The Inventor’s Notebook #18
W.C. Fields Meets Gene Anderson
By Karl Rabe
I have always been a big fan of W. C. Fields. My Father had an old short 8mm reel film of a portion of The Bank Dick, and I loved setting up the projector and watching it. I read several biographies (several times each) and watched his movies whenever I could (which wasn’t very often in the days before the Internet and On-Demand). “His Follies and His Fortunes” by Robert Lewis Taylor is my favorite biography.
Of course the club was blessed to have Gene Anderson perform his classic Torn and Restored Newspaper at our 2019 Banquet just a few weeks ago.
I’m always looking for ideas where my Son Bill and I can partner on a comedy magic routine. I came up with an idea for a Torn and Restored (T&R) Newspaper routine inspired by W. C. Fields’ 1930 Short Subject, “The Golf Specialist”. There is a similar scene (below) in his 1934 film “You’re Telling Me”.
The basic ideas I adopted was the relationship between WC and his caddy. The caddy is always disrupting WC as he is trying to golf. First with squeaky choose and later with a large piece of paper.
Of course in our T&R routine, the paper becomes a newspaper. We didn’t perform this routine enough to really refine it. The squeaking wasn’t as loud as I would have liked and the patter wasn’t too smooth. My wife Patty told me I sounded too mean scolding Bill. I still think it has possibilities and is a nice variation on the usual TnR routines.
I wrote some visual cues for Bill on the newspaper so he would know exactly where to grab. You can see the hand-off is the critical part to make sure he is able to grab it correctly to make it open properly.
The fold is straight out of Gene’s legendary book “Newspaper Magic”. I haven’t sought a better method as I’ve found his to work quite well.
Newspaper Magic continues to be a great reference and is easily worth the price just for the TnR Newspaper . You can get it straight from Gene here.