From TOPS Magazine, July 1983, by Walt Hudson: “The goal of every Muslim is to visit Mecca at least once in his lifetime. Every magician should try to visit the Mecca of Magic – Colon, Michigan at least once in his lifetime.
I did and had a fantastic time and am looking forward to the time when I can return. Each year I plan to but something turns up to prevent me from going. I’ve attended hundreds of conventions in my lifetime and played and lectured at dozens, but Abbott’s is the one I remember over all the others. It has a relaxed, no politics atmosphere. The informality is what makes it so different.
I still remember eating those delicious homemade pies in the local diner. I met one of the readers of this column while I was waiting for a table. He looked at my name badge and said, “Oh, Walt Hudson. I read your father’s column in TOPS every month.” “My Father!” I shouted. I fell on the floor and kissed his shoes. The entire restaurant stopped eating and looked around at the performance.
My kid show lecture went over very well that year. The folks were so receptive and responsive, and did I sell lecture notes! WOW! I remember the big party we had after the last show at Jerry Conklin’s house. George Goebel was supposed to drive me over in his van and then back to our motel, which was seven miles away. We got separated in the crowd. He went back to the motel thinking I had gotten a ride with someone else, I tried to call him from Jerry’s house but the motel didn’t answer. They go to bed early in these small towns. I thought I’d have to walk the seven miles to the motel at 3 A. M. in the morning. Luckily I found one magician who was going that way and I managed to get a ride. When I arrived at the motel the gang was waiting up for me. I told them I had to walk the entire way home! We continued to party all night.
Doug Henning will be taking a two-week vacation to Switzerland starting July 15th. Don’t know who will be filling in for him in “Merlin”.
There wasn’t too much follow up on the Copperfield T.V. special in the press. The April 11 Daily Variety had the following comments to make:
‘David Copperfiled’s latest T.V. outing was a mildly diverting affair which had a bumpy letdown when a much-touted illusion of making the Statue of Liberty ‘disappear’ turned out to be less than spectacular.
“Copperfield, a magico not stricken with modesty, had bragged considerably about the Statue act, but somehow the turn itself conveyed the impression of trickery rather than illusion, no matter how much he claimed otherwise. He might have scored more of an impression had he made the national deficit disappear.
“The young illusionist succeeded at his usual bag, impressed when he levitated a femme above the audience, and with his card tricks. His efforts to inject comedy into his show via patter with Morgan Fairchild and Eugene Levy were pathetic; unfortunately he couldn’t use his illusionist skills to produce a good script.
“An overlong yarn about a woman who loves raising kids not her own had a ‘This Is Your Life’ flavor and seemed out of place on the show. Copperfield delivered a lecture on freedom, and it’s good to know he’s for it.
“Michael Lee was utterly wasted in the show produced by Sid Smith, directed by Copperfield, penned by Frank Slocum, executive produced by Joseph Cates.”
With the advantage of hindsight, it doesn’t seem that this author’s opinion did very much damage to Copperfield.
Copperfield holds 11 Guinness World Records. They include:
1. Largest private collection of magic artifacts
2. Most tickets sold worldwide by a solo entertainer
3. Highest career earnings as a magician
4. Highest Broadway gross in a week
5. Largest Broadway attendance in a week
6. Largest international television audience for a magician
7. Most magic shows performed in a year
8. Most valuable magic poster
9. Largest work archive for a magician
10. Highest annual earnings for a magician
11. Largest illusion ever staged
I think I could add a 12th;
“ involved in the most lawsuits!”