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RayJ

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Some might remember that I mentioned Ernie Heldman in a previous thread.  I will link to the thread in a subsequent post.  In the meantime, here is a cool video I found of Mr. Heldman when he was a lot younger than when I met him!

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RayJ

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Ernie's biography and a personal story about my experiences with him can be found in this thread.

https://www.themagiciansforum.com/post/happy-for-a-minute-and-only-a-minute-10095864
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RayJ

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[Parade%2BOf%2BMagic%2BNewspaper%2BAd]
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RayJ

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[Scan_20150720]
Rexall was a drug store chain for those too young to know or remember...
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RayJ

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From a local St. Louis newspaper in 2010

During the early days of television, Arlene Mardel, as she was then known, was sawed in two, levitated, made to disappear, and floated on a broom at Halloween.

She was one of the stars of the old "Parade of Magic" show, which ran on KSD-TV from 1950 to 1962.

She later married and became Arlene Anna Biondo. She died Sunday (May 9, 2010) of complications from a heart attack at Delmar Gardens North in Florissant. She was 84.

 

Mrs. Biondo was the magician's assistant on a live show so popular that children and adults waited up to three years for tickets to sit in the audience.

"Parade of Magic" was the longest-running local show of its time, according to Channel 5 (now KSDK-TV).

Saturday morning TV started with "Hopalong Cassidy" and "Howdy Doody." The magic show came later, usually following "Texas" Bruce, whose "Wrangler's Cartoon Club" generally occupied the 5 p.m. Saturday time slot.

"Parade" was a family show — the magician was Arlene's husband, Ernie Heldman. The two always performed live, and the show assured fans no camera tricks were used when Ernie performed tricks like pulling rabbits or doves out of hats.

Mrs. Biondo started her career during her early teens as a dancer and acrobat. Her mother drove her to dance lessons, recitals and then local dance shows.

Her father was a machinist with the Swift meat packing company. It was the Depression, and Arlene's dancing helped bring in income for the family.

She graduated from Central High School in St. Louis and began appearing in local vaudeville acts.

During the early 1940s, she broke the color barrier when she performed with a black tap dancer named Peter Ray in an act they billed as "Salt and Pepper," her family recalled.

She met Heldman at vaudeville shows where they both were appearing, and they married about 1950.

 

She retired from the magic show after her third child was born, and later worked at a talent agency and waited tables part time.

Heldman continued performing magic acts for TV commercials until his death in 1977.

In 1984, the couple became a trivia question on the "St. Louis Trivia Quiz Game."

Question: Who was Ernie Heldman's lovely assistant?

Answer: Arlene.

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RayJ

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And (maybe) finally.  A book that Ernie had published with some intriguing effects utilizing business cards.

https://magicref.net/magicbooks/books/heldmanerniecardsbusiness.htm
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John Pezzullo

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But wait, there's more.

Ernie Heldman's clean up for Out of This World was published in the first issue of Jon Racherbaumer's "Hierophant" (1969).

I don't have access to my copy as it's in storage but I vaguely recall Jon Racherbaumer's description of Ernie Heldman as a strong performer who had a clear understanding of what material engaged and entertained lay audiences.

Ernie was a "worker".





 

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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Pezzullo
But wait, there's more.

Ernie Heldman's clean up for Out of This World was published in the first issue of Jon Racherbaumer's "Hierophant" (1969).

I don't have access to my copy as it's in storage but I vaguely recall Jon Racherbaumer's description of Ernie Heldman as a strong performer who had a clear understanding of what material engaged and entertained lay audiences.

Ernie was a "worker".





 


John, thanks for adding to the thread.  Yes Ernie was a worker.  He was able to scratch out a nice living on magic alone which is quite a feat.  

I joined him when he entertained a kid's birthday party and he slayed them.  Between the sugar and the magic, the kids had to be scraped off of the ceiling.

I'm glad you gave that reference.  Since Jon and Ernie both lived in New Orleans for a time they undoubtedly were good friends.  I also visited Ernie's magic shop which was in the Metairie area.  Still remember him demonstrating a hook coin and it blew me away.
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