ARNOLD FURST AND SHARI LEWIS ON THE N.B.C. TELEVISION SHOW, "HI MOM"
Magic For Monsters by
With a foreword by MISS SHARI LEWIS
Genii Publishing Company Los Angeles, California
Dedication With respect and affection To PROF. ABRAHAM
Professor of Physical Education and Recreation and Director of Student Activities Yeshiva University New York, N. Y.
Copyright © 1960 by Arnold Furst Second Edition — Printed in Tokyo, Japan
MEET ARNOLD FURST By Shari Lewis
I was only five years old, but his enormous eyes, great toothy smile and his size, had a tremendous impact on me. (Arnold Furst gives the impression of being an even larger man than he is because of his forcefulness and his ebullient nature). He carried me way up off the ground as we took the Staten Island Ferry to New York City. We were moving and Arnold lugged me right to our new home. By the time we arrived a Fall hurricane had arisen and most of the furniture could not be transferred to the house. Arnold helped my Dad, Dr. Abraham B. Hurwitz ("Peter Pan the Magic Man") bring in the beds and the bedding and didn't put me down until we were all settled. Of what otherwise might have been a childhood trauma I remember only his eyes, his smile and the fact that because he was there it was fun. I don't remember seeing Arnold for years after that. 1 know he came to the house whenever he was in the City and sat up talking magic with my Dad until the wee hours, but I wasn't a part of those gab fests. My second Furst encounter was at the S.A.M. convention in Washington, D. C, the year I was twelve. It was a superb convention. We were staying at the Wardman Park Hotel in the Royal Suite. ("Doc" Irv Desfor of Associated Press had arranged our quarters and they were, as I recall, a delight). The big show of the get-together was at Constitution Hall. For the first time I saw a lady magician (it was Gerry Larsen, the "Magic Lady," doing her lovely garden act). And I saw Arnold Furst do an incredible act. Incredible because he did mostly the tricks I was learning at that time, and he stole the show. He did a simple trick called "FRESH FISH SOLD HERE TODAY," and every movement, each "take," and even the roll of his eyes was broad, deliberate, and calculated to evoke a specific audience response. And they loved him! Arnold proved himself not just a magician but a thoroughly entertaining performer.
Now, I know what you may be thinking. The above critique is a twelve-year old's, and a dusty memory at that. I thought so, too. Then, early this year, Arnold Furst came back to New York (I don't know quite where he came from, for he does more world traveling and performing than any American magician I can think of). I was doing a daily hour-long WRCA-TV Show called "Hi Mom," a show beamed at mothers and children. I asked Arnold to appear with me, and ! really didn't know what to expect. I should have known. He looked exactly as I remember him twenty years ago, all eyes, teeth and charm. He performed the egg bag trick, and somehow, the old egg bag suddenly became a miracle! The cameramen (who had not rehearsed with him before air time) knew exactly what he wanted them to keep in view. They knew, because Arnold communicates so assuredly with his audience. The stagehands (who haven't been interested in show business for years) gathered around the cameras and laughed, and he kept them laughing. Arnold relaxed his audience because at no time did they doubt that he is a master at his trade. With a children's audience this is imperative. Children become monsters, indeed, when they feel timidity or insecurity in a performer. 1 know that Arnold has evolved many of his theories and favorite routines during his wee-hour talks with my Dad. They both feel that the little bits of business and by-play are far more important than the trick itself. I do too, and so I know that you will get as much pleasure and professional aid from "Magic for Monsters" as I have gotten from the author himself.
CHAPTER O N E
INTRODUCTION Magic is a "basic" form of entertainment for children. Just as many adults look forward to the arrival of the circus each year, "for the sake of the children" so do many entertainment committees and program chairmen hire magicians for their functions "for the sake of the children." Unfortunately, a great many magicians dislike performing for a group of children. This is often due to the fact that they are inexperienced in this field and lack a proper routine which appeals to youngsters and can be presented without the performer feeling childish. This book is designed for the performer who can adapt another person's style and routine to his own requirements. The effects in this book are arranged in the sequence in which they would be presented if they were all performed at one time. To gain an "over-all" picture, the complete one hour show is described in minute detail with every word of the "patter" and every movement of the performer given. The magic program described in this book can be given for a group of children between the ages of six and sixteen and it can be presented on a bare platform at an informal gathering or private party; or offered as an assembly program before the entire student body in a school auditorium which has a stage with full theatrical facilities. Aside from the complete routines which are in some cases entirely original and in many instances a bit "out of the ordinary," the reader will appreciate a discussion of several basic principles to be considered when entertaining children. The workings of each trick is explained and the entire show is analyzed for the reader by the author who has been entertaining groups of boys and girls of all age levels and under almost every conceivable working conditions for the past twenty-five years. The show is about to begin.