Registered: 1463716362 Posts: 4,006
Registered: 1463716362 Posts: 4,006
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Sometimes it is who you know. The process of getting this gig began with a relationship. I had done several spot appearances on a local Saturday morning show called "Corky the Clown". The show was hosted by a local St. Louis weatherman by the name of Cliff St. James. It was sort of a variety show. Cliff, dressed as Corky the Clown, would entertain, do puppetry and would frequently have local guests. Sometimes it was singing, dancing, juggling, animal trainers, whatever. He also featured magicians and I ended up appearing on his show I think 3 times. Two were close-up presentations and one was stand up. The first one I did I think I was 14 years old.
So when they were looking for a magician for this special, my name came up. The producer of the show was friends with my mother and reached out to her. Mom told me to go downtown and meet with the producer but before that happened, the producer called me and said she wanted to meet at a hotel closer to where I lived. We sat in the lobby and she asked me all sorts of questions. I think she wanted to make sure I had the right "look" for what they wanted and to get a sense of what sorts of tricks would fit into the script and how long they would take, etc. The meeting went very well, she had a rough draft of the script and gave me a sense of how many tricks might be needed and I was given the task of coming up with ideas and we'd meet again. A couple of weeks later I met with her again, this time in her office. I had a briefcase loaded with what I felt were appropriate tricks. I did a "quick show" for her. She was very pleased. We talked about timing and in the end, she basically instructed me that each segment had to be complete within a certain amount of time. They would trim some things down in production if possible but I had to be pretty close to the maximum allotted time. She chose a number of tricks from the performance that I had just done and we talked about which ones to plug into the various segments. I had to wait a bit to find out when the actual production schedule would be. In the meantime, I was told to go to a local costume shop where I was to be fitted for a tuxedo. She didn't want black, and we ended up with a light gray tuxedo with cutaway tails. I finally received the final script and was told to report on a certain date and that they would complete my segments that day. I remember it being a long day. I showed up, tux in hand and got changed. Cliff St. James was already there and was putting on his clown make-up. In the studio he wore the clown make-up for some segments but was himself for other segments. I had no "makeup artist" just my hairbrush. So I finished getting dressed and got ready to get to work. I did a few effects so that they could get the blocking down. Turns out there were two tricks I had planned that had to me modified a bit in order to "fit the screen". They did mainly tight shots, even some close-ups of my hands, but there were some actions that played too big for the TV cameras. Like in the linking rings where I threw a ring in the air and caused it to link as it came down. I modified it to where I barely threw it above my head. The other was a Blendo silk dying routine where I would typically roll a piece of paper into a tube and insert 4 different colored silks, then blow the silks into the air where they were found to be one multicolored silk. The big silk went too high to capture on the camera. So instead of blowing it, I improvised and came up with the idea of taking the paper tube in both hands and quickly unrolling it, snapping it sort of, and causing the large silk to pop up in the air. Turns out I liked that reveal better than the other method. I only did the tricks once If I remember right. I was surprised that I wasn't overly nervous. We did some poses for still shots that were to be used in advertising. It was a long day but it was a lot of fun. I don't remember if there was food on the set, I know I was offered beverages though. At one point I was told that they wanted to quickly review the footage but that if everything looked good, I could go home. Cliff was to stay and work on some of the segments that he did alone with his puppet, Lorelei. I could hardly wait for the show to air. It wasn't like today where you could set your DVR, so I wasn't sure that I would be able to get a copy. I was able to get a VHS copy of the show much later. I need to get it transferred to DVD before it disintegrates.