and he did it with the grace of someone who has practiced dropping, picking up and dropping something over and over again. I was the only one who got it, but it was beautiful. I bought lunch for everyone and told Scot he had to leave the tip, so he pulls out a check and writes the tip for $10.31 – I know!
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