Jules Lenier. The Master of Keeping it Real,
One of my very favorite magicians from the Magic Castle is Jules Lenier. To call Jules a magician though is to sell him short. Jules was a very dear friend of mine and I really miss him. This is an article that I wrote about him before he passed on.
Jules started out in New York as a comedy writer. One of my favorite stories about Jules is how in his early starving artist days he used to go out for breakfast with his equally hungry and cash free friend comedian Jackie Mason. Pretending not to know each other, they would walk into a deli separately and sit next to each other at the counter. One would eat a hearty breakfast and the other would eat rye toast and coffee. The checks would somehow get confused and the hearty eater would depart paying the coffee and toast check. The person left behind would quite rightly argue that he hadn’t eaten the gigantic breakfast listed on his bill and insist on an accurate check. This whole routine would then be repeated at another deli! I loved that story every time I heard it and usually believed it.
The Jules I want to tell you about is the mentalist and close-up magician. Jules could use the fewest props imaginable and create an effect that stayed with you forever. With just one sheet of writing paper and a pen Jules created the ultimate one ahead mind reading effect. Direct, simple and the closest thing to actual mindreading you have ever seen, a masterpiece of magic. If you don’t believe me then look it up and then try it out. I am sure Joe Stevens has a box with a camera in it that would achieve the same effect but it will cost thousands of dollars and look like a box that probably has a camera in it! Jules Lenier with a sheet of paper would have made a believer out of you.
The high respect I hold for Jules’ mentalism is equaled by my regard for his close up magic. A deck of cards and a few silver dollars creates more magic than an audience can handle! His four coins across is a lesson in magic that should be studied closely as it achieves more in minutes than an hours worth of fiddling around. Some close up magicians fool themselves more than the audience So many brilliant coin workers leave the audience aware when something happened but not always what happened. What matters is what the audience see and believe happens.
Last time I saw Jules he was reading Tarot cards for a living. It was the same old story; he was so darn convincing and effortless that the whole thing just had to be real. In the case of Jules it just might be. I hosted a Houdini séance at the Castle in the late seventies for some high executives from Citibank. They were enjoying an evening at the Castle with their spouses and work mates. After the meal the curtain opened and there was Jules our medium for the evening. Now I could be wrong but I do believe our medium had imbibed a touch of the more earthly spirits.
Jules gave a psychic demonstration that was amazing. He read minds, he made predictions; he did things that made Max Maven look like a ventriloquist! Unfortunately amongst his predictions he talked about romances and affairs. I didn’t hear about it until the next day from my client but Jules was a little to close to home and a fist fight broke out amongst the executives in the parking lot! Now that’s mind reading…………
One of the greatest characters I’ve ever been lucky enough to know; you are my hero Jules. You could do it all.