Eddie Fechter ~ at the Forks Hotel
This video was taken by Brian Gillis in 1978. It shows Eddie Fetcher doing a full set at the Forks Hotel in Buffalo, NY. This was the last year of Eddie’s life, and he was very ill from cancer. He didn’t have all the energy and joy that shone in his earlier performances. Nevertheless, his sleight of hand skill and engaging interplay with the audience show what a master he was. Especially make note of his Toss Change, which looks effortless and innocent.
When I was working with a theater troupe in Tennessee in 1974, I first met Brian Gillis. He had been a student of Eddie’s and was working in Knoxville at Barney Google’s, a local bar. He could knock people off their barstools with his magic. I had been working in NYC and Europe as a street performer, and my magic was mostly standup stuff like the linking rings, rope routine, etc. Brian stole watches, made cards do miracles and did some amazing coin tricks. He taught me close-up magic, and I taught him my street routine.
Eventually, I moved to Los Angeles and made a living for a year or so with Brian’s close-up magic, while Brian worked in Silver Dollar City, a cowboy theme park, as a medicine pitchman, doing my stand up magic. By the time he moved out to Los Angeles, we were both doing a lot of different stuff and were headed in different directions.
Brian passed away this month at the age of 71. It is a great loss to the Magic Community.