032406 The Amazing Kreskin, Ottawa, ON

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When I was a kid I absolutely loved The Amazing Kreskin.  I would never miss the goofy-looking mentalist with the overbearing handshake on his Canadian-made tv show where he would thrill and shock his studio audience and ‘celebrity’ guest with inexplicable feats of mind reading and impossible tricks of the senses.

So when Centrepointe Theatre announced that The Amazing was coming to town on March 24th, 2006 you just know I was going to buy a ticket.  I’m sure Kreskin knew.

Plus my roommate in university once told me he wanted to sit in the audience at a Kreskin show and repeat over and over in his head, “I have a gun and I’m going to shoot Kreskin…I have a gun and I’m going to shoot Kreskin…” to see if the mentalist would run off the stage to take cover, and I was dying to try it out.

Okay, I didn’t do that.  But during the part of the show where Kreskin sat scribbling on a pad of paper and reading the minds of the audience I kept chanting “Studebacher Hoch…Studebacher Hoch…” in my head, hoping Kreskin would pick up on it (Studebacher was my cat of many years and he had recently passed away).

And in between astounding feats such as calling out a person’s phone number and then describing their job, the name of their boss and where their cottage is located to guessing the bank number of another audience member and then coming up with the names of their grade three teacher and the type and colour of car they drive, Kreskin paused.  

“I keep getting something strange…’stomach ache and hawk’ or ‘strumbalina rock’ or something like that…”

I tingled with excitement.  And in my head I kept repeating, “I have a gun and I’m going to shoot Kreskin…I have a gun and I’m going to shoot Kreskin…”

Just kidding!  “Studebacher Hoch…Studebacher Hoch…”

Twice more in the segment he mentioned getting the strange message that he couldn’t quite make out, mentioning more near-misses of the name of my late cat friend.  I concentrated as hard as I could but the message just didn’t get through.

To this day I have no idea why I didn’t just yell it out, “Studebacher Hoch!” and let him take it from there, and oh how I regret it.  I’m sure once I got the ball rolling he would have told me how the cat was given to me by a friend when I was in my third year of university, how the little tuxedoed buddha was one of my only constants through a turbulent and ever-morphing fifteen-plus years of my life, how he wore a red collar with the words, “Caution: Poisonous” on one side and “Do not eat” on the other (we used to live in Chinatown and he was an outdoor cat), before going off and telling the crowd what I ate for breakfast and what guitar strings I use.

If only I had given him the chance.

For those that don’t know him, Kreskin really does this sort of thing all the time.  If there’s a real deal in the mentalist world he’s it.  He’s tapped into something weird enough to have him banned from every casino on the planet and he’s predicted his own death on his website using a mathematical formula that will only prove decipherable after his passing.

In the end Kreskin let the “stupid-acre mop” stuff go and got on with his mind-bending show that featured tricks so enthralling and unimaginable that I can’t recall a single one right now, but I know I walked out of the theatre shaking my head in disbelief along with the rest of the sold-out crowd.

I wonder if those old episodes are available on dvd somewhere?  I suspect they would still astound, as would the wide-collars, the silly haircuts, and the wild ’70’s era studio set.  And of course there’s the infamous Kreskin handshake which – like the man himself – must be seen to be believed.

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