90th Birthday Party for HARRY LORAYNE

May 11, 2016

(May 1, 2016) Over the course of his decades-long career as an author and performer, Harry Lorayne has connected with millions of people. For his ninetieth birthday, he was reminded of how many lives he’s touched. Nearly one hundred people gathered in New York City to celebrate Harry’s birthday, and it was a joyous occasion.

At the party, Michael Vincent turned to Harry and said, “You were my best friend long before you knew I existed.”

This sentiment resonated with many, because we all felt close to Harry long before meeting in person, through reading his books. Harry’s writing style is so conversational it reads as if a friend is chatting with you, offering private lessons.

To my knowledge, Harry currently gives actual private lessons to only one person, his accountant Alan Frankel. Alan and I have struck up a friendship over the past few years, and together we decided to co-sponsor Harry’s ninetieth party as a way of thanking him for his friendship and inspiration.

Too often we wait too long to tell people how much they’ve meant to us.

Not this time. People traveled from England, France, Finland, China, and all over the United States to attend.

The guest list read like a Who’s Who of New York City’s magic scene, and beyond. Many told me that it was the greatest “three-hour magic convention” they’ve ever attended.


Among the notables who attended:

Adam Rubin, Allan Kronzek, Andrew Pinard, Barbara Greenfader, Belinda Sinclair, Ben Nemzer, Bill Kalush, Christian Engblom, David Kaye, David Regal, David Roth, Denny Corby, Doug Edwards, Gabe Fajuri, Gary Weissman, George Schindler, Herb Scher, Jay Sabatino, Jean-Jacques Sanvert, Jed Smith, Jeff Moche, Jeffrey Dobbins, Jerry Deutsch, Joe Monti, John Graham, Jon Racherbaumer, Joseph Gabriel, Joshua Jay, Ken Weber, Mahdi Gilbert, Mark Levy, Mark Mitton, Mark Setteducati, Michael Chaut, Michael Vincent, Nick Conticello, Noah Levine, Paul Gertner, Paul Ginsberg, Paul Gordon, Peter Kougasian, Peter Samelson, Raj Madhok, Regina Reynolds, Rene Clement, Richard Kaufman, Rick Silberman, Ricky Smith, Roger Dryer, Roger Seiler, Rudy Tinoco, Sandy Marshall, Scott Mero, Seth Kramer, Sol Stone, Stanley Hersch, Steve Cuiffo, Steven Conner, Stuart Slotnick, Tang Daly, Ted Greenberg, Thomas Churchwell, Victor Sendax, Vinny DePonto, Wesley James

• • •

When I conceived of the party six months ago, my first instinct was to hold it in my suite at the Waldorf Astoria. But Mark Levy had a better suggestion – find a Jewish deli, reminiscent of Reuben’s, and hold the party there. For twenty years, Harry spent every Saturday in Reuben’s, meeting magicians who were eager to get their ideas published in Apocalypse magazine. His birthday party needed to be held someplace with a similar vibe to Reuben’s, somewhere that Harry would feel “at home.” Mark suggested Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen. They have the same type of food as Reuben’s, a similar color scheme, and identical wise-cracking waiters. Perfect.


Harry now lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts so we drove him and his family down to Manhattan, and put him up in a midtown hotel for the weekend. He got, and deserved, the royal treatment. Ever the showman, Harry decided that he wanted to make “an entrance” so he arrived fashionably late. When he walked through the revolving door into Ben’s, the place erupted.


After cocktails and appetizers, we settled down at tables to eat lunch. Following the meal, we watched a video tribute to Harry Lorayne, projected onto a large screen. He received birthday greetings from some of the greatest magicians and entertainers in the world:

David Williamson, Juan Tamariz, Mel Brooks, David Copperfield, Alan Alda & Arlene Alda, Dick Cavett, Eugene Burger, Mac King, Penn & Teller, Johnny Thompson & Bob Massey, Derren Brown, David Blaine, David Berglas, Dynamo, Max Maven, Dani DaOrtiz, Boris Wild, Eric DeCamps, Meir Yedid, Richard Osterlind, Pop Haydn, Jeff McBride, Bill Malone, Charles Greene, Darwin Ortiz, David Ben, John Carney, Michael Ammar, Rafael Benatar, Simon Aronson, Gaetan Bloom, Sammy Smith, Stephen Minch, Allan Ackerman, Allen Okawa, Andi Gladwin, Martin Lewis, Bernard Bilis, Curtis Kam, Timothy Wenk, Michael Rubinstein, and Steve Valentine

(Click HERE to watch this incredible video)

• • •

Three live performances followed, by Michael Vincent, Jean-Jacques Sanvert, and David Regal. Each of these gentlemen flew in from great distances to attend the party (England, France, and Los Angeles, respectively). Michael Vincent performed his refined handlings of two Harry Lorayne tricks: Controlled Spelling, and Foursome.


Jean-Jacques Sanvert performed a Cannibal Cards routine that brought great laughter.



David Regal claimed that he had hired a team of private investigators to track down the original deck of cards used by Harry Lorayne to create all of his classic card tricks. That deck, he claimed, should be in the Smithsonian. The investigators “found” Harry’s deck, dog-eared and water damaged, stuck in the back pocket of his jeans. David returned the crappy deck to Harry, and presented him with a brand-new deck of Bicycle cards as an upgrade.

Regal then performed a hilarious piece of magic in which a sheet of Karl Fulves postage stamps transformed into a sheet of Harry Lorayne postage stamps.

Karl Fulves postage stamps...

Karl Fulves postage stamps…


...change to Harry Lorayne postage stamps

…change to Harry Lorayne postage stamps



President Barack Obama sent a letter of congratulations on official White House stationery, which I read aloud to the group.

White House letter to Lorayne


Finally we celebrated by singing “Happy Birthday” to Harry. The song was led by Paul Gordon, who aside from being a major fan of Harry’s card magic, is also a professional singer. Paul flew from England to New York City for just one night, to attend this party, before flying home. That’s dedication!



The birthday cake was decorated with Harry’s Al Hirschfeld caricature, and two candles spelling out “90.” With the help of his adorable granddaughter Vivi, Harry blew out the candles to much fanfare. The waiter handed him a knife to make the first cut. One wiseguy in the crowd yelled out, “It’s a HaLo cut!”


“A HaLo Cut”!


At one point during the party I stopped by Harry’s table to check in with him. “Are you enjoying yourself?” I asked. He replied, “With this cast of characters, how could I not enjoy myself?!”

Everyone was given a souvenir deck of Tycoon playing cards, wrapped with an off-white paper sleeve imprinted with the Hirschfeld drawing, and the words “Lorayne 90.”

2016-04-28 17.13.27


Many people have told me that this was a perfect party. I’m pleased to hear that so many people had a meaningful time gathering for a common goal and purpose. I could not have possibly run the party alone. Alan Frankel brought in his team: Karen & Robert Martinez, Samuel Mitrani, Jeff Dobbins, and Lynn Frankel. I am grateful to Andrew Pinard for designing the party invitation, and Jonathan Bayme for editing the video greetings. This party was truly a labor of love.

Two days later, the New York Post ran an article about Harry’s party in the gossip column, Page Six, written by Cindy Adams:

“One hundred magicians sandwiched into Ben’s Kosher Deli for card magician Harry Lorayne’s 90th birthday. David Copperfield, Penn & Teller and assorted wizards sent video messages. Obama, who has nothing else to do, wrote a congratulations note. One kazam/shazam trick that didn’t happen was pulling a rabbit out of a hat. The deli’s kosher. They should’ve schlepped out a pastrami.”

Harry Lorayne NY Post


Dai Vernon’s 90th birthday was celebrated with great fanfare at the Magic Castle in Los Angeles. Now we east coast magicians have a similar cherished memory – celebrating the 90th birthday of another giant in the world of card magic: Harry Lorayne.




Rudy Tinoco, Paul Gordon, Jon Racherbaumer, Michael Vincent


Stan Hersch, Rudy Tinoco, Alan Frankel, Jerry Deutsch, Rene Clement, Paul Gordon, Jon Racherbaumer, Michael Vincent, Andrew Pinard, Ken Weber



Wesley James, Jon Racherbaumer


Robert Lorayne, Elizabeth Lorayne, Vivi Lorayne, Harry Lorayne


Sandy Marshall, Susan Marshall, Jon Racherbaumer

Seth Kramer, Mark Setteducati, Jon Racherbaumer


Alan Frankel, Richard Kaufman, Jean-Jacques Sanvert, Doug Edwards


Michael Vincent, David Regal, Peter Kougasian


David Roth, Harry Lorayne, Steve Cohen, Alan Frankel


Harry Lorayne, David Regal


David Regal, Harry Lorayne


Michael Vincent, Harry Lorayne


Jon Racherbaumer, Paul Gordon, Jean-Jacques Sanvert, Harry Lorayne


Steve Cuiffo, Tony Chang, Paul Gordon, John Graham, Harry Lorayne, Doug Edwards


Harry Lorayne, Ted Greenberg


Bill Kalush, Mark Setteducati


Christian Engblom, Sol Stone, Harry Lorayne, Victor Sendax


Han Feng, Steve Cohen, Harry Lorayne, Rudy Tinoco, Ken Weber, Sandy Marshall, David Kaye


Joseph Gabriel, Harry Lorayne


Sol Stone, Michael Vincent


Michael Vincent, Joshua Jay, Vinny DePonto, Steve Cohen


Stu Slotnick & wife, Harry Lorayne


Roger Seiler, David Kaye, Harry Lorayne


Tang Daly, Mahdi Gilbert, Christian Engblom


board


Adam Rubin, Ricky Smith, Steve Cohen, Bill Kalush, Christian Engblom


Harry Lorayne “holding court”


George Schindler, Scott Mero, Mark Setteducati, Gabe Fajuri, Joshua Jay, Doug Edwards, Rene Clement


Bill Kalush, Michael Vincent


Richard Kaufman, Harry Lorayne


Lynn Frankel, Alan Frankel, Robert Martinez, Jeff Dobbins, Karen Martinez


Bill Kalush, Harry Lorayne, Han Feng


Lynn Frankel, Alan Frankel, Sam Mitrani, Karen Martinez, Harry Lorayne


Michael Chaut, Jeff Moche, Harry Lorayne, Rene Clement


Crime scene: Jean-Jacques Sanvert, David Regal, Paul Gordon, Peter Kougasian


Wesley James, Rick Silberman, Stan Hersch, Nick Conticello


Co-hosts: Alan Frankel, Steve Cohen


Adam Rubin, Joshua Jay, Steve Cuiffo, Tony Chang


Mark Mitton, Harry Lorayne


Harry Lorayne, Belinda Sinclair


David Kaye, Andrew Pinard, Richard Kaufman


Christian Engblom fooling the pants off Paul Ginsberg, Jerry Deutsch, Sol Stone, Rudy Tinoco, Echo, David Roth, Mahdi Gilbert


Joe Monti, Steve Cohen, George Schindler


Nina Schindler, Joe Monti, George Schindler


Carrington Greenfader, Barbara Greenfader (daughter of Lenny Greenfader), Harry Lorayne


Harry Lorayne, Vivi, Robert Lorayne


David Regal, Peter Kougasian, Jean-Jacques Sanvert, Richard Kaufman


Steve Cohen, Harry Lorayne, Vivi, Robert Lorayne