I, for one, remember when I was maybe 10, and that was a long time ago, at least 65 years ago, I went to Belmont Park. How many of you know what and where Belmont Park was? It was the precursor of LaRonde on the Back River. I was there with my older brother, who I still won’t forgive for making me go on the Salt and Pepper Shakers with him, even though its his 80th birthday tomorrow!
There were all kinds of rides and shows on the fairway, such as Freak Shows, House of Mirrors, and a Magic show and more. To entice you to go to the magic show, there was an elevated platform with a magician who had an Arm Chopper and an assistant. Other guillotines and choppers, cut the carrot as the blade comes down, but not the person’s head. With the Arm Chopper you actually see the arm fall into the basket. It is a wonderful illusion especially when done with a volunteer from the audience. It’s still popular today as it’s easily portable as it sits on any table. It still is as clear to me as the day I saw it. He also had a sword box. If you paid a quarter you could come on stage and he would open the top so you could see inside how his assistant evaded the swords, but the trick was not as strong as the Arm Chopper even though I now know how it’s done,
Little did I know then that one day I would be in the magic business and selling the very trick that left such an impression on me. What was the first magic trick you saw and how did it affect you?