Sad News: Jerry Conklin Passes

Jerry M. Conklin, a regular at Abbott’s Get Togethers and lead of the long-touring Amazing Conklins lost his battle with cancer on Monday, March 29, 2010.   He was 82.

Mr. Conklin was born in Battle Creek and served in the U.S. Army’s Special Services Entertainment Division after high school.  He married his partner in life and magic, Shirley Robertson on June 24, 1951.  Shirley passed away in 1987.

From the Sturgis Journal of March 31, 2010:

“In 1961, Jerry moved his family to Colon and began working at Abbott’s Magic Company.  Soon afterwards, he became a professional magician, and the ”family of magic” known as The Amazing Conklins traveled throughout the United States, Nova Scotia, New Foundland, Quebec and New Brunswick.  In the 1960s they performed at the Boy Scouts National Jamboree in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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Truly Grand: Boston’s Le Grand David Featured

The Boston Globe provides an excellent retrospective on one of the unique stars of our craft.

As, Le Grand David celebrates its 33rd year, The Globe asks how much longer it can exist.

The show, the theater, the performers, and the audience are an anachronism to a time that may have never existed.

The Globe asked Magic Magazine Editor, Stan Allen to speculate on the show within a show’s future.

That’s a very big question,” he said.  “Le Grand David is very unusual, and the way the show came about is very unusual. There isn’t anything usual about it.  It is as close to Brigadoon as anything in magic that we have.  It doesn’t pack up its tent and go away.”

Like the mythical Scottish village that appears for one day each century, Le Grand David has been a constant but almost ethereal presence in Magic.

Be sure to check out the full article in The Globe.

Visit the show’s web site for great images, information, and show schedule.

Houdini Slated as Next Movie Superhero

The Secret Life of HoudiniThere scattered reports earlier this year that Summit Entertainment purchased the film rights to William Kalush and Larry Sloman’s biography, The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero, to make “an action thriller featuring a character who is part Indiana Jones and part Sherlock Holmes.”

Entertainment web site IGN opined Summit’s decision to stray from the bio-pic format was to build a franchise on Houdini’s fame; not necessarily his life.

The studio announced in March 2009, it was looking for a writer to craft the story and build the super-hero character.

They apparently found their writer and his credits fit the need for a super-hero take on Houdini.

Jeff Nathanson, writer of Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will write the script. Mr. Nathanson worked with Steven Spielberg on Catch Me if You Can and the horrible waste of celluloid The Terminal. His action credits also include Rush Hour 2 and Speed 2: Cruise Control.

IGN was not able to receive confirmation of the writing assignment from Mr. Nathanson’s Hollywood agents, CAA.

Summit was apparently excited by the book’s suggestion that Houdini was a spy for Britain, and possibly murdered by spiritualists in retribution for his very effective debunking of their craft. The book certainly made the suggestions but offered very little support for either the spy or murder claim.

News of this potential deal brings up a sore subject for us here at Inside Magic.

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Melbourne’s Magic Age Featured in New Exhibit

The young, Australian museum curator Simon Gregg believes “the history of Melbourne as two parallel stories: one about the development of a modern-day metropolis and the other about the emergence of floating ladies, vanishing handkerchiefs, straitjacket escapes and a bottomless barrel of logic-defying tricks and illusions.”

Mr. Gregg is featured in a big way in Melbourne’s The Age for his new museum exhibit Hocus Pocus: Melbourne Magic, Mystery and Illusion.  The show starts next week, December 6, at the beautiful City Museum.   The focus is “the city’s so-called golden era of magic, from 1850 to 1950.”

Gold was discovered in Melbourne’s environs during the 19th Century.  And where there is gold, there are people.  And where there are people, there are audiences.  And where there is an audience, there is bound to be at least one magician.

Mr. Gregg believes Melbourne’s “emergence as a magic town came to be after the discovery of gold and the subsequent population explosion of the 1850s.”

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Warm Greetings and Offerings from Lee Asher

Recall a couple of weeks ago when Magician, Instructor and bon vivant Lee Asher made a special offer to Inside Magic Readers?

Sure you do. He promised Inside Magic Readers a free gift on his web site that would help inspire us.

Mr. Asher followed through in spades.

The gift is very limited access to incredible magic videos from our craft’s rich history.  The videos are available for viewing for 24 hours and then moved back into the vault for all time.  We don’t know if he considered the effect of this policy but it has us going back to his site daily.  Hmmm.

In the past week or so we have seen some great (and not so great but nonetheless inspiring) magic and magicians.

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