Blog with Paul Gertner

Magical Mentors

Here is a question for Magicians Only.  If you could have three magicians of the past watch your performance… and critique it.   What three Magical Mentors of the past would YOU like to get advice from… and why?

For me it would be Nate Leipzig, Max Malini and Eddie Fechter.  Leipzig, because of what I have read about his performance style, Malini because of his marketing savy, and Fechter because I would like to thank him, and let him know that the advice he gave me as a 19 year-old in 1973 was life-changing and helped me create the magical life and career that I would dream about as a child. 
Nate, Max and Eddie!!!


Paul Gertner is nationally recognized speaker and corporate magician, whose honors include multiple Tonight Show appearances, performing at a presidential inauguration, and winning three international competitions. He can be hired as a trade show magician or keynote presenter. For more information, visit


Posted in Magicians Only on May 26, 2015 by Paul Gertner.

21 Responses to Magical Mentors

  1. Joe: May 26, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Easy question Aldo Ricciardi for his style and grace on stage, Roy Benson for comedy and timing and Fred Capps so Roy and Fred could argue who’s salt pour was better…

  2. Paul Gertner: May 26, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Richiardi and Kaps were two I got to see. I really wish I could have seen Roy Benson. I have the book which is impressive. I would love to master the misers dream coin production he shows in the book well enough to do it on stage. It looks so magical when you hit it… but damn hard to do 100%. Levent is pretty good at it though.

  3. Pete Biro: May 26, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Easy” Roy Benson, Jay Marshall and Frank van Hoven

  4. Paul Gertner: May 26, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Frank van Hoven… I see he was considered the first comedy magic act. Interesting.

  5. Paul Gordon: May 26, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Dear Paul. My mentor is Harry Lorayne. When I first saw him work in the late 70’s, I thought – ‘That’s the way to perform card magic!’ I love his energy and drive. Never a dull moment. I try and emulate that because he’s the best in his field. Paul Gordon

  6. Paul Gertner: May 26, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Harry was like a tornado. I too loved his take no prisoners style… he would kill you with a strong effect and then before you could recover he would hit you again. Powerful.

  7. joe Monti: May 26, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    You’re a top level performer and the three that you have mentioned are fantastic mentors.
    What I love about your performance is that you are actually incorporating true sleight-of-hand and you do it super well.
    You’re also entertaining as well which many experts sleight-of-hand artists don’t grasp as well.

    That Being said congratulations on all your success and your respect for magicians of the past.

    My three are :
    Bobby Baxter. a brilliant, comedy magician who is credited with the disappearing cane in newspaper, rubber dove and a host of other brilliant classics. He was the one who made me give up a real job for the surreal job I currently have. He passed away in his 90s.
    Doug Henning because he added new life to magic at a time when it needed it.

    And lastly Kreskin for his brilliant blend of oddness and effectiveness.

  8. Paul Gertner: May 26, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Joe, I remember Bobby. He was a very big influence on many of the guys working today. Henning left us way too early compared to Kreskin who found the secret to a long lasting career. He is still going strong.

  9. Jack Gould: May 26, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Germaine, Slydini, Goshmen.Paul I still have the photo of you chatting with Eddie at the hotel hanging on my wall.

  10. Paul Gertner: May 26, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    Jack, I too have a copy of that photo on my wall. It looked like Eddie was giving me advice. Good memory.

  11. zeke: May 27, 2015 at 12:24 am

    Paul, this is an excellent question.One requiring real thought. I would have to say: Billy McComb for his incredible attention to detail. Dunninger for his showmanship in all different forms of performance:vaudeville,radio and television. Tony Andruzzi, in addition to his feedback I would like to enjoy a drink with him.

  12. Paul Gertner: May 27, 2015 at 2:17 am

    Zeke, Dunninger would be an excellent choice… if only to see how he would promote himself in today’s world… how would he become a household name and how would he use marketing tools like the internet?

  13. Bill Wisch: May 27, 2015 at 2:29 am

    Slydini, Herb Zarrow and Karl Fulves. These three friends, and awesome magicians, made the biggest differences for me because of what they not only taught me, but, even more so, for what they did for me…when they didn’t have to.

  14. paulwdraper: May 27, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Maurice Fogel, Blackstone Sr., Dunninger

  15. John Mayer: May 28, 2015 at 2:05 am

    Harry Blackstone Sr., Jay Marshall & Doug Henning.

  16. Mike Vincent: June 17, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Hello Paul
    Mike Vincent here

    Great question and one which I have thought a lot about over the years.

    My top three are; Nate Leipzig, Fred Kaps and Slydini.

    I have chosen Nate Leipzig simply because the reviews of his act I had read about. The perfect gentleman where miracles happened around him.

    Fred Kaps because I saw him on The Michael Parkinson television special back in the 1970s and thought his magic, style, presentation and technique were simply impeccable. Everything about Fred Kaps was exciting to experience. His performance of The Homing Card was a joy to be hold. I declared for myself he and Leipzig would be my role models for magical excellence and mastery.

    Finally Slydini; well all I can say? he became my greatest inspiration simply because…I studied with him. It was a privilege to learn his magic and secrets in his studio in NYC back in 1982. This was the only time I met him, spent an entire week in his company, learning his magic. I never realised that I would not see him again.

    That one and only meeting would mark me for life and set me on path to understanding the psychology of magic and deception. I would love to have him, Kaps and Leipzig each watch my show and eagerly await their creative feedback because they each live on within me.

    Mike Vincent

  17. Paul Gertner: June 17, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Wow.. It’s quite an honor to get a reply from Mr. Mike Vincent. His sleight-of-hand magic is as smooth as silk… simply amazing to watch. Mike I’m not surprised Leipzig is on your list, I would assume you and he were very similar in style after the show they knew they were entertained by a gentleman and the miracles happened around them. Interesting that while their styles were totally different Eddie Fechter did a similar thing. At many of his effects he was as amazed as the audience (the magic happened around him, a very powerful approach) and they were not sure if they were there for this unique moment in time when it just happened this once. (of course Eddie made it happen like that every night) I am still looking forward to seeing you in person someday. In the very near future I hope.

  18. Mike Vincent: June 17, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Hello Paul.

    It is big thrill for me to communicate with you like this.

    I don’t know if we have met.

    I have certainly seen you on television many times – the first time being The Magic Circle Show on television. I was just a young boy at the time. I remember vividly your performance with The Vanishing Stick, you then did your cards and coin routine “That’s Ridiculous” and then brought the house down with your Cups and Steel Balls. I think Terry Seabrooke was on the show as well. This was the first time I saw you perform and you have been on my radar ever since.

    You mentioned something very interesting in your reply; my mentor Alan Alan always said to me, “react to the magic that has just happened”. If you can act convincingly, the audience will be doubly amazed, one by the effect and two by the magician being astonished as well. You are right, this approach is beautiful to watch because the magician becomes not the doer (apparently), he becomes a participant in the experience. This creates a shared experience for all concerned.

    I look forward to meeting you in person as well.

  19. Paul Gertner: June 18, 2015 at 3:30 am

    Mike, No we have not met… I missed you by a few days when you were doing a lecture in DC I think and spending time with Darwin Ortiz. He was raving afterwards. I remember the TV special with fond memories. Jay Marshall was with us on that trip and we even did some type of Royal party in a castle for a group and we each did a little spot for the guests till late into the evening. You mentioned you were a young boy when you saw that… something that is happening more and more. Someone in their 40’s will look at me and say… I saw you on TV when I was 10 years old. And I’m thinking that was 35 years ago. Wow.
    My wife and I are hoping to travel more now that the kids are all grown so hopefully we will actually meet. I’d love to see your performance in person… video is nice but not the same for me. Take care. Paul

  20. Tom: June 20, 2015 at 12:00 am

    I saw that picture of Eddie and it reminded me of the first time I saw you. What great memories at Fechters.
    I saw some photographs of your new grandchild she’s absolutely beautiful and that’s real magic!
    You’re looking good Paul stay in touch.

  21. Paul Gertner: June 20, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Tom, So great to hear from you. Yes those early Eddie Fechter Conventions hold great memories for me… kind of like visiting the Magic Castle for the first time. Kathy and I are in the process of selling our house in Pittsburgh and then going China for July and August for a 7 week performance tour… then we are moving to Boston in September. We now have two granddaughters, one in Denver and one in Boston, so we will be doing a lot of traveling over the next few years to watch them grow. I’ll get to play the role of the magic Grandfather… I remember how our dear friend Karrell used to talk about how much fun it was to play that role and he was so right. Good to hear from you… stay well. Paul

Leave a Reply to Paul Gertner Cancel reply