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.
Published on Oct 9, 2013