Ok, my memory is very hazy on this subject, but it’s not because I didn’t like the show, I do remember I really liked watching the show, it’s just one of those major brain fade things. So I apologize that this post is more about my experiences with magic and less to do with Chuck Jones the Magic Man.
In researching the web for this post, I couldn’t find much information on Chuck Jones the magician or his channel 13 television show. There was plenty of information about Chuck Jones the cartoon character artist, so that may be a post for another time.
Growing up in the 1960′s, there was a wide variety of television programming for kids. There was your usual cartoons, variety shows, costumed characters and then there was Chuck Jones the Magic Man show. I distinctly remember the outfit he wore on his TV show, it was the one shown in the black & white photo to the left. What I found fascinating about the show was the magic he performed. My interest in the art of magic has stayed with me to this day. I still enjoying seeing magic performed, especially slight of hand magic and I still like entertaining kids with simple tricks.
My folks saw that I really enjoyed the show, so they arranged to take me to one of the tapings of the show and be one of the kids in the audience on TV. I actually don’t remember anything about this day, so the rest of this post will be filler information related to magic.
My interest in magic grew over the years and during my college years, a friend asked if I was interested in a job building magic illusions at a place he worked at–I said sure. Long story short, I got the job, and I found out later that this was the place where they created illusions for Doug Henning (big during my time), Mark Wilson, David Copperfield, Criss Angel, David Blaine and others. They’ve also reproduced illusions like Harry Houdini’s famous water torture cell escape. I learned a lot from the job, and not just how the illusions worked and were assembled, but how to be a craftsman. One really small thing that the job taught me, was to align the slots on screw heads so they looked neat, among other things. The owner of the place, was in my opinion, a true craftsman and it showed in the illusions he created.
There was a time when I thought I was going to be fired (my boss being the creative genius that he was, had a bit of a short fuse). The boss had left the shop to run some errands and gave me my verbal instructions for the project I was working on (we never used drawings or plans). I was working with Plexiglas, plastic sheet making a cover for an illusion. I had placed carpet pads down on the work bench so the plastic wouldn’t get scratched. I had cut all the pieces I needed and was assembling them so I could glue them together.
I started gluing the pieces together using a syringe style applicator. The way this glue works, it basically melts the plastic wherever the glue touches and it bonds the two surfaces together. Well, unknown to me, the glue was seeping (the glue has the consistency of water) down onto the carpet pad and it was getting all over the face of the plastic causing it to get all hazy/melted. By the time I noticed it, it was too late, the damage was done. I didn’t have enough time to make a new one, so I started sanding the surface of the plastic with fine sandpaper, and as luck would have it, the boss came walking in the door and asked what I was doing. I told him what had happened, but I added that I was going to fix it. I kept sanding and sanding till the melted surface was smooth, then I polished the surface till all of the sanding marks were gone. I showed John the finished product and he commented–now that’s the sign of a true craftsman, someone that can cover up his mistakes. Of all the jobs I’ve had, this one was by far the most interesting.
More recently, I was an invited guest to the Magic Castle and like I mentioned in my Magic Castle post (http://yesteryearremembered.com/?p=1059), the person on stage in one of the performance salons introduced a special guest in the audience and it just so happened to be Chuck Jones the Magic Man. He’s looking older now, but I heard he still performs at the castle.
Chuck Jones the Magic Man Vanishes an Elephant:
Chuck Jones the Magic Man Aerial Suspension