Doc Jon Deems Writes:
The late Michael Skinner was considered to be one of the finest close-up magicians in the world. Eight years at the Magic Castle studying with the Professor, Dai Vernon, and for over 25 years, the magician in residence at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, Skinner’s work as a world-class practitioner of the art of close-up magic is well documented.
When I first saw Mike Skinner, he was sitting on a stool. ...picture this... in the Pussy Cat Lounge, on the strip in a room where there was a pool table. It was four thirty in the morning.
There was the old typical hanging pool table light just above his head, not a bright light, the room was dark and the atmosphere was electric. There was tenseness in the air that could be cut with a knife, not a sound could be heard.
He was doing the "Traveling Aces" routine without any patter whatsoever. When he was done there was a stillness... a hush...then everyone went crazy!
That was my first real introduction into the world of magic. Mike was a dear friend of mine for over 30 years. He allowed me the privilege of having one foot in, and the other outside of the "circle", the real "workers".
You see, in my business I didn’t have the privilege to do magic tricks. I was a dealer, to be more specific a "mechanic", a "crossroader". A wrong doer of the paste boards, yes a crooked dealer! Mike took me under his wing; tried to get me on to the other side of the tracks, his side!! Well, it happened! Now I am a sinless Magician and Magic Demonstrator.
I can see Mike, his smile, that little laugh that he had, and the twinkle in his eye every time we would get together and share our stories and some new moves that some cross-roader showed me. Mike, just like Vernon, had that obvious pleasure and limitless curiosity when it came to new moves.