During one of my visits to Chicago, Illinois to visit my friend, Don Wiberg, he drove us out to Geneva, Illinois to visit a legend in magic, Marshall Brodien. One cannot say that Marshall is best known for this or that because he was a master of so many things and known to so many for different reasons at different times in his life.
To our sons, he was Wizzo the Wizard on TV, The Bozo Show. To some he was a carnival talker on the midway in Riverview Park. To others he was known for his trade show work when he blazed the trail for many of us so many years ago. Still others know him for his magic sets. He created over 230 different sets. Some people knew Marshall from his nightclub act as a hypnotist. The Chicago underworld (or "mob") knew him as a clever magician who was their "go-to" guy when they wanted entertainment for a private party. I first heard of Marshall when he sold his TV Magic Cards on my television set.
During our visit to Marshall's home, I used my Kodak camera to not only capture shots of some of his amazing collection of magic in his basement, but also to record a few segments of Marshall himself. Unfortunately, I did not understand my new camera enough to know not to turn it sideways while capturing a video. So one of the taped segments is sideways. At least now I know. But it is his "bally" that I wanted to capture which I think you will enjoy as well as Marshall's clarity and presence of mind.
I mention that because unfortunately, Alzheimer's is getting hold of his mind. It is unfortunate to see someone, anyone have to suffer this disease. Chicago's television station WGN, where Marshall appeared as Wizzo the Wizard on the Bozo Show for so many years, recently did a story with his wife, Mary Doyle, about dealing with his condition. You can see the video interview at: http://wgntv.com/2015/08/29/author-mary-doyle-wife-of-wizzo-the-wizard-on-living-with-husbands-alzheimers/
While I was a guest in his home, I recorded a bit of history with Marshall. Please enjoy these few video tidbits from the recollection of his early years as a carnival talker.
Marshall Brodien has a whole "museum" of his life in his basement. It is huge and complete with a bathroom, sitting room and hide-a-bed couch. These are important because there is no way to appreciate all he has down there in just a short visit. It takes time to see his collection and hear his stories. I took several photos as he led us down memory lane of his life. I captured many of these in the photos below.
Although I did not record an interview with Marshall in 2008 when I visited his home, I did recently chat with his long-time friend, Mark Holstein. Mark has known and worked with Marshall for many decades and remains close even today although they are separated only by distance from Houston to Chicago.
Mark talks about Marshall's magical life including his days at Riverview Park as a carnival talker through his war years in the USO as a stage hypnotist, to a nightclub entertainer, trade show performer, bar magician, to the invention and marketing of his TV Magic Cards and magic kits through his appearances on the Bozo the Clown show as Wizzo the Wizard. Along the way, Mark relates a lot of fun and funny stories about Marshall.
Download this podcast in an MP3 file by Clicking Here and then right click to save the file. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed by Clicking Here. (please note: this RSS Feed subscription system may not work with Android systems). Remember, you can download it through iTunes. See the preview page by Clicking Here.
I can only recommend that you find a copy of John Moehring's excellent biography, "The Magical Life of Marshall Brodien" or you might find it Here on Amazon. The book may be hard to find and the link here may not take you to where you can buy one now, but if you do a little searching on the Internet, I think you might still find a copy. As I read the book, I could hear Marshall's voice telling those stories word for word as we traveled through time during this magical visit to his home in 2008.
Thank you, Marshall, for all you have done for magic and magicians all around the world and thank you, Mark Holstein, for sharing your memories of your good friend.