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"The Magician, The Magic Shows and The Entertainment"

27 September 2012

The Magical English Alphabet

The Magical English Alphabet
It’s unbelievable isn’t it! Just twenty-six letters make up the English alphabet and yet the number of words that can be created from those few singular characters - that we all take for granted - is astonishingly high. 

The Oxford English Dictionary lists over 600,000 main headwords, but the actual number is far higher and grows daily. Armed with these words there is no limit to what you can write, the only restriction is your imagination.

It has been estimated — I didn’t count them myself — that a staggering 130,000 new books are published every year in the United Kingdom alone (No wonder its hard to get a novel published). The figure for the United States of America is even higher, at nearer the 200,000 mark. These figures should be taken as a rough guide because they don't take into consideration the huge amount of titles, such as local history books, text and reference books or self-published items that are produced without an ISBN number.


Add to this the enormous quantity of written work that appears in newspapers, magazines, web content, advertising leaflets, brochures, emails, texts, private diary entries, letters - and, of course, blogs like this then you’ll begin to realise what a colossal amount of literature there, and I don’t think there is a number to express its figure?


I think it’s amazing that all of those classic works of literature, plays, poems, sonets, lyrics, television and film scripts, the bible and everything that will be written in the future, is only possible because of those twenty-six little letters (with of course some help from those punctuation symbols we all know and love).
 

And that is why I think the English alphabet is so magical.

21 September 2012

Norman Wisdom and Bruce Forsyth live at the London Palladium

The Legendary Bruce Forsyth and Norman Wisdom
The Legendary Bruce Forsyth and Norman Wisdom
If you like Norman Wisdom and Bruce Forsyth then you're going to love this. It's the famous and very rarely seen "Wallpaper Sketch" which was first seen live at the London Palladium in 1961. 

After Equity refused to let any of its members perform on that weeks edition of  "Sunday Night at the London Palladium" the show looked to be in jeopardy. But, it was Bruce Forsyth, aguably its most popular host, and the legendary Norman Wisdom who saved the day. This most famous edition see's our two hero's fill the entire hour-long programme with their own material. The only regular item to appear that week was the very popular game show segment "Beat the Clock" - everything else was pure unadulterated Wisdom and Forsyth.

I've pick what I believe to be a classic comedy sketch featuring two of our countries most loved and treasured entertainers. "The Wallpaper Sketch" sees the two boys attempting to decorate a small room. There's a lot of slapstick fun and laughs here as we watch this great sketch performed to perfection. 

I think you'll agree it's great fun, well worth a watch and loaded with laughs. Although they had little time to rehearse their years of experience and superb ability as entertainers served them well - they knew how to work impromptu and the result is an amazing show. Take a look, at this seven and a half minute routine and watch as two legends  - Sir Norman Wisdom OBE and Sir Bruce Forsyth perform this memorable sketch.




18 September 2012

Artist creates magical timelapse video - 'Empire State of Pen'

Patrick Vale - Artist
Artist Patrick Vale took several days to draw his incredible piece of art which is entitled 'Empire State of Pen'. But in this video (below) you will see the skyline of downtown Manhattan, as seen from the Empire State Building perspective, appear in front of your eyes in just 80 seconds.

Using time-lapse videoing techniques, the London based artist, illustrator and animator draws by hand and the buildings rapidly pop up right in front of your eyes. The flat iron building lies in the foreground, while Brooklyn and Verrazzano Bridges sit on the eastern edge, and Jersey City's Goldman Sachs Tower flank the western edge.

After marvelling at video clip - that I've watched many times and haven't tired of yet - and the incredible finished picture that Vale produces at the end, I think you'll agree that its one of those magical things that just seems to get better each time you watch.

I was so impressed that I wanted to see more of his work - and I'm pretty sure you will too. Check out the video below, and more of Patrick Vales work here





15 September 2012

The Jovers - A Class Act

The Jovers - A Class Act
The video clip you're about to watch (Below) features husband and wife team - Wilfred and Fe - The Jovers performing live at the MGM in Reno in 1980. Its a wonderful clip that is bound to make you laugh.

The Jovers were a top-of-the-bill act during the sixties through to the eighties. Their career saw them  travelling the world, performing on cruises, in hotels and theatres, and on television making appearances on the likes of The Liberace and The Ed Sullivan Shows.

In 1969 an appearance in Miami lead to them being spotted and signed to appear in a revue at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas. This stint in "the city that never sleeps" was far from their last appearance  - they were sort after for many years to come.

Their act was a of the traditional vaudeville style and was filled with incredible comedy, panache and verve the like of which most specialty acts of this type could only dream of. It was, and still is, hilariously funny, superbly witty and has some clever acrobatic moves too - put this together with Fe's (Pronounced fay's) contagious laugh and you have an act that is, well... perfect.

Eighty-three-year-Old, Fe Jover is, of course, retired, lives in the mountains with her daughter near Show Lo. Sadly Wilfred, her husband and partner, passed away just a few months ago.

Now you've heard about The Jovers why not watch this classic comedy specialty act, that I know you'll love, and then share the laughter with all your friends using the share buttons below. Thanks.

Update: After writing this, I was surprised and delighted to find that Fe Jover herself had somehow found my little piece, read it and left this lovely comment below:

"I was just playing around on my PC and came upon your page about my husband and myself. You pretty much have it all down. You may be surprised to know that I am still performing. So many funny things happened to us during our career that I decided to talk about them and make every one laugh.So this is what I do. I still laugh and they laugh at me and so it goes. "  - Fe Jover







13 September 2012

Man Falls Down Stairs Forever

Can this be real? Watch the clip below and judge for yourself.


It certainly looks real but how could anyone - stuntman or otherwise - survive such a long and dramatic fall. And, after falling down these steps for what seems like an eternity, it's not over for our poor old friend. As he stands up and brushes himself off he is suddenly hit by a small car and sent hurtling into the air, landing with a sickening thud... but after all of that he gets up and walks off - How?

Is this real or fake? I don't know how you'd fake such a clip but there are several things I noticed that point to the possibility that all is not as it seems.


Let's start at the beginning. A woman and twin girls, standing ice-creams in hand, smiling, and posing for the camera - but who poses for video camera? Surely the idea is to capture movement and not stills - but I may be wrong. Then the video camera is very quickly zoomed in, just in time to catch the man as he falls unexpectedly from the roof of a building on to the stone steps below. He stands up, staggers backwards and starts his incredible decent. 

Follow his fall and watch as he bounces down and into the path of another man who is playing a guitar. The guitar playing musician jumps back out of the as the unlucky falling feller's way. But, I think his reaction is slow, poorly timed and over acted, and he just stands there, he certainly doesn't make any attempts to help the poor tumbling man who is still rolling and falling, apparently, uncontrollably. 

Next our falling hero heads towards a couple on the right with a pram. The woman, I think it's a woman, holding the pram is knocked and lets the it go, it bounces down a couple of steps but is caught and brought safely to a stop by a man just in front. But watch again and notice how, in actual fact, the woman isn't hit by the falling man, he just passes very closely by, and she seems to let go of the pram a fraction of a second before she is hit. Then man continues his fall and finally reaches the bottom. Lying still in the road for a few seconds, he then stands up, starts to straighten his clothes, and he actually appears to look up the road just a few seconds before he is hit. He must have seen the approaching vehicle. Surely he would try and get out of the way - but NO! Our man turns away from the fast moving car and is then hit. He is sent spinning through the air and lands almost on his feet before falling over. I noticed that the car stops and then appears to drive off - that's nice isn't it. The man lays still for a few long seconds before suddenly standing up, apparently no worse for ware, he strolls off.

Whether its real or not its still an amazing clip. If you know anymore about this video then please let me know.





10 September 2012

Meeting James Herbert...

Ash by James Herbert
James Herbert's New Best Seller
In 1977 (I was 11) my brother came home from a school jumble sale with four books tied together with a piece of string; three books by Enid Bylton (Secret Seven and The Famous Five) and The Rats by James Herbert. I suppose I should have been more interested in the Enid Bylton books but it was THE RATS that jumped out at me. Its cover with that evil looking rodent on the front that looked ready to pounce and cause death and mutilation was just begging me to read.

That book, which I still have, started a life-long love of James Herbert's work. So, when the chance came to not only obtain a copy of his newest book - ASH - but to also meet the man himself and get the book signed I, of course, grabbed the chance with both hands.

I'd never attended a book signing event before and I was expecting a long boring wait in a queue to collect my Pre-ordered book, and then another even longer wait to get it signed. And I envisaged that after hours of waiting I'd get just a few seconds to speak to the great man himself whilst he signed the book and then be moved on so that the next person could get their book signed.

It wasn't like that at all. Although there was a queue to get my pr-ordered copy, it was dealt with quickly and efficiently by the staff at Waterstones - New Street, Birmingham, which was the venue for the event. Once I'd obtained the book it was back outside to join the queue for the actual event: It was here that I had longest wait, but it was quite pleasant; the sun was shining and with my brand spanking new book in hand I, along with virtually everyone else, stood reading James Herbert's newest epic - the hour wait flew by.

Once the doors were opened it was a quick walk through into the room that the event was being held. Row upon row of chairs filled the huge room, and I can tell you that every seat was taken. I was lucky. Being near the front of the queue, meant I also got a great seat, second row from the front.

With everyone settled, It was time to start the evening, and James Herbert was introduced on to stage by author of the "Autumn" and "Hater" horror novels David Moody. Introductions over and our hero walked on stage to great applause. David Moody (lucky man) got to interview our hero who needed little prompting to give his answers. His responses were humorous, interesting and entertaining and held everyone's attention. This was followed by questions from the audience.

Me with the Master of Horror Fiction James Herbert
I wasn't expecting this just-over-an-hour-long interview session, nothing was mentioned when I booked by ticket - it was another surprise. It was wonderful to sit back and enjoy stories and anecdotes from, in my opinion, the Master of Horror writing. I feel privileged to have been one of the lucky few who had been able to obtain a ticket for this - one of only two book signing events that Mr Herbert will be doing to support the release of his latest book.

Once the interview was over it was straight into the book signing, and here again I was amazed and supprised at how much time James Herbert made for each person in that long, long queue. He not only freely chatted to his fans, but actually made conversation too. He really was a true gentleman.

My turn soon came. Mr James Herbert signed my copy of ASH and he also very kindly signed a first edition copy of his 1977 novel FLUKE - a favourite of mine. He asked me if I'd seen the film adaptation of book, and what I thought of it. I have, it's a kind of Disney / family type film, not as good as the book but a good attempt. I mentioned that I too was a writer and have been published (Short stories) several times and he was very encouraging:  "Keep dreaming those idea's up, keep writing, keep getting published... oh, and keep reading my books", he quipped. I also managed to get a photo with James, too.

David Moody on stage with James Herbert
I've always wanted to meet James Herbert and on the 3rd September, 2012  I managed to tick one item of my bucket list.

And finally, I must applaud Waterstones for the brilliant way they handled the event, and what a wonderful bookstore it is too. And, David Moody gets a big pat on the back for his excellent hosting of  the event. It really was a night I shall never forget.

8 September 2012

Tommy Cooper - The Dracula and Frankenstein Sketch

Tommy Cooper didn't have to do anything, just walking out on stage was enough to get the audience rolling in the isles. He didn't need to swear, make politicly incorrect or racist jokes to get a laugh. Nor did he belittle or take the mickey out of his audience. He was just funny; a one of kind comic genius who's talent will never be equalled. 

Over the years I thought I'd seen all the the best bits of Cooper material, so you can imagine how surprised I was when I discovered this little gem of a sketch with Tommy as Count Dracula and Frankenstein - It's simply Tommy Cooper doing what he does best, and I just knew I had to share it with you.

This is horror and humour mixed together as only Tommy Cooper can - Just Like That. Sit back and watch this short sketch - just under five minutes - and have a laugh the Cooper way.




Have you seen this Tommy Cooper sketch before? What's your favourite Tommy Cooper moment? Is Cooper your favourite funny man? And if not, Who is?  Leave your answer inthe comments box. I love to know.

More of Andy's Blogs you may be interested to read:

6 September 2012

A Painfully Funny Wrestling Throw...

This is painfully funny! It's just a few seconds long but it's just perfect. The more you watch the funnier it gets, and the way the midget with the blue pants slides across the deck on his face you can be sure that this could never have been a set up. As you watch you can feel the pain. I can only imagine it must have been like a severe case of carpet burn. I bet this is one move they won't be incorporating into their act on a regular basis.




Right at the end of the clip you see a second wrestling midget in yellow pants appear on screen and he looks ready to pounce on unlucky Mr Blue Pants when he comes to a stop? I can't help but wonder what happens next? Answers on a post card, or if you think you know the answer leave a comment...



3 September 2012

Nine things that will disappear from our lives...

The Telephone Box - A Thing of the Past
Over the years things that we all take for granted, and assumed would always be there, have disappeared. Take for example the vinyl record and the cassette tape. At the time it was hard to believe that anything could, or would replace them. But then came the CD. And it wasn't long before that shiny little disc became so popular that it soon saw off its predecessor. Once, you could find a telephone box on every other street corner - now they are a rarity. And, of course we shouldn't forget the good old milkman, who at one time was the best, cheapest and most convenient way to get your diary products. But with the advent of supermarkets and their ability to keep prices low, it was inevitable that very few people would bother paying more to have it delivered when they could save money and collect it with the rest of their weekly shop.

So, what's next to disappear from our lives? The article below has appeared on-line many times and is also doing the rounds via email. I decided to reproduce it here because it is so thought provoking and, in a way, disturbing.

I don't exactly agree with item number 6 - Music - I can't see it disappearing altogether.It may well be distributed in a completely different manor in the future, but I believe music will always be apart of our lives. I do think that the rest of the article makes pretty good sense so why not read on and see for yourself which bits you agree with.


Nine things that will disappear from our lives



1. The Post Office - Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, UPS and other courier services have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

2. The Cheque Book - Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with the cheque by 2018. It costs the financial system millions of pounds a year to process the cheque. Plastic cards, Pay Pal and other on-line payment services will lead to the eventual demise of the cheque Book. And, as you will no longer be able to send payments by cheque through the post and most bills will be sent and viewed on-line, this will hasten the death of the afore-mentioned Post Office.

Can the Daily Paper Survive?
3. The Daily Newspaper - The younger generation simply doesn’t read the newspaper. They certainly don’t subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the pop man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major mobile phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

4. The Book -  You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! A whole library of books can be stored on a device that is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand.

5. The Land Line Telephone - Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don’t need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they’ve always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service that you probably don't need. 

6. Music - This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It’s the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is “catalogue items,” meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit.

7. Television - Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they’re playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV through such streaming services as Netflex. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator, so it's no wonder that television as we know it, is on its way out.

Everything is going to the "Cloud"
8. The “Things” That You Own - Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in “the cloud.” Today your computer has a hard drive to store your pictures, music, movies, files, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest “cloud services.” This means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That’s the good news. But, will you actually own any of this “stuff” or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big “Poof?” Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9. Privacy - If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That’s gone. It’s been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, “They” know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. “They” will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.

I'd love to be able to credit the original author of this piece but I don't know who it is. If you know, leave a comment and let me know.