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RayJ

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While they weren't escape artists by any means, this magic duo defied the odds and made their way to the U.S. around 40 years ago.  This short article gives some of the details.

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1993-12-15-ca-2179-story.html

Hopefully you took the time to read that inspiring story.

Now, about my meeting them "backstage" in St. Louis, MO.

I will have to go back and double-check the year but I believe it was 1980 and I was on the bill of the local IBM Spring Showcase.  In St. Louis there was an IBM Ring and an SAM chapter and the two would rotate stage shows.  The IBM always was responsible for the spring show, the SAM, the fall show.

On this occasion, Petrick & Mia were the headliners.  I performed in the middle of the lineup I think, not sure.  Long time ago!

But what I wanted to share were some of the interesting things I remember from that day.

First of all, the couple hadn't been in the U.S. for very long and neither one knew much English.  Petrick, I remember, was very friendly and warm while Mia was very quiet and seemed almost painfully shy backstage.  She was very pretty.  I'm guessing she was in her mid-20s.  Sadly, she and Petrick divorced and I believe she is living in Las Vegas selling cosmetics.

So the thing I remember about watching them set up their act was the preparations for Petrick's billiard ball routine.  I noticed Petrick putting rubber "sleeves" on his fingers.  Imagine if you took a thin latex glove and but the fingers off, it was like that.  Once on his fingers you couldn't see them but they allowed him to grip the very large billiard balls he manipulated without chance of them squirting out from between his fingers.  Fascinating.

Then there was the mechanism that helped him produce the balls, or I should say "steal" the balls from his tuxedo.  I didn't get a close look but essentially the device would shoot balls out of his sleeve into his cupped hand on command.  The balls he was using appeared to be hollow plastic and quite lightweight.  I would have loved to have been able to touch one, but didn't have the nerve to ask.

The other thing that they did that I remember was producing large balls in what looked like flower baskets.  Again, the mechanical nature of them was fascinating.

Petrick & Mia went on to have a nice career and even got involved in marketing some of their effects.  They also traveled to lecture extensively.

I am glad to have met them and to have shared the stage with them that day.
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