Farewell to a man who read minds, way ahead of the curve.

This is a column I wrote about my respect and admiration for Glenn Falkenstein on a personal and professional level. It was published in July 2008 and is my personal reminisces of this great performer and human being.  It was written long before I had any idea that Glenn was ailing, therefore what I say is not from any sense of sadness or loss but was shaped solely from the heart. All my sympathy and condolences go out to Francis, who has obviously been a God send to Glenn in these final years. After the column I received an email of such graciousness and pleasure from Francis and Glenn, that it was one of those moments when I realized why I need to be a writer.

I am currently cruising to the end of the world. To be more exact I am at the very tip of Norway getting ready to sail to the polar ice caps. Gorgeous countryside, amazing views, incredible views but some of the most erratic Internet spots in the world so I hope this column finds its way to New Zealand!

Due to some miscalculation on the part of the cruise line I am onboard with a mindreader. Not the best of bookings given all the psychic stuff I feature in my show these days but a true joy as far as good company goes. The name of my fellow entertainer is Marc Paul and although I haven’t seen his show yet I suspect he will be outstanding. Sitting drinking Lattes, we discussed mindreading and mindreaders for hours. When I asked him what had really inspired him to specialize in this aspect of our art he replied; “Glenn Falkenstein, because he really just looks like he is doing what you would do if you really could read minds.”

I thought this was a great answer and it took my memory back to the first time I had ever watched Glenn work. I remembered how very impressed I had been at the way he just snapped out answers to questions in truly dynamic manner. I watched Glenn work many times when I arrived in the States and I can honestly say that he really fooled me more than any other act I saw. I was blissfully innocent at the time to the subtleties of a blindfold Q & A act and I gasped right along with the civilians, as h act e truly seemed to peer into people’s minds. He just got right on with it and did what people wanted to see him do.

Many years later I had the opportunity to work with Ross Johnson and observe his Q & A from the metaphorical wings. Every show I got the samecharge watching him go about his business. He would sometimes laughingly refer to himself as a one-trick pony. It is a hell of a trick convincing people you can read minds. Quite a different thing to performing tricks that may or may not be achieved by ‘unearthly means!’

By the strangest of coincidences Susan and I were present at Glenn’s marriage to Frances Willard in Las Vegas. It isn’t that we were close friends, it just sort of happened! However I was delighted to be able to attend as I had become a huge fan of the way Frances and Glenn had reinvented his show with their classic performance of the spirit cabinet. It wasn’t easy to change or top Glenn’s act but this was a match made in heaven. Peanut butter and jelly good!

In the documentary ‘Women in Boxes’ (I must have really enjoyed the film because I keep quoting it!) It was fascinating listening to Frances talking about her multi-generational life in the magic world. I suspect that many other people, just like me, would have loved to have heard her talk in a little more depth about her life. I hope there are plenty of deleted scenes on the DVD.

I have always been astounded and more than a little outraged at the cavalier manner in which some magicians dismiss mindreaders as if there is something not quite fair about their goals and means. I suspect there is more than a little jealousy about the reaction they achieve and the strong hint of the mysterious that they bring to the audience. We are meant to fool them but it is cheating to make them believe us seems to sum up the mind-set of these characters. I have frequently seen magicians reveal ‘mindreaders’ secrets in a casual and vindictive manner. They would never do that with an illusionist or sleight of hand performer. OK we won’t get into the Valentino thing here—that’s a whole other story. The bastard.

Yesterday while sitting, sipping and chatting with Marc Paul it took me back into an earlier stage of my magic career and the simple pleasure of watching Glenn just get on with it and read minds. It is a feeling and a memory that I treasure.

So I guess this column goes out to Glenn and Frances one of the classiest couples ever to mess with an audiences mind!

~ by Nick Lewin on July 5, 2010.

One Response to “Farewell to a man who read minds, way ahead of the curve.”

  1. Great Article Nick!

    I too just spent some time with Marc Paul and what a great guy! A class act mindreader. Please say hello for me and keep up the good work! : )

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