Jerry Andrus, One of The Most Creative Magicians of the 20th Century

Sadly, Jerry passed away in 2007. Let’s celebrate his life with a few anecdotes from the many years he was both friend and mentor:


Going to Hawaii to Discover an Oregon Legend

In 1974, my family traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii. I met several magicians, including Jimmy Yoshita. Jimmy allowed me to do some table hopping at the Holiday Inn Restaurant for him, and later, he took me to a night club to see a variety of comedians.

While we were talking, he mentioned a magic club that met in Eugene, Oregon.

Kip: Uh, that’s my home town.

Jimmy: Then you must know Jerry Andrus. He’s from Albany.

I didn’t know of the club or Jerry Andrus.

When I returned from Hawaii, I found the club (basement of the utility building), and started attending. One night, after I performed a complicated coin routine, this man came up to me and said, “Nice routine, but you’re doing it wrong in the final phase.”

I was a little offended that someone was correcting my flawless coin routine, but wanting to be polite to my elders, I listened and watched. And I watched some more.

The man was amazing. He took me through the entire routine, explaining the logic behind every nuance and every effect.

He was fooling me, and I knew the routine.

Jerry was truly a coin master …

When I got home, I looked and looked, and finally found him listed in Genii magic magazine. Nobody mentioned coins … he was on the list for being one of the top 10 card magicians IN THE WORLD!

And this guy drove down to my monthly magic meeting.

Note: Little did I know that he, along with the magician who taught me my first trick when I was seven, were the founders of the club. Later, the three of us participated in naming the informal magic club. It became the Eugene Mysticians.

Him correcting my coin magic was the beginning of a friendship that lasted 33 years.


Kip Pascal, Jerry Andrus’ Magic Guinea Pig

As I said, after I met Jerry, we became friends. And I started practicing everything that he published … and a few effects that he didn’t.

Anything from his small booklets to his giant Andrus Deals You In was fair game.

Then, he invited a small group of us to Ed Deardorff’s house. It was a very secret meeting. Each of us was handed two volumes of a new book. One had the text, the other illustrations of hands working cards.

And thus we saw the birth of Andrus Card Control.

Jerry begged forgiveness, because he had a couple of pages of illustrations that he wanted to add. When we got together with him again, he said he’d rebind the book with the extra pages, and then he’d number the book and sign it.

Even though I had one of the first ten copies of the book ever printed, I never had the pages added or received my number. It became a running gag between us.

Almost every time he saw me, he’d tell me, “Kip, I owe you some pages and a very low number.”

From that point on, I became a Jerry Andrus disciple.

I was one of the few who could demonstrate a lot of what he invented.


Jerry Andrus and The Magic Shop

Jerry helped us out a lot at the magic shop. For example, he allowed us to sell his magic, including his Linking Pins. And I sold too many Miser’s Miracles to count.

Note: During those years, we also found ourselves performing at the same venues. For example, I remember performing close-up magic with R.R., K. G., and Jerry Andrus one year, at the Lane County Fair Grounds.

The biggest magic lecture event to hit Eugene, Oregon in the 1970s occurred as a result of Ol’ Jerry….

Our family’s magic shop, What’s Next, decided to sponsor a giant lecture. I mean a giant one. We had a few people from California, some from Washington, and bunches and bunches of magicians from all over Oregon.

This event was so packed with preregistered magicians that we had to move it to the biggest room of the Amazon Community Center.

When I say event, I don’t mean some piddly 90 minute lecture! We met for a regular lecture. Then took a break while Jerry and his helpers walked around and helped everyone learn the moves.

Then my mother provided a snack …

And we had another lecture, with practice breaks in between and at the end. Again, Jerry, two other helpers, and I circulated and made sure everyone could do the techniques correctly.


Fried chicken, potato salad, green salad, rolls, breadsticks, and dessert for all!

The magicians complimented my mother (Ilene Pascal) on her wonderful cooking. They especially loved her home baked chicken.

What they didn’t know is that mother pulled a great trick on the tricksters — she bought out the store of all their boxes of frozen fried chicken. Then she went to the next supermarket and did the same. She threw all that chicken into giant pots, added her own spices, and simply heated the frozen chicken.

Score one for Mom! (My mother could also do Harry Lorayne’s Epitome Location faster than anyone I had ever seen. She wasn’t a magician, but as a co-owner of a magic shop, she could demonstrate a few tricks. Ilene Pascal, 1936 – 2013.)

After dinner, we popped balloons … each balloon held a corner of a card. If you had the matching card, minus the corner, you won a magic prize.

Then back to the final lecture and practice sessions.

Finally, each magician who attended was surprised to find all three sets of lecture notes had been included in the price of the lecture. And the lecture notes were beautifully illustrated.

Truly an eventful day.


PCAM 2000 with Jerry Andrus

I don’t know why, but when I claim to another magician that some celebrity magician is a good friend of mine, they doubt me. They believe that maybe I’ve met the guy on one or two occasions. (That’s what happened with Lee Asher, who is one of my all-time closest friends.)

Anyway, my wife and I had met a magician from New York named Matt. Matt didn’t really believe that I knew Jerry, and hinted that he’d not only like an introduction, but would like to ask a few questions about one of Jerry’s false shuffles.

He looked at me with a sidelong glance that showed he doubted if someone who probably had only met the legendary Jerry Andrus just once or twice had enough pull to request a private session with cards.

Are you interested in what happened? (It involved fried ice cream.)

Note: Matt really didn’t know my history with Jerry. Remember, I met Jerry AndrusĀ when I was 14, and in 2000, I was 40. All the shows together, monthly magic meetings, being his guinea pig for Card Control, the giant lecture, weekly visits to our family’s magic shop, and so on. Heck, my mother even went up to Albany once to help Jerry arrange his finances; she was a genius with that sort of thing.

Within in an hour, Jerry passed by our group of “hotel lobby magicians.”

I quickly got up, and ran to catch up with him.

After a brief discussion with Jerry, I returned to Kate and Matt.

“So?” queried Matt.

“Well, we’re meeting Jerry in the lounge in ten minutes,” I replied. Then I continued, “Kate and I are going to buy Jerry dessert, while you discuss card shuffles with him.”

Jerry was on his way to find something sweet to snack on. I offered to buy him dessert in the lounge, telling him that they served everything from pie to fried ice cream. At the tender age of 82, Jerry had never tried helado frito (fried ice cream)….

Fifteen minutes later, we were all seated eating our desserts … and Matt and Jerry were discussing The Satan Shuffle. All of a sudden, one of Jerry’s chocolate ice cream balls fried in batter jumped off his spoon and landed in his lap. Using his fingers, he picked it up, put it back on the spoon, and plopped it into his mouth.

Kate got him a moistened cloth napkin, to clean his … “lap.” It didn’t help much. Jerry sported a chocolate ice cream and chocolate syrup stain for the rest of the afternoon.


Celebration of the Life of Jerry Andrus

Believe it or not, I don’t really like speaking in public.

I made an exception for Jerry….

We got to do a celebration of his life while he was still alive. One day, Lee Asher, Kate, and I piled into a car, and drove up to Portland.

After hearing, what I deem pitiful attempts at telling about Jerry, I felt that I needed to get up there and share a “funny” anecdote or two … some stories that would appeal to Jerry (since he was sitting in the front row).

Jerry spoke last. He knew, because of cancer, that he was close to the end. He didn’t believe in a hereafter, and that didn’t bother him.

He loved magic, loved life, and had a good run.