Abbotts 21st Get Together 1956
by Percy Abbott
Battle Creek, Mich., was the location for this year's affair and the consensus of the registrants was that it was a good "set-up". The showroom in the Post Tavern Hotel was spacious and it also served for the lectures.
The lectures, by the way, were particularly good - Bruce Posgate, Harlan Tarbell, "Hen" Fetsch, and Neil Foster. Bruce Posgate dealt with the entertaining of children; his Magic and talk made good sense. As usual, Harlan Tarbell did a great job with his novel magical ideas and his advice is of the priceless kind. Hen Fetsch worked for two hours and the customers wanted more. Neil Foster, as expected, made terrific hit with his talk on the working of the Zombie and climaxed the talk with his regular Zombie routine. To sum it up, the lectures were a decided hit.
Another enjoyable affair was the buffet lunch served by the hotel on Wednesday night after the Night Before Party. Clarke "The Senator" Crandall handled the MC end of that program. This guy Crandall is so funny, he doesn't need any acts to make an affair of this kind enjoyable. With the exception of Bruce Posgate, who did a character act, the Senator and myself, the talent consisted of young performers coming up. The idea was to give them a showing. I'm always looking for talent for the big shows, but as previously stated, Crandall was really the show. The laughs and fun were plentiful.
Monday, August 20, was the opening day and the early birds were on hand. Each succeeding day saw the registration swelling, finally over the 400-mark. This was up to our expectations.
We had decided to skip this year, then the Battle Creek Chamber of Commerce requested the affair and so we thought it would be an interesting experiment to try a bigger town than heretofore. By the way, Sturgis also wanted us back, but when they requested one thousand dollars rental, we figured we were being "squeezed" and naturally turned it down. We only go to towns close by on request.
The Post Tavern Hotel in Battle Creek made excellent headquarters and they cooperated 100 per cent. The showroom was the general hangout and meeting place.
Demonstrations behind the counters and on the stage kept things busy.
Yours truly was forced to slow up some on account of being in the grip of the ol' virus. Another disturbing factor was that our eldest daughter, Marilyn, who was working at the registration desk, took ill and, after examination, finished up in the hospital at Three Rivers. An operation was necessary. All this during the busiest time of demonstrations and shows. However, all's well that ends well and she is now away at school. So that's the way it goes. Cards and gifts sent to Marilyn at the hospital were appreciated by all of us.
The three big public shows were held at the Kellogg Auditorium, which seats 2500, and every seat was reserved.
This year's shows were not as strong as a whole as compared to past years, but not withstanding, we believe that we accomplished an objective that we have held to for every Magic Get-Together and that is to make the lay public Magic-conscious and to be boosters for Magic in general. For instance, every act is not intended to check 100 per cent with Magicians; there are acts that appeal more to the general public, and of course, some acts appeal to both. We have tried out some new faces. Through the years, some have proved to be just acts, others outstanding, but at least new acts got a chance of proving themselves.
As usual Bob and Ginny Lewis and Clarke Crandall were terrific hits as MC's and also with their specialty acts. The third MC was George Jason, whose contrasting style made appeal to many. ,
Gogia Pasha headlined the Thursday show - his act was a big success - very colorful and every effect had the authentic Hindu touch. A great personality who made a host of friends.
Neil Foster was great with apparatus Magic and closed the Saturday night show with card manipulations and the Zombie. This was in response to requests from Magicians present .. . Harrison from Canada did well except that his act was too long. He made up for it the next night with an outstanding blindfold... Tarbell as usual was good with both Magic and Mental effects . . . Newcomers John Morrison and Carol in a manipulative act clicked . .. Bob Lewis emceed, did comedy Magic and played the banjo - always a show stopper. Friday Show Harrison took the headline honors with his blindfold act Friday... Kim Kee worked a fast colorful Chinese act. His stage setting was most attractive .. . The Henneberrys in small Magic and they juggled on the Saturday show . .. Gerrie Larsen was very pleasing and a welcome addition to the Friday show . .. George Jason did comedy Magic and a number at the piano .. . Janet Clinton presented a very novel Magic offering, including Magic, illusion and rag pictures in black light.. . Frank and Ruth Clinton closed the show and, although the performance ran overtime, held the customers all the way - a good, strong act, well presented.
Saturday, George Jason emceed .. . Dick De Young held the feature spot - 45 minutes of Magic and illusions. Here is a young fellow that will go places in Magic. His act was well rehearsed and ran smoothly ... Pep Snyder worked comedy and Neil Foster closed the show and knocked them cold.
Space does not permit listing every trick done but plenty of Magic was seen and enjoyed by both the attending Magicians and the general public.
For the first time we had a souvenir program. This made a decided hit and those of you who couldn't attend this year's affair would enjoy a copy. Gladys Abbott is responsible for the entire job (see advertisement elsewhere in this issue).
Now that 1957 is on the way, we already have requests for the Abbott Magic Get-Together from other towns. Battle Creek wants it again. If you have thoughts on the matter, why not let us know?
If you have a favorite story or moment of the Magic Get Together
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