As the Magic Land of Allakazam was getting close to the end of it's 5 year run, Mark and his production company already had many other projects in the works. The New York World's Fair being one of them. But aside from that very visable production, they also were cultivating the new "Trade Show" company called Magical Attractions.
Magical Attractions specialized in incorporating the secrets of many of the illusions developed during the Allakazam shows, into displays and presentations for corporate products at trade shows, department stores, and other venues for high traffic exposure. The goal was to capture the passing audience with an engaging product presentation using magic principles, but often disguised as cutting edge technology.
Or, as in this case, the beauty of Nani Darnell, to stop people in their tracks!
Nani did many shows on her own, without Mark, over the years, but there are no known recordings of them discovered yet. It all started when Mark had to serve in the National Guard right after their marriage. It was during the Korean War, and Mark had to do it, even though he had a tv show at the time.
So in 1954 (ish) Mark made a record to playback while Nani did the on-camera work. I do mean "a record" as in something that is played back on a turn-table! Someday I hope to find one of those records, or maybe a photo or kinescope of one of those shows, but Mark and Nani are pretty sure there is nothing out there from those very early Live Television shows in Dallas.
As I mentioned above, this trade show booth for "Tastee" happened long after those early days in Dallas, but it's special in and of it's own, because, it appears that Nani came to the rescue, and took the role of "Front/Pitch-person" delivering the product sales message with her well established skill and charm.
These images were found in the a random box that used to be at our home, but was moved to the office at some point. I know this because I remember the box from my childhood. I've asked Mom and Dad about this show but they don't remember the specifics. The costume Nani is wearing was originally called "The Alice in Brown Sugar Land" dress. It was created for shows they did in Dallas before Allakazam. Nani still has it! And as are most all of her outfits, carefully maintained and preserved in the collection.
That's why this group of photos is so rare! They are the original prints, not dupes. I have not found the negatives for them, nor any script or contract yet. Someone is bound to find the Script, or the voice over recording (It looks like Nani is performing to some type of audio track.) in the collection. That will be fun when we can put the rest of this story together.
We can see the first of the "Single Hand" Hand Machine in the background. There is also a puppet display to the right of where Nani is performing. Those clues let us know it was near the end of the Allakazam Series, or just after. That Hand Machine was used for the International Rectifier show at an IEEE convention. Sadly, that Hand Machine is gone now. We do, however, have one of the last ones made, and had it on display at the "Magic Live" convention a few years ago.
This section will grow as we find more info about this show. For now, please enjoy these, one-of-a-kind, never before published images. I was so happy when I ran across them. It's fun to discover a new mystery!
Best Magical Wishes, Greg Wilson (Allaka-Son #2)
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