Welcome to the 29th edition of The Magic Memories, gone online on SUN, 18th July 2021, at 0:07 h.
Gerd Maron and Dagmar
In 1991 I had an idea for a TV series: 8 programs of 40 minutes, each having as a subject magic that would happen in a beautiful and fascinating city. The list contained, Paris, Marrakesh, Budapest etc. Together with a friend who ran a successful advertising agency and who had a background in filming, we decided to finance a pilot – actually I did the financing – that we would then try to sell to any TV station that had an interest in it. We choose Venice as our first destination, and together with Barbara and her sister, a camera man, one for the sound and my friend as the director (editor, cutter, promoter etc.) we went to la Serenissima… and spent almost a week recording some great material.
This episode of my life would certainly make for an interesting and entertaining chapter in a biography, but I’ll spare you all this for some other time (perhaps).
Anyway, part of the concept was to have a guest performer, and since Venice is so famous for their doves, a dove act was a logical choice. Obviously, our budget was limited, but, for some lucky circumstances, I was able to convince Gerd Maron (1923 – 1996) and his wife Dagmar to be part of our project with their act that had taken them to the Lido in Paris, the Stardust in Las Vegas and many of the world’s top Cabarets and Nights Clubs. Frankly, I have no recollection of how I managed to do that, but am certainly glad I did. Although the TV series never came to be – and that’s yet another story – I now have one of the very few recordings of his complete act before he retired.
The TV audience should think that the act was being performed at the Teatro Marco Polo in Venice, while in reality it took place on the “Baseldytschi Bihni”, a small t theatre in my home town Basel, Switzerland – this was done as post-production, like some other scenes, when we came back home. As you’ll be able to (hopefully) appreciate, the style and music is of course that of the Sixties and Seventies, so you have to think “retro” when you watch this. However, as connoisseurs you will be pleasantly surprised at the originality and deceptiveness of some illusions. His dove work was impeccable, and I find the vanish of the doves from the cage more logical than vanishing the complete cage, as most would do it. And the method is excellent. However, his pièce de résistance was his “Dog that comes to life”. Not only was this a very practical illusion that could be performed surrounded even in the most delicate situations, I also challenge anyone to find out the working, even after watching it several times. The psychological and technical construction of this production is absolutely brilliant. In my opinion it is the best small illusion I’ve ever seen. Once you find out (after at least five viewings), please refrain from talking about the solution on the Internet, thank you.
When Gerd was in Basel, I had the chance to spend an evening with him chatting about magic and life, and I remember him as a humble and wise man. He was a deep humanist, and I remember him mentioning how he and his wife Dagmar would bake their own bread and exposed ideas about living a healthy lifestyle when this was not yet a subject as popular as today. I retrospect I wish I had spent more time with him as he was such a wonderful man and artist.
To watch Gerd’s and Dagmar’s delightful show, CLICK HERE.
Have a great week!