Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Winton Carroll’s “Most Humorous Magician Contest”

Once up on a time in the land of IBM Ring 50 legerdemain, between thunderstorms that ran through the Washington DC area, there was a contest for the “Most Humorous Magician” held in the honor of Winton Carroll, former Ring president (1962-1963). A $100 grant from Winton’s widow, Emma, was awarded to the winner. The sixty-two audience members enjoyed the comedy and magic of the performers. Defending his title from last year was Reggie Rice, and by membership vote he was again this years winner!

Leading off the “Most Humorous Magician” contest was Larry Lipman (Lorenzo the Great), performing as "Grorenzo the Late" (Lorenzo the Great) did color-changing silks, a sponge ball routine and nesting wands while reciting patter in which he mixed up the beginning consonants of most of the words. His funny line of patter included such lines as he's not a “mategracian” (great magician) and “yank thoo mery vuch” (thank you very much).

Scott McDonald, performing as "The Redneck Magician" offered his version of "The Guessin' Card" whereby he fooled a young audience assistant into believing that he could predict any card that was pulled from the deck. In fact he did guess the right card, along with 51 others on a single jumbo card! He explain the deck was really his NASCAR Trading Card collection in disguise, and asked the young man to pull any four cards from the deck, and he would reveal their true identity. Using the magical powers of his ball cap - "The Redneck Magician" accurately revealed the cards as noted race car drivers including an unexpected one from his "Girls of Hooters" collection. The Redneck Magish then apologized for chewing gum while performing, and showed of his collection of ABC gum (Already Been Chewed). He then proceeded to recombobulate the old used gum back into ready again for chewin' gum and finished with a cascade of gum into the audience.

Professor Ludwig von Schnitzlemacher, (alias John Roberts), sporting a small square black mustache) made a funny entrance speaking in German. He had a five-letter word on a card selected from a pack of 25 and returned to a non-see-thru envelope that he set on fire. Then, using a colander as a helmet to amplify the "voices” in his head, he produced several magnetic letters on a metal tray that eventually spelled the chosen word.

Noland Montgomery opened with a comedy routine with a torn and restored newspaper. He followed this with some impromptu puppetry by fashioning a rabbit with a cloth napkin he identified as Hank the Hare. After asking a spectator mentally choose a number, Hank the Hare demonstrated his psychic power to scribble the number on a pad of paper matching the number the spectator choose. Hank also engaged in other pratfalls, including, to Noland's dismay, sneaking a dollar bill out of Noland's jacket pocket and devouring it like a piece of lettuce followed by a loud burp.

Tom Paxton dazzled us with an original routine using a Misers Dream type coin production going to a pocket with half dollars while talking about kids and how they spend money on stupid things. Ending with the production of a 3½" half-dollar that he “had to cough up for his wife”. Then Tom then transitioned into a version of “Heiny 500” he called "My Las Vegas Money" where his wife would only give me $5 to gamble. He changed the five $1 dollar bills to five $100 dollar bills, gambled and lost almost all of it and then changed the currency them back to $1 bills so he could tell his wife he broke even for the night.

Bob Carnathan, who placed second in the contest, opened with a prediction by having an audience member name an animal. First selection did not match the pig prediction in the envelope. The second selected farm animal did not match the pig prediction either. Finally with many, many hints and Bob hamming it up, the spectator went out on a limb and chose a pig, the correct animal in the envelope. Next Bob performed a very funny mental transference routine with two spectators connected by a Rich Bloch Collectors Workshop look-a-like mental transference device (actually two plungers and a spiral cord) on their heads. The woman was asked to pick a card. Through the device, with the male spectator having some difficulty reading the hints in a crystal ball, Bob correctly identified a card chosen by the other spectator.

The “Legendary” Rick Beatty with the assistance of two helpers comically astounded the audience with a poster routine using names of famous magicians including one with the word “ME” on it. In another bit, he had another spectator select a card (10 of spades) that he made vanish. He asked the spectator the name of the card and reached into his pocket and wrongly produced a 3 of spades. Then pulling the card all the way out showing it was really a foot long with 10 spades on it altogether.

For his winning performance, Reggie Rice – appearing under his signature stage name “SuperMagicMan”- started by opening his flat briefcase from which he pulled a regulation size bowling ball. He revealed us his biggest secret in magic was he learned everything from the "Magic for Dummies" book. Using the instructions in the book he turned a bottle of coke into a shot glass with liquid in it. He also did a card prediction opening the book to a double page illustration of a King of Clubs, which a young audience member had picked. This was followed by a “do as I do” paper tear with the help of a young woman from the crowd. Using a roll of toilet paper, he made a ball of it disappear only to reappear as a long streamer from his mouth. His conclusion was a “Dancing With the Stars” routine.
~ ~ Bob Patterson

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