As a young fellow, Gerald’s parents took him to see the traveling variety shows of the day. Variety shows, minstrel shows and magic shows were popular in the late 1940s and early 1950s. These shows sparked an interest in show business for Gerald. He found one book on magic in the local library. Fun with Magic by Joseph Leeming was Gerald’s guide in those early days. He would give magic shows for the neighborhood kids from his front porch.
Gerald got his first glimpse of great magic shows from Virgil and Julie and Willard the Wizard. He would watch The Ed Sullivan Show on television every week, waiting for Richiardi to appear. The imagines of those great performers remained in Gerald’s memory. He was lucky to have Robert Rowntree, a fine magician from Abilene, Texas for a mentor. Gerald worked with Bob, Bob’s son and daughter on their stage show “The Amazing Robert”. He got a taste of real show business working on the show.
In the late 1970s, Gerald was performing as magician-mime-juggler with Louis Campbell’s Cucurucu Mime Troupe. The troupe appeared in 16th century costumes, performed mime, acrobatics, period music, juggling and a variety of skills in classic street performing style. When the troupe disbanded in 1981, Gerald formed The Side Street Circus. Scott Dow and Gerald named the group and changed the performance style. An accordion, clarinet, tuba and washboard replaced the Renaissance instruments.
Contemporary costuming replaced the 16th century costumes. The Side Street Circus became a popular performance group in a wide variety of venues. As the saying goes, "the rest is history." After nearly thirty-five years, The Side Street Circus retired and gave its last performance in April of 2015.
Gerald was fifteen years old when he made his first professional appearance as an entertainer. In both solo and ensembles, he has appeared from Los Angeles to Washington DC, Las Vegas to the Foro Cultural Azcapotzalco in Mexico City. He has seven published works on the art of sleight-of-hand, including The Ostrich Factor and Wisdom of the Cups and Balls, was a columnist for MUM magazine, is a past President of the Texas Association of Magicians and twice received the Ren Clark Award. In 1996, his one man parade for the Linking Ring magazine won both first and second prize awards. Gerald considers himself fortunate to have worked with many talented and well-known artists of the past, including Dai Vernon, J.B.Bobo and Lee Grabel.
Gerald holds a Master's degree from Texas Tech University and studied at the University of the Americas in Mexico City. The Fort Worth Star Telegram described him as, “one of the top sleight-of-hand experts . . . a phenomenal artist . . . a sleight-of-hand virtuoso.” He retired from full-time performing in 2015 and moved to Arkansas to be near his family.
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