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Abbotts 29th Get Together 1965

by Monk Watson

Another year, and another Get-Together is folded back into the storehouse and book of memories. Russ Walsh and Watson were at the old stand in front of the Magic Factory, saying another goodbye to a few whom we've said 'goodbye' to so many times in the past many years. Russ is looking good again after his stay in the hospital, after driving into a tree, and Watsons lookin as well as possible after a couple of days with the great guy, Clarke "The Senator" Crandall.

To look good after these days of the funniest humor is only natural. More people should be able to be entertained by Crandall. One had to catch him at the right time, in the right place and in the right environment. That was made easy this year because my son Bill and Bill Tadlock were my guests at the Apartment of "The Senator."We found Clarke relaxing in a big chair, playing his banjo (and he can play it very well too). My son had read some of Crandall's tirades against his father and had a dim view of the great man, even after I had told him it was all in fun. However, after several hours of side-splitting laughs, he now has a top man in his book for the rest of his life.

To show the heart of Crandall, and the way he "puts a person on," read this over a couple times ere you pass on through the rest of the column. Crandall from where I'll never know, found after a long and hard search, a recording of Elsie Janis singing a song from the starring role in "The Hoyden." 1907. He had put it on tape so that, out of a clear sky, he could give me a thrill like I have never enjoyed in my lifetime. As long as he lives he'll never top this bit. I couldn't help but have a tear in my eyes and voice as I heard this great child-star of seventeen. Crandall had proven that he has a big, big heart. bill Tadlock and my son will never forget that afternoon in the apartment of "The Senator".

While I'm on the subject of Crandall, I'll have to give a plug to a tape he has made, just for his close friends at this writing. it's "Uncle Clarke's story of the banjo, how to tune and play it" This is a gem that will give hours of entertainment if he ever puts it on the market. At this time I can think of nothing that will make a boy give up the banjo any faster than hearing this tape. I have a copy of it and so has Bob Lewis, who also plunks the instrument. While playing the tape, Bob lays on the floor like a kid with a windup toy. If some of the fans of The Senator can just get him to settle down and be serious in making some tapes of his favorite stories, he will be known as one of the great wits of our time.


The convention shows were very good and the audiences showed their feelings with big sound applause. I'm not going into details of the different shows, but I would like to say a few words about the Saturday night show. first, to make it one of the outstanding shows of all conventions we had Bob Lewis as MC. I opened the show with some comedy magic, then introduced Neil Foster, from my heat as I always do. Neil finished with a standing ovation. bob then came back and introduced me in a new sort of setting called "The Dreamer, A Mr. Mitty." I did my pantomime act to a very nice hand. Then we had an intermission, which was needed at this time in order to set up the fastest magic act I have ever seen, The Smileys.

After intermission, Bob introduced Jay Marshall, who did his same great show-stopping act with 'Lefty.' ...just great...Then for the act to be remembered, one of our greatest performers, Bob Lewis, who did the same act you have all seen on the Sullivan Show some twenty times (or more). Bob was in great form with Wilma Rench at the Lowrey organ. Wilma seems to get right into the act and plays like she wants to help. There was just a rehearsal, but no music, before the show. She has a memory like no other musician I have ever known. Never missed a cue, but did think of little swells that would help in spots. We're lucky to have such a grand girl living in Colon.

I was changing my clothes back stage when the music started for the Smileys, and for the next forty minutes it never lagged for a moment, but just tore ahead without as much as a rest. the Smileys were simply great, keeping everyone on their toes so as not to miss a trick.

Even though the Convention is over, I still have to get busy with new shows coming up all over the country. I tried a couple of tricks that I'll keep in, after being forgotten for years. The 'Blue Phantom' is a very good trick and the bent ring will add to the 'Linking Rings' again. Never a bigger laugh for my act! Before I forget it, I must write that we had the SRO (Standing Room Only) sign hanging out for the Saturday night show, with big crowds at every show.

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