Showing posts with label Amazing Randi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amazing Randi. Show all posts

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Amazing Randi has Died


James, the Amazing, Randi has passed away. He died on Oct 20, 2020 at the age of 92, complications of old age. I suppose if there is a way to go, THAT is the way you want to go. A life well lived. I've been reading the various stories about folks who knew Randi or met Randi. I'll share with you some stories of my own.

I remember the first time I saw Randi in person.  It was at FairOaks Mall in Fairfax VA. He was walking through the Mall. I spotted him as I was shopping. I was a teenaged kid. I followed the man around the mall and I mean completely around the mall, from one end to the other and back, but never got the nerve to go up to him and introduce myself. Probably a HUGE mistake.

A few years later, I was in Al's Magic Shop on my lunch break from work and there in the shop was The Amazing Randi. He was sort of holding court. Telling jokes, sharing stories. I think, I said hello. I think. It was safer ground and I was a few years older at that point.

Fast forward yet another couple years. Somewhere along the line I began a correspondence with Randi. We shared several letters back and forth. He had included his business card. So one day I picked up the phone to call him. I wanted to inquire about handcuff escapes. He had a rather interesting answer. At the time I thought it was a rather incomplete answer. But he wasn't wrong in the information he gave me. It just wasn't a very extensive answer, the one I suppose I was looking for. Still we had a cordial talk and I believe he left the door open for further inquiry if I had more questions.

I always enjoyed watching Randi on TV. One of my early books on Houdini was the one he wrote with Bert Randolf Sugar. I read that book many times. I knew Randi was a fan of Houdini, but I suppose I didnt quite understand the extent of his connection. He was quite the escape artist for a period of time. He had a very amazing straightjacket escape over the icing waters of Niagara Falls, which can still be seen online. 

Through my friendship with Steve Baker, I learned even MORE about Randi. They were competitors and not really friendly competitors. I think Randi thought Steve was crazy.  Steve thought less of Randi. LOL the old school escape artists and their rivalries, still cracks me up.

I have more stories about Randi, but I'm going to hold onto them and share them on the podcast. Of course, at this point I guess I'll need to do a podcast specifically about Randi. He more than deserves it. He influenced a lot of people: Dean Gunnerson, Penn & Teller, Uri Geller (maybe not in a good way), Banachek, Me, and many others. We will miss you A-R.