Thursday, July 23, 2015

"...To stand accused of real wizardry is an affront I will not tolerate; however, I will say that I am the best Humbug Wizard who ever lived..."

~The Wizard of Oz

Sunday, June 7, 2015

It's been a while

It has been way too long since posting anything. Just to let you know how things have been progressing.
We were without running water from mid-January to early May due to our well running dry. Thanks to generous neighbors and friends we made it through that. It is surprising the old well lasted as long as it did. It was originally drilled before I was born and was only eighty-five feet deep. The new one required going town two hundred, five feet...the extra five feet adding sixty dollars to the cost.

Work is progressing on the parlor and soon as I have a date set for the first show you, dear readers, will be the first to know.

Until next time,

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Monday, February 2, 2015

Kickapoo Quackery and Li'l Abner

Most of us my age and older have heard the name Kickapoo Joy Juice. When I was a kid it was introduced as a soft drink with bottles showing characters From Al Capp's Li'l Abner comic strip from whence the bottlers got the name. For those not old enough to remember Dogpatch's best known denizen, Kickapoo Joy Juice was a potent potable concocted by the characters Hairless Joe (who is anything but) and a Native American caricature named Lonesome Polecat. According Capp, Kickapoo Joy Juice was, "a liquor of such stupefying potency that the hardiest citizens of Dogpatch, after the first burning sip, rose into the air, stiff as frozen codfish. It was said to be an elixir of such power that the fumes alone have been known to melt the rivets off battleships." The soft drink, however' was little more than a Mountain Dew knock off.

I was surprised to learn that the name predates the creation of Li'l Abner, and Al Capp for that matter. It was also bad enough to warrant its own chapter in Stewart Holcomb's The Golden Age of Quackery. It wasn't called, "Kickapoo Joy Juice", though. It was bottled under the the brand, "Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company" (please follow the link to Digger O'Dell's excellent article).

The KIMC was no more "Indian" than General Custer and was the brainchild of two Connecticut businessmen who marketed their elixirs via medicine shows in the late 1800s. As with most patent medicines, the Kickapoo line was a series of strong cocktails (with medicinal oils etc added) ranging in potency anywhere between 36-120 proof.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

More Dave Bourne

This time with Pop Hayden's Medicine Show

Two Legends and Magic

Dean Martin and Orson Wells

RIP Dave Bourne

I was introduced to the music of Prof. Dave Bourne through my friend Pop Haydn. I love the old saloon piano music and  Prof. Bourne was keeping it alive wonderfully. It is with sadness that I relate the news that Dave Bourne has shuffled off this mortal coil. Soapy Smith Night at The Magic Castle will never be the same. Rest in Peace, Professor. You've earned it.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Medicine Show

Since the show in The Parlor is based on the medicine show we might as well start there. The medicine show, as we know it, started in the late 19th Century. Before that, wandering entertainers, especially magicians were known to use their entertainment as a hook to listen to a sales pitch for patent medicines, hair powder, tooth powder, pomade or some kind of amulet or charm.

Over time the show became something of a variety show and the main product became the patent medicines (more about those in another post). They would come to a locale for a few days providing entertainment and "health care" before leaving...either as planned or being chased out.

 Here is a clip from a 1932 movie, ffeaturing two legendary performers, Jimmy Durante and George M Cohan (this is the only known film of Cohan performing. If you have seen the Cohan bio-picm "Yankee Doodle Dandy" you will see that James Cagney did study Cohan's style and immitated it well)

PS: The above clip is from The Phantom President (1932)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Not Just a Blog

Welcome to The Parlor. This is my new blog based on my stage name, Professor Jay Carrol. This blog is about magic and illusion. It is alos going to serve as the announcement page for an exciting new venture coming this spring, the opening of The Professor's Parlor.

The Parlor is a small intimate theater located in the den of my house. Great entertainment venue for small parties or meetings or a family outing. More details will be following as we get closer to opening.

It is my desire that this site is as entertaining as the Parlor its self. All magic and fun. No politics, sociology or anything else to remind us of the cares of the day. God knows there's enough of that.