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August 2005
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October 2005

54 entries from September 2005

A real mystery

While I was surfing the web the other day I came across this very unusual picture:


Now I've seen 'David Nixon Magic Sets', 'Lance Burton Magic Sets', and even 'Amazing Jonathan Magic Sets', but who was or is this 'Gay Deceiver'? According to the box he's 'The Wizard of Variety' who presents 'Magic with a smile'. Well, why wouldn't he be? He has a 'Chinese Wand that disappears and rises all by itself' and is 'Officially Approved by the Magic Square Club'

I had to know so I did what anyone else in my position would do, I googled him!

  • The earliest reference I could find was in a line of an old English song 'Miss Bailey's Ghost' (1805):

One night betimes he went to bed, for he had caught a fever,
Said he, "I am a handsome man, and I'm a gay deceiver."

  • Next, I found a website with an image from a silent film from 1925 entitled 'The Gay Deceiver'. The image looks strangely reminiscent of a scene from an early David Copperfield special where he does a sub-trunk using a bed instead of a box...

  • I came across a New York Times photo from 1940 titled 'The Gay Deceiver'


The head bears an uncanny resemblance to the smiling face on the Magic Set, but the legs cames as  a bit of a surprise.

  • In 1962 an episode of 'The Andy Griffith Show' went to air titled "FLOYD THE GAY DECEIVER"

Lonely Hearts Correspondence Club member, Floyd Lawson, is about to meet his wealthy widowed pen pal. The trouble is, Floyd has misrepresented himself as a wealthy businessman.

  • There was even an episode of 'Get Smart' which featured 'Gay Deceivers'... they were pills that caused people to tell lies. I'd guess the 'Gay Deceiver Magic Set' had to include a few of those!

  • The next reference was a Broadway play by John Patrick called 'Gay Deceiver' with the following plot:

A young man has come to declare his homosexuality to his family, only to have his resolve eroded when he (and his lover) are unexpectedly drawn into his father's mayoral campaign.

  • I went after some dictionary definitions to try to help get a handle on all of this. The first seemed to fit in with the way things were taking shape:

A womaniser; a ladies' man; a successful seducer of many women.

Though the second definition threw me a bit:

Early 20th century euphemism for falsies, a pair of pads worn inside a brassiere to give the impression of larger breasts.

  • I tried typing in and that confused me even further. They were suggesting that the Gay Deceiver was "an intelligent space car". A further search found a photo of this car... made entirely of Lego!


This was getting really weird... and then, I found this!


Finally... it was all over. I couldn't uncover the plot of the book on the web, but based on the information I've gathered so far, I'd say it goes something like this:

A very handsome man named Floyd who wears a red fez (and has great legs!) travels around the country in his amazing Lego car, telling lies to women everywhere and seducing them with his rising and disappearing wand. However one day, when his supply of lie-inducing pills run out, he and his  good friend finally tell the truth about their relationship to his family. They are homosexuals... and they sleep together in an enormous brasseiere. He is immediately elected Mayor, but shortly after catches a fever and dies.

What The Duck???

Ducktasticimage 'Ducktastic' is a new play about to open in London, and it's all about a wacky pair of magicians. Simon Drake is the magic designer, Kenneth Brannagh is the producer, and Daphne is the duck. What's it all about? According to the official website:

"Christophe Ursula Sassoon is in the last chance saloon of his career - all his hopes for a return to LAS VEGAS ride on DUCKTASTIC! But is there real magic in the air tonight, and can Daphne the Duck save them all? Roy de la Rue, who is in fact Roy Street, a pet shop owner from Portsmouth, volunteered to help Sassoon out with a trick three weeks ago and has never left. With Sassoon drinking so much, he not only needs a hip flask, but a hip replacement flask, and with Roy barely keeping mind and body together, the magic tricks start to go wrong... Come with them on a journey of magic and illusion into the beyond, and beyond that, into the very backside of beyond..."


Pumpkin Halloween has always been notorious as a time when ghosts and ghouls come out to play, this year they’re joined by Ellis & Webster.

Tim Ellis and Sue-Anne Webster have decided to celebrate Halloween in a way that only true magicians can, by staging the MAGIC UNLIMITED HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR.

Guests will be guided by the Grim Reaper through the ‘Haunted Corridoor’ - filled with strange sights and sudden frights – into the ‘Infernal Theatre’ where they’ll be entertained by Vampires before the main attraction, a Grand Illusion show from Ellis & Webster themselves.

This show will feature razorblade eating, the crushing of a human being, and Sue-Anne slicing Tim in two with a chainsaw (made all the more terrifying when you know that Tim is Sue-Anne’s husband!) This 90 minute show will also feature a heart stopping challenge where six audience members will be invited to test their faith in fate.


Saturday October 29, 2005


The ‘Haunted Corridor’ opens at 8pm, Ellis & Webster appear at 9pm.


Templestowe Memorial Hall, cnr Parker St & Andersons Rd, Templestowe.


Only 120 seats at $15 each.


Call ‘Trick or Treat Magic Café’ (03) 9499 4706

NOTE: Children under 10 years old strictly not admitted.

Cosentino in Epping

We headed off to Epping Plaza this morning to catch the 11am performance of Cosentino. Epping Plaza is a much smaller shopping centre than Highpoint, but magic sure draws the crowds in, it was packed!


Cosentino's show was outstanding, as usual, and far above the standard you'd expect to see presented in a small shopping centre like Epping Plaza. He opened with a classical dove act, with productions that were truly clean, a vanishing dove cage and an appearing rabbit.


He transformed himself into a hip, funky, and extremely buffed modern magician and vanished a stereo and performed the Twister on his assistant/brother AC.


A series of effects followed included a floating table, a straitjacket escape, and a new bunny wringer. He finished off with a gentle snowstorm and then came back and signed autographs for literally hundreds of kids (and adults!) One girl even insisted he signed her iPod! (Now that's cool!)

The Anthony DeMasi Magic Show

I paid another visit to Highpoint Shopping Centre today to see how 'The Anthony DeMasi Magic Show' was progressing. He's still drawing big crowds and the audience absolutely loves him.


Michael Boyd & Cathie Costello were in the audience today too, and they remember Anthony when he was a young kid and commented on how incredibly likeable he's become.


The show features lots of audience participation, magic, juggling, balloon animals, and Anthony playing the roles of his three international guest magicians: Juan deMann from Spain, Fu Ling Yu from China, and Luigi Zucchini from Italy.


Only two days left to catch the show! He finishes up at Highpoint on Friday.

Would you believe....?

This morning's paper told us of the passing of Donald James Yarmy (Sep 25). He was born on Apr 13, 1923 in New York City and was the voice talent for many cartoon characters including Tenessee Tuxedo and Inspector Gadget. He appeared in the cult movie 'Back to the Beach' as the Harbour Master but was best known as Agent 86, Maxwell Smart.

12m You probably know him better as Don Adams, the bumbling secret agent that won the hearts of viewers in 1965 and has continued to makes us laugh through the magic of syndication ever since.

His lost his Yarmy name when he married singer Adelaide Adams and adopted her surname. He married three times and had, would you believe, seven children... two of whom had tiny roles in his movie 'Get Smart Again' and are still in "the business".

'Get Smart' ran for five years on TV (1965-1970) but it would never die. It spawned two movies 'The Nude Bomb' (1980) and 'Get Smart, Again' (1989) and the series itself was revived in 1995 as 'Get Smart' with Andy Dick playing Max and 99's son Zach Smart. Even as recently as 1999 Don Adams was appearing in commercials as the great Maxwell Smart.

If he'd just stayed with us a another year the cycle would have been complete and he could have made a cameo, passing the torch as it were, in the new 'Get Smart' movie due out next year when Steve Carrel (star of 'The 40 Year Old Virgin') takes over the role of Max.

We miss you already Mr Yarmy... you made us laugh in ways we never knew we could before. But it's comforting to know that, somewhere up there, Maxwell Smart is fighting the forces of KAOS once more... and loving it!

Magic Can Be A Pain In The Back

I was doing a show on Friday night, a 21st at a really nice pub in South Melbourne, and about two minutes into the show I thought I felt something snap inside the back of my jacket. Sure enough, I felt a sharp prick in my right shoulderblade, just where a safety pin (used for nefarious purposes) was living. For the next 40 minutes or so I was constantly stabbed and jabbed by this little thing so, as you'd expect, the finale of the show came as something of a relief to me and I was eager to get back to the car and get my jacket off.

Strangely enough, when I removed the jacket, the offending pin was still closed. Weird. I put the jacket back on and tried to recreate the sharp sensation. Sure enough, it happened again, but a bit higher on my shoulder this time.

Off came the jacket once more and a tactile examination of my shirt revealed a tiny bump just at the top of my right arm. It was a small, black (and obviously very angry) hard shelled bug. Somehow it had become trapped underneath my shirt before the show (so much for the fancy pub's hygiene!) and had been trying to fight it's way out ever since.

A Titanic Time

Sue-Anne's cousin Ian was visiting us over the weekend. He is one of the very few people who've actually been down to see the remains of the Titanic, and because of this every time he comes to visit we try to book in to visit the Titanic Restaurant in Williamstown. Finally, we had success! On Saturday night Sue-Anne, Ian, Lee Cohen and I boarded the good restaurant Titanic and it was fantastic!

Captain The Titanic started about 14 years ago as a themed pub, but it has grown into a dining and entertainment experience that's of a truly international standard. From the moment we stepped into the building we felt like we were truly transported to another place in time. The cast and crew really stay in character too. When someone told a crew member that Ian had been down to the Titanic they looked at him like he was crazy and said "What are you talking about? You're on it now!" The meal was great, the show was fun, and the venue looked like a million dollars.

We should have a couple of pics up here in a few days courtesy of Lee Cohen, but take my word for it, next time you're in Melbourne there are now TWO world-class dining experiences you must partake of: The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant, and The Titanic Dinner Theatre!