The 1942 Get-Together
From TOPS Magazine, November 1942, by Monk Watson: “This is one month I’m more than happy to be able to give out in my column.
First of all, before I go any further I want to say a few nice things about my very good friends, Jimmy and Mildred Mulcay. I have known Jimmy Mulcay for a number of years, first when he played for me in my presentation at the Rialto Theatre in Omaha, then in Decatur at the Lincoln Square, later in Detroit at both La Salle Gardens and at the Riveria. Jimmy was known as Gus Mulcay then and he did a show-stopping act playing the harmonica and dancing.
Well, Jimmy ups and marries a lovely girl from out in California, and she learned to play the harmonica too, so today she is the greatest on the stage. She plays harmony parts with Jimmy, and can stop a show with her solos.
They have a cute little home at the Lake-of-the-Woods, Indiana
Their home is only thirty-seven miles from Colon, and I didn’t know it ’til a week before the Abbott Get-Together. I hurried over and after visiting with Jimmy about the coming season (he still gives me credit for being able to build a show) I asked him if they would come to Colon and look over a couple of ideas in Magic to put in their act. After visiting with Abbott until the wee hours in the morning (which Percy doesn’t do for anyone) he told Percy to build him a table and some other tricks.
The opening night of the convention at the Friday night show in walks both Jimmy and Mildred with his little case under his arm, and came back stage and said, “Monk, if there is anything we can do to help you in the show tonight, we’ll do it.?? How do you like that, and me with a full show and acting as M. C. Here is a showstopper that has played every large theatre in the country, yes, in the world, and is willing to come on and help me out. I said. “You’re in.” Percy Abbott just stood there and said, “What a guy you are Jimmy.” He was just as happy to see them on the show as I was. Well, those who saw the show know the answer. They were a riot and were not stingy with their talent.
Thanks a lot, Jimmy and Mildred, and may your trip to Los Angeles, where you are meeting Cagney with your story, turn out to be the success that you both have earned. Now for a bit of review of the Houdini Club Fifth Annual Convention held in Whitewater,
Wis., September 25th to 27th. I received a wire and a call from Mike Zens, asking me if I could do an M. C. job for them on the big show Sunday. I told him I’d be able to. I arrived in time for their night-before party in the tap room of the local hotel, which proved to be too small for the show, but we had lots of fun regardless.
Saturday found the dealers displaying their tricks, and I did the best I could showing how some of Abbott’s worked, and I would have been a flop if it had not been for Bill Williston who helped me in his own way.
The show Saturday night was under the direction of Don White, who did his regular outstanding job of M C. I had never seen Don work, but I’ll go on record as saying that he is great. What an entertainer he is, and he never needs anything off color to put him over. He can stop any show with his cleverness. It was a swell show, and I would like to cover the acts in this show, but the list was never given to me and I was back stage most of the time trying to hold down Bill Williston long enough to build up a mind reading act (no code used, much) in case an act didn’t show up. An act didn’t show up, so we went on, and I guess they liked it by the way they applauded.
Special mention should go to Frances Ireland for her act, along with the other Magigals.
Mrs. Ireland was very much at home on the stage and her own version of Ladies Hats, via the Chapeaugraphy route, was swell. There was only one act that couldn’t cut — Gene Bernstein, with his hypnotism feats. I wish I could see him often, because he put me to sleep early in his act, and I slept through the whole thing.
Sunday and the big show is on at two-thirty at the Auditorium of State Teachers College. I was introduced in front of the curtain by Judge Frank Carter, and M. C’ed. the show from there on. Joseph Irving of Chicago, who had done a show for the kids on Friday afternoon, opened the show in his own beautiful setting, which the rest of the show used. Joe always does a fine act, and he gave the show the fine start that any show needs to put it over. Second act was a command performance by Don White, doing his egg bag, as only he can do it. After coughing up hundreds of eggs and stopping the show it was my duty to go out and try to top it, so I also coughed up an egg. It’s a grand feeling to be able to lay an egg on the stage and get a hand for doing it.
Act Three, Douglas McKay and the “Mysterious Sphere.” I’m still dizzy after watching the ball float all over the place, and beautiful work by McKay (Vice-Pres., Chi S. A. M.).
Number Four found the stage empty ’til a low down sneaking tramp came on to do one of the best pantomime acts I have ever seen.
Loads of laughs and a nice style of working. Oh, yes, the tramp was Sam Berman, also of Chicago. I might say a fine chap off stage, too.
Bob Lotz was Number Five with his original act, “Snow White’s Christmas.” Bob is always good regardless of what he does, so he was very good.
On Number Six, Bill Williston cluttered up the stage with junk and stuff and made them love it. Bill is crazy from the start of his act
‘til he closes. Hellz-a-poppin is a Sunday school picnic compared to this guy’s act. I had to dress with him, and from the early morning hours, when he went around the hotel waking people to tell them they were asleep, ’til he went on the stage, he was doing his act. I drove him to Chicago and had a grand visit with him, and, take it from me, you’ll have to go a long way to find a better fellow. I’m invited to visit him in New York, where he is the only bright spot during the dim outs, and I’m going just to see if he’s always that way. ‘Tain’t possible. Next act
— Let’s skip that, because I just can’t tell you folks that the Great Watson did his wire act again. I don’t know why they laugh because there ain’t any wire to start with. ‘Twas fun and I’m glad they asked me to do it.
Act Eight was one that I had waited for. I had heard about Slyter from Gen. Grant and others. Nothing that they could tell me would be too good for this fellow’s act, “A Magician’s Night Out.” He is an artist and should be in a big New York show, and if I ever get to an agent there, I’ll do my best to place him. Comes the next and last act — Kumu of Korea, Oriental Magic to the last word. I’ve seen him in big-time houses all over the country and he is the best act of his kind on the stage today.
Hey, whoa, there! I’ve got to get out and save my car — they are having a scrap drive and they’re after it. I’m sorry Mel, but you said
I could have the space this month . . . Bye, Frank Carter, and thanks for a nice time, Mike Zens.”