Working as a magician's shill - Press of Atlantic City: The Rebirth Of Steel Pier

Working as a magician's shill

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Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 12:00 am

Born and raised in Pitney Village in Atlantic City, I have fond memories of the Steel Pier. At 13, I worked on The Pier as a stock boy and at a popcorn stand. When I finished work, I would hang around and watch Carl Fontaine perform a magic show focused on card tricks and other sleight of hand. I was there so often that he eventually asked me if I would like to learn his tricks. I was elated, and soon I began working for him as well. I gave a 20-minute presentation, which included a variety of tricks with what appeared to be an ordinary deck of cards, but if I flipped the cards one way, they were all different and if I flipped them the other, they were the same. While doing the card tricks, I would continually pour water into a bowl that always appeared empty. Between tricks I would stick my finger under a miniature guillotine and slam it down, which didn't cut my finger but did cut through a piece of wood underneath. Each of these products - the cards, the bowl and the guillotine - we sold for $1 When I wasn't demonstrating, I would be in the audience as a shill and pretend to stumble through a trick to start the first sale. When I finished work, I remember going to the Marine Ballroom to listen to my father, Angie Marrandino, who performed with the Alex Bartha Band. Steel Pier was the place to go for fun, entertainment and to procure a job. - Paul "Dino" Marrandino, Absecon

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