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"Needle through Arm."


Harry Anderson was more than just the judge in the starring role on "Night Court." He was also an author as well as having his own special "Hello Sucker" on Showtime. From that show, "Needle through Arm" is the most exciting and perhaps the best remembered segment. It is certainly wretchedly influential, and many who watch it do so nauseously.
I bought his magic trick by Sun at St.Pierre's Hollywood Magic shop and was perplexed at interpreting the instructions regarding the key moment. Sure I understood the secret, and I knew how to go about it, the description of the performance of the actual penetration left much to be desired. I understood it enough to make improvements in the apparatus, and adapt it to my own show as "Needle Through Neck."
Much later, as I was packing up my act, Harry and his kids were hurrying back to their automobile, and I called out "Flash, I'm going to read your mind! What's your name?" Harry stopped to ask how I knew his kid's name. I guessed. I'm really terrible with names, and I couldn't remember Harry Anderson's. But there was something I wanted to ask him, and I told him so, but couldn't remember what it was. Now I remember, I was looking for a tip on the performance of Needle Through Arm and to tell him that epoxy would secure it better.


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"The Old Shell Game"


Hustle or Magic Trick? The shell game can trace it roots back to the origin of magic, through Cups & Balls.
Harry's version needs no patter, dialog can only spoil the splendid acapella take on Scott Joplin's "Solace."

Long ago in the wilderness lived a man who's journey was endless.
The wanderer came upon a village in Mexico.
His vision was blurred, he couldn't see quite which way to go.
The blades of the sun in the cloudless keep threw shadows on men under brims asleep.

The wanderer drank then rested under a shady tree.
All eyes upon him, who could this golden haired stranger be?
The children came and gathered close, while watching his every move.

He began to play, on a little bamboo pickin' out insects and bird-songs, calls of the wild.
And the children saw many little creature kind of things walking around entranced by the sound of the music.

He then made the creatures disappear.
The people stood back inside in fear.

A saint or a magician, who was he, and from where?

Strolling, the wanderer passed along the alleys and viewing halls
The crowd followed him bewildered on by the market stalls.

He came to a place where a beggar sat, with his wooden bowl on a threadbare mat.

The wanderer gave his piccolo to the beggar and spoke in a tongue that no-one knew or could understand.

The beggar blew upon the flute and he smiled like a child.

Come dance in the village and the people called him strange one.

The priest with golden hair [like the sun], the strange walk [who would care] for a man.

And soon they were showing without love and without knowing,
a change, very small, to each other, something like his way.

Then the carnival came and the candles would flame in the coconut sky.

And there was dancing and song, candles moving along, and we watched them go by.

Then the beggar man's flute led the band on it's route by the cold village square.

And with the coming of dawning, with no-one to see, yes the wanderer left silently.
This song affected me deeply, it speaks to me about who I am, committing random acts of kindness, medicine of joy, dispensed like candy. For many years I sought a copy, and where to get one was the last question I had for Harry, but I don't think he would have any idea. But I knew the show in which it appeared, and one Christmas my wife surprised me with a VHS copy of "Hello Sucker!" excerpted above.
Here are more details of the arrangement —Thanks to
Charles A Hill for the lead.
The Wanderer (Solace)

Swingle II  (The Second Incarnation of the Swingle Singers)
LP: Rags And All That Jazz (1975)

Composer: Scott Joplin (Solace - A Mexican Serenade, 1909)
Lyrics: Tony Vincent Isaacs
Arrangement: Ward Swingle

Singers: Olive Simpson, Catherine Bott (sopranos)
Carol Hall, Linda Hirst (mezzo sopranos)
John Potter, Ward Swingle (tenors)
John Lubbock, David Beavan (basses)
Players: Patrick Gowers, Allan Walley, Tony McVey 

Updated on 2012.11.02.
For less information visit PROFILE at youtube.
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Updated on Friday, 26-Dec-2014 23:49:44 EST.
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