Karrell Fox Cover Portrait 1947

 

 

Cover Portrait for Karrell Fox in 1947

 

From the October, 1947 edition of TOPS Magazine. “By this time you’ve probably noticed that its Karrell Fox. “His Royal Slyness, King of Korn” on the cover this month The thing he holds in his hand is an ear of corn and if you like corn he’s got it – and he dishes it out – on stage and even off stage. In his more or less serious moments he’s manager of the Abbott Branch Store in Detroit.

For the past three or four years Fox has been making a national reputation for himself as the “King of Korn”, performing an act that while it has some suggestion of Magic was devised more for laughs than bafflement. He’s a favorite on shows for Magicians and has worked on several at the big time and regional conventions as well as the Get-Togethers at Colon.

And so far Karrell is not out of his teens. He’ll be 20 next January, but he has shown sense and the knack of whipping up entertainment that is far beyond his years. In this past year he collaborated on a big fashion show in Detroit, and wrote, directed, and worked in a variety show sponsored by the American Legion Post made up of veteran employees of the J. L. Hudson store. He also was one of the hits on the annual SAM show in New York last winter. Through the war years, Karrell worked many USO shows at service centers and camps in the vicinity of Detroit.

Aside from his duties in the Abbott branch store, Karrell is in demand for some of the best club dates in his hometown, and even has had offers from some of the top nightspots. The latter he has prudently declined as he feels he needs a couple more years before branching out into the night club field. He’ll be a better performer then, too, for this lad show marked improvement as an entertainer with each succeeding show.

Karrell was born in East Rainelle, W. Va., in 1928, and after a few years in Washington, D. C., where the Magic yen developed in him, his parents moved to Michigan – Hillsdale, Mich., to be exact. Since Hillsdale is only a short distance from Colon, it was not long before Karrell learned that fact an he soon began regular treks to the Magic Capital of the World and the Abbott showroom. At that time Karrell was helping his dad in the Penney Restaurant. Customers didn’t mind waiting for their orders from the kitchen for Karrell whiled away the waiting time by entertaining them with magical tricks. At that time he was performing Magic in a serious manner, albeit it may have been accompanied by the sly cracks, which are natural with the lad. But one day during a performance, Karrell did something that brought a real belly laugh. That did it, and ever since the Fox brand of entertainment has given first place to comedy. The development of the “corn” came along as a matter of course.

From Hillsdale, Karrell went back to Washington for a brief stay and when he came back to the Mid-west, he could be found behind the counter at Carlo’s Magic Shop in Toledo. From there he went to Detroit where his father had located and by the time the Abbott Detroit Branch was under way, Karrell was called in to take over.

Among his off time activities is the coaching of youngsters in Magic, and at the present time he is the mentor of six Detroit lads who are becoming Magicians under his tutelage. One of them, indeed, was one of the hits of the Get-Together Shows – Mickey Ostasky, whose performance of the Zombie was a showstopper. The other five, according to Karrell, are comers too. He also has found time to devise several tricks which have found favor in the Magic markets, his latest being the Foxy Paper Tear, which is a torn and restored effect a bit different.

Karrell has made friends wherever he goes for his effervescent personality and sincere friendliness grows on everyone he meets.”

 

Karell Fox (1928-1998), appeared at Abbott’s Get together in 1939, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1952, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997,

Karrell Fox at 16

Karrell Fox at age 16

 

 

From a 1944 issue of TOPS magazine. KARRELL FOX SERVES MAGIC

Here is a feature story which made fine pub­licity for a young Magician who, when not conjuring, helps his dad run a restaurant in Hillsdale, Mich.; the story was headed, “Young Hillsdale Waiter Bakes Biscuit in Customer’s Pocket”:

“The waiter cracks an egg in a patron’s pocket. He adds some milk and flour, then stirs the mixture with a wand. A moment later he reaches in and pulls out a biscuit.

“Another customer insists on having sugar, although the waiter explains about rationing. The waiter pours some granulated sugar from one of the containers into a bag, waves his wand and tells the customer he ‘can lump it’. Out of the bag roll lumps of sugar.

“Karrell Fox, 16-year-old son of R. I. Fox, Penny Lunch proprietor, may not be a strictly orthodox waiter, but he is one of Hillsdale’s most popular because of his mastery of legerdemain.. A veteran Magician, although just out of high school, Fox can and does stage a 45-minute show that is definitely above the amateur class.

His stepmother, pretty Mrs. Pauline Fox, has her arm cut off and glued back together at every show. She is there to take the bouquets young Karrell pulls out of the air. Then she passes through the audience with a deck of cards from which spectators draw five. A minute later Karrell pro­duces the identical cards on the tips of the fingers of a cardboard hand, as he is shown doing in the accompanying picture.

“From Percy Abbott’s laboratory in Colon, young Fox has purchased a wide variety of Magic, including some of the latest patriotic tricks. For example, he will take paper swastika and rising sun. flags, tear them up, fold the pieces and throws, them in the air. When they come down, they have been transformed into a war bond poster.

“Rubber tires are hard for most people to get these days, but not for Karrell. He mixes up a strange concoction in his Magic bowl and out comes a tire.

“In the year since he moved to Hillsdale from Washington, Fox has presented shows, before the local Kiwanis club and other organizations. One evening he had them’, standing in the sidewalk on Howell street while he entertained a capacity crowd at an informal performance in the Penny Lunch. In Washington, he once gave a performance be­fore 600 soldiers and sailors under USO sponsorship.”

 

 

Karrell Fox Obituary

    Karrell Fox Obituary

 

KARRELL FOX, world-famous magician and comedian died Thursday, (March 12, 1998) while at the Desert Seminar Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada (A magician’s convention). He was born on January 30, 1928.

Long a Detroit-area resident until his move to California and semi-retirement about a decade ago.

He appeared on the “Ed Sullivan Show” at the age of 18. Fox was a pioneer in doing magic for industrial and corporate clients as well as trade shows. He was featured regularly for more than twenty years at Detroit and Chicago Auto Shows. In the early 1960’s he wrote and produced “The Magic World of Ford.” Several units of the show traveled the country performing at regional malls and shopping centers. In the early 1970’s he wrote and produced (occasionally performing himself) a magic show for Michigan Bell Telephone, appearing at malls around the state for three seasons.

Recognized as a tremendous talent in the field of magic, he was also a past president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. He very likely appeared at more magicians’ conventions than any other magician, performing, emceeing, and as a lecturer. He wrote columns for magic magazines and was the author of more than a dozen books for magicians. He was truly gifted with the ability to make people laugh and was often as hilariously funny off stage as he was on stage. In addition to his wide repertoire of stage magic, he was outstanding in close-up magic as well.

Although taller, he bore considerable resemblance to W. C. Fields and was recognized for his superb impersonation of Fields. Fox was also noted for his hypnotism and mentalism shows.

When the late Clare Cummings retired from his long-time role as “Milky, the Twin Pines Magic Clown” on local television, Fox took over the role for several years at WWJ-TV during the mid 1960’s.

His career started in his teens when he was employed to demonstrate and sell magic at Carlos’ Magic Shop in Toledo and at Harold Sterling’s Magic Shop in Detroit. Still in his early teens, he began earning his livelihood with his already very professional performances. During his stint in the army, he was assigned to Special Services entertaining the troops.

Based in the Detroit area throughout most of his performing career, he traveled widely performing for industrial clients, at conventions, and in nearly every theatrical venue. He was especially well-known around Detroit.

Internment is to be at the cemetery in Colon, Michigan, “Magic Capitol of the World.” He is survived by his wife, Marilyn, of Palm Desert, California, and sons Karlin and Daren.”

 

Karrell Fox appeared at Abbott’s Get Together in 1939, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1952, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1972. This, of course, is only when he appeared as a scheduled performer. He was Master of Ceremony for many shows.

 

 

Goodbye to Foxy Follies

Goodbye to Foxy-Follies

 

Oh, the memories! August 13, 1983, by Karrell Fox: “To All Attendees of the Abbott Magic Get-togethers: As many of you know … there will be no “Foxy-follies” to close the show this year. Since the “Follies” are being retired I think it only right that I voice my appreciation to the many people who have participated in the “Foxy-follies” over the last thirty years.

I was the chief … but there was one hell of a lot of Indians. The well-knowns … the little knowns … and the unknowns. I can close my eyes and see romping across this stage as part of the “Follies” … Monk Watson … Jack Gwynne … Howard Strickler … Recil … Percy … Crandall … Darney … and, of course, my old partner in fun … Duke Stern.

There have been over 400 people involved in the cast of the “Foxy-follies” over the years and that includes two generations of Blackstones … three or four generations of Gwynnes and even three generations of Foxes. I sincerely thank all of them and also, thanks to the high school staff who always closed their eyes and hoped there would be some stage left for next year.

Special thanks to all of the Abbott employees who would literally build all of the props for the Saturday night show … on Saturday morning. Thanks to the townspeople of Colon who open their homes and hearts to us each year. And, finally, to you magicians who come to Colon year after year.

So, to the over 400 good friends who dropped their dignity … rolled up their sleeves and their trouser legs … and stuffed balloons in their shirts and joined in the fun, and for all of that fun … all of the laughs … all of the applause and all of those standing ovations … my thanks … my gratitude … and most sincerely … all of my love.

A note from 1983, by Frances Ireland Marshall: “Jay Marshall thanks the many old friends and magicians who gathered at the American Museum of Magic in Marshall, Mi., on Sunday, August 14th to do him honor. The spokesman for the museum, Bob Lund, gave Jay credit for a lifetime of devotion to the betterment of magic and its allied arts, to fraternal magic, and for being a friend to magicians everywhere. Bob had erected a most interesting display of Marshallania, going back over Jay’s life through the Ed Sullivan days, the Ziegfield Follies, trade shows, the Smithsonian, his work in England, his long romance with magic collecting and his unflagging interest in keeping magic one of the lively arts … to say nothing of ventriloquism, juggling, hand shadows, and other forms of entertainment in which he is eternally interested.

 

 

Jay Marshall in 1992 with the persnickety Lefty, an Ed Sullivan regular.

 

The mayor of Marshall also paid him tribute and his many friends crowded around to wish him the best. Jay, in turn, admires and respects Bob and Elaine Lund immeasurably for their work with the museum, and was very touched by this tribute.”