GARY FRANK of FANTASTIC MAGIC writes...
Thank you for your letter. I enjoyed your work on the [John Giordmaine] site very much.
I purchased the rights and remaining inventory of Johnny's BIG NICKEL TRICK from Lee Jacobs a few years ago. I have continued to promote the effect and the booklet. I would have no objection of you linking my site on your site. I appreciate it very much. I will spread the word of your site to my friends down here.
I agree with you regarding the history of magic. It is exciting to locate information that ties all the loose ends together. I continue to hope that someday someone will take the lives of these magicians and make a time line with other events in world history. It would be interesting to see how many times a magician crossed paths with someone of notoriety or fame.
Always good to hear of someone keeping the flames going for those lesser known performers. I will see what I have in my files on Johnny. If I have something you can use, I will send you jpegs of the material for your site.
Many thanks, Gary, for all your good thoughts. When I came across the ad (above) for Johnny's effect on Gary's site I was delighted to see that Johnny was still given credit for developing the trick. I had no idea any of his effects were still out there on any dealer sites being made available to a new generation of magicians. When I wrote to Joseph Giordmaine about finding it, he wrote back:
It was great to learn that the Big Nickel is being marketed with a credit to Dad. I can still see him producing it, as amazed as his audience, with his eyes popping almost as wide as the Big Nickel itself!
He wrote up the trick in The Sphinx, vol. 50, No. 3, p. 166, 1951. (Reproduction from the Digital Sphinx requires written permission of Lybrary.com).
With thanks and best regards, Joe
If I can get the OK to do so I will add the Sphinx write up one day. But the story isn't over yet...
After I had initially prepared this page for posting I took another quick look on line and found an earlier version of Johnny's effect being sold on eBay. Synchronicity or what? Here it is...
Tommy Windsor BIG NICKEL TRICK by John Giordmaine
"Long before all the jumbo coins were produced for the magic marketplace, Tommy Windsor of Marietta, Ohio put this effect on the market in 1952 by Johnny Giordmaine. What makes it really attractive is that he used a large souvenir Buffalo nickel which was a commemorative piece of Marietta, Ohio. The coin is metal, 2 1/4 inches in diameter and is enamelled in full colour. It is in perfect condition, being taken out of the wrapping for the first time to take the photographs. Complete with original instructions outlining a number of effects."
If you're curious, when I last looked at it there were four bids and it was going for $27 in US funds.
The Big Nickel is also written up in Bobo's "New Modern Coin Magic" and credited to Johnny but you'll need to find the full hardcover version to read it. Alas, it's not included in the shorter paperback edition more readily available and published by Dover Books.
(RIGHT) A photo of the Canadian "Big Nickel" that Johnny gave to me back in the early 1970s. It's about 4 cm in diameter - maybe 1 3/4 inches. It was produced in Sudbury, Ontario as a replica of their truly gigantic "Sudbury Big Nickel". Johnny had a special supply he shared with friends.
I know that a number of Johnny's other effects are still available in a variety of print or on line resources (for example, Johnny's "comedy rope trick" in "The Encyclopedia of Rope Tricks"). I hope to describe some of them on this site at a future date.
Finally, here's a new link to a report from the 1944 Abbott Magic Get-Together in Colon, Michigan. If you scroll down it, you'll find a brief reference to Johnny's memorable appearance there. Click HERE. It makes very happy reading...
Next up - one of Johnny's most famous routines ever!