Friday, February 19, 2010

Mon Feb 22, 2010


Milt Larsen (born in Los Angeles, California) is a writer, actor, performer, lyricist, magician, entrepreneur, speaker and the creator of The Magic Castle. Larsen was originally a writer for the venerable audience participation Ralph Edwards TV classic, Truth or Consequences (1956–1977) starring Bob Barker. He also wrote the Malibu U television series (1967). Milt and his brother, the late Bill Larsen Jr., were both in television but had grown up in a family of magicians. Their father, a performing magician and respected Los Angeles defense attorney, William W. Larsen Sr., and their mother, Geraldine, the early TV pioneer children's entertainer known as The Magic Lady, published Genii, the Conjurors Magazine, which is still in publication. The Larsen Brothers' father died in 1955, his dream of a place for magicians to gather and swap trade secrets over drinks  Bill and Milt Larsen ... unrealized. In 1961 history was made when Milt Larsen met Tom Glover, the owner of the entire hillside property which featured the famed Hollywood hilltop restaurant The Yamashiro. Larsen told Tom about his late father's idea of a clubhouse for magicians, and Glover agreed to Milt's proposal to transform the Lane mansion on Glover's property, below The Yamashiro, into what has since become one of Hollywood's all-time world renowned landmark attractions, The Magic Castle. Milt worked out a lease arrangement with Tom Glover, and almost single-handedly restored the once-stately, albeit dilapidated old house, located at 7001 Franklin Avenue, to its former Victorian period elegance (Milt's grandfather was a master carpenter and taught Milt the art of fine wood-working). Milt's biggest (and at first practically only) supporter was his brother, Bill Larsen Jr., at the time a CBS television producer of (The Danny Kaye Show). Bill Larsen promoted Milt's new enterprise among his network show business connections at every opportunity, bending ears and twisting arms, recruiting members for his brother's unique new private club. When The Magic Castle opened its doors to magicians in 1963, Milt's brother Bill came on board as President of The Academy of Magical Arts and Sciences, and was soon joined by his new bride and former magician's assistant, Irene Larsen, in promoting The Magic Castle worldwide in the international world of magic. On September 15, 2006, Milt and Bill Larsen Jr. were honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard, in Hollywood, California. Milt Larsen has served as a creative consultant for the motion picture Bedknobs And Broomsticks (Disney Studios - 1971). He has appeared as an actor in Television's Hart To Hart (1981 Murder Up Their Sleep), and also a cameo appearance as a spectator (uncredited) in Bedknobs And Broomsticks. He also appeared as the back and hands of actor Raul Julia as Gomez Addams, performing his legendary tablecloth yank at the end of Gomez and Morticia's Tango dance in Addams Family Values (Paramount Pictures - 1993). Milt Larsen and collaborator Bobby Lauher wrote the book for the stage musical Victory Canteen starring Patty Andrews of Andrews Sisters fame. Songs were written by Mary Poppins songwriters Robert B. Sherman & Richard M. Sherman. Although Robert opted not to participate in the project, Richard Sherman and Larsen also created a long time popular satirical record album which has since made the transition to CD Smash Flops, featuring tongue-in-cheek songs like "Bon Voyage, Titanic", "General Custer", and features "Congratulations Tom Dewey" which was used for the theme song in the stage production Give 'Em Hell, Harry!, a one-man stage play about United States President Harry S. Truman starring James Whitmore later made into an Academy Award nominated film (1975). They also wrote the comedy classic Lp now a CD, "Banned Barbershop Ballads" (Watch World War Three on Pay TV etc).  Richard M. Sherman and Milt Larsen wrote words and music for the comedy musical Pazzazz! (Book by Larsem, Sherman and Joseph Hoffman). The musical had its world premiere at the Granada Center for the Performing Arts Santa Barbara, California in June 2008. It was produced by Milt Larsen and his wife Arlene. In 1956 Larsen produced his first all-star magic revue "It's Magic!" with a new edition playing west coat performing arts centers annually. Now in its 53rd year co-produced by Terry Hill.  Larsen hosts a weekend radio show on CRN Digital Talk Radio Hear Them Again for the First Time featuring rare antique personality recordings from his collection. (2006–present) As entrepreneur he created the Mayfair Music Hall in Santa Monica, California (a Victorrian British Music Hall featuring live stage shows) (1973-1980), The Variety Arts Theatre - Los Angeles (1977-1990) and Caesars Magical Empire at Caesars Palace Las Vegas (1995-2004) He is a member of AFTRA, SAG and BMI and is a member of the Board of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Frequent collaborators include John Shrum, Dr. Thomas Heric, Richard M. Sherman, Carol Marie, Verne Langdon, Tom Glover, Terry Hill, and Ralph Edwards.

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