In an appendix to The Devils of Loudun, published in 1952, the year Savile turns 26 and King George VI dies and the current Queen takes the throne, Aldous Huxley writes:
‘…new and previously undreamed-of devices for exciting mobs have been invented. There is the radio, which has enormously extended the range of the demagogue’s raucous yelling. There is the loud-speaker, amplifying and indefinitely reduplicating the heady music of class hatred and militant nationalism. There is the camera (of which it was once naively said that ‘it cannot lie’) and its offspring, the movies and television…Assemble a mob of men and women previously conditioned by a daily reading of newspapers; treat them to amplified band music, bright lights, and the oratory of a demagogue who (as demagogues always are) is simultaneously the exploiter and the victim of herd intoxication, and in next to no time you can reduce them to a state of almost mindless subhumanity. Never before have so few been in a position to make fools, maniacs, or criminals of so many.’”
The Devils of Loudun, Appendix, p.367, 1952 Aldous Huxley (Random House:2005)
Hard not to imagine this quote as a Savile’s very own personal checklist.
‘Gimmick’ was one of Savile’s favourite words and a topic on which he would regale anyone at the receiving end of his King Solomon-esque wisdom trying to break into ‘the pop world’ or otherwise become remarkable in their field in some way.
Thinking about the origins of such a word and whether they went much beyond Savile’s birth in 1926 and if it was originally slang when it entered the dictionary (Savile’s preoccupation with youth and wearing teenaged clothes despite being over 30 when starting at Radio Luxembourg) I discovered:
“Gimmick, however, took on meanings beyond ”a clever mechanical device.” The reporter Jack Lait in 1930 captured its larcenous connotation, defining it as ”any contrivance to make a fair transaction or contest unfair.” In the phrase ”You gotta have a gimmick,” the sense is less deceptive: ”an original marketing idea or selling proposition to attract customers.”” (Whosit’s Whatchamacallit, On language, William Safire, NY Times, 9 January 2005)
The OED has gimmick down first as 1926, the year of Savile’s birth, as American slang and originating with an anagram of magic gimac which magicians used in their own way to refer to a gadget or technical device they might use in pulling off a trick.
There’s many examples of Savile using the word gimmick and I will collect them here…in the meantime here’s mention of “a big stupid gimmick” that didn’t end so satisfyingly well for Savile for once – during his wrestling years:
“The promoters were trying to put Savile across as a bit of tough guy in those days and they were trying to get other proper wrestlers to throw their matches with him – it was all part of some big stupid gimmick,” said Street, now 84 and running a wrestling wear business called Bizarre Bizaar in Florida.”
Savile’s ability to herd live crowds of people onto the streets (his collection of shepherds’ crooks suggests he wished to project an image of himself as a shepherd and we are therefore his sheep) in various displays of pomp pageantry and patronage – and most importantly his ability to secure sponsorship or charity funding were legendary and sought after by many corporate brands over the years including Coca-Cola, Thomas Cook, the Milk Marketing Board, the Daily Express, Cunard, and the Sunday People amongst others. So while the BBC and Radio Luxembourg and radio were his platform he spring-boarded his way into becoming government’s messenger boy with Clunk Click in 1975 and for the railways during the 1980s and the ‘Age of the Train’.
Here’s a closer look at his bag of techniques for rigging the game – his gimmickry:
1. Phatic Communication
2. Rhythm: Power, Effect & the Paradiddles
3. Terror-Eyes to Terrorise
4. Legerdemain: The art of misdirection
(Gimmicks 5 – 10 to come in a subsequent post)
1. Phatic Communication “What were we thinking? Why weren’t we paying attention? Now then, now then”
A.A.Gill writing in February’s Vanity Fair 2013, identified Savile’s yodelling, coo-ing, repetitious phrases “How’s about that then”, “Now then, Now then” “Gather round” “Guys and gals” as ‘phatic communication’, the kind of speech one often finds oneself gabbling meaninglessly at pre-schoolers or young children while chiding them gently into listening or acting. Yet his letters to Thatcher reveal a more pointed ability to be directly flattering, and an ability to change his tone or writing style appropriate to his audience.
With his friend, John Swale, Savile was already MCing in between DJing from 1948 when the pair were putting on bands in between playing records at tea dances. Savile, aged 22, turning 23 in 1948 was already proficient at providing patter while controlling the tempo of the music which dictated the mood and style of dance. As he said in Alison Bellamy’s official authorised biography of the ‘first’ disco Savile claimed to have held (either 1943-44 or 1947 depending on which biography you read) at the Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherd’s Friendly Society, Belle Vue Road, Woodhouse, Leeds: “It wasn’t power, it was an effect.”
A keen cycling friend managed to pick up the 1967 International Cyclists Saddle Club booklet on the History of the Tour of Britain on ebay and there within is dedicated an entire page in ‘Tribute to “The Duke”:
“No History of the Tour of Britain would be complete without a story about one of the leading characters to emerge from the race.
We have already mentioned that Oscar Saville (sic) took part in the first Tour as a competitor, when, to quote his own words, he found himself, ‘dropped each ensuing day at the drop of the flag.’
“Over the blaring microphone amplifier his Yorkshire dialect would pour out the torrent of words in the manner which has now given him a much wider frame as a disc jockey and show biz star. His quickfire patter, in which news of the Tour’s progress was liberally sprinkled with an endless stream of gags, endeared him to all. His jokes, like his sometimes vivid hued suits, changed every day.”
What Savile was especially skilled at was shoe-horning the name of the sponsor into his commentary – ensuring they got their money’s worth.
History of Tour of Britain, 1967, International Cyclists Saddle Club, p.92
In 1958, Peter A Clifford, assistant timekeeper to that year’s Tour of Britain race, first sponsored by the Milk Marketing Board recollects in the publication above:
“Going past a field of cows ‘The Duke’ would give out with something on the following lines – ‘Now you cows over there, rise to your feet and let’s hear a rendering of the “Cows’ Cantata”, for you are about to witness a strange cavalcade of human milk eaters and cow drinkers who are cycling all the way round Britain to count you up, on behalf of the Milk Marketing Board…”
“But what the talented Duke really dug up during this Tour, as in the previous ones, was the enthusiasm and interest of the general public, who came out to line the route in their thousands to see and hear this glittering, spectacular caravan, highlighted by the whir of wheels and gears as the muscular, brown-skinned young men in their multi-coloured jerseys flashed past.
The general air of enthusiasm was aroused to almost fever pitch by the non stop spiel which spouted from Oscar’s mike.”
It would be interesting to read a linguist or NLP specialist take on Savile’s very particular use of language both in content (or lack thereof as Gill points out), but also in the rhythm of his delivery. On which Savile’s impeccable sense of rhythm…
2. Rhythm: Power, Effect and the Paradiddles
As a child Savile really was a ‘little drummer boy’ (which always pops into my head with a chill when I read his quote ‘I AM the Myra Hindley story‘) who would have drilled in the Paradiddles (Preaching the Paradiddles, Drum Magazine, January 2012) as a Cadet for Air Training Corps (ATC) Squadron 168 in the city of Leeds. He would have attended Parade nights and other cadet training two or more nights a week from the ATC’s inception during 1940 if he was 14 when WWII started.
“Drummer boys were children recruited as drummers for use on the battlefield.Until well into the 19th century, western armies recruited young boys to act as drummers. The drums were an important part of the battlefield communications system, with various drum rolls used to signal different commands from officers to troops.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drummer_boy_(military)
From 10 years old to 14 years old, he drummed six nights a week straight from school, earning 10s a week.He was also working as the drummer of the ‘relief band’ at tea dances potentially from November 1938 with the opening of the Mecca Locarno Leeds but certainly from the outset of the war as the relief band, possibly with his dad Vince as a director of Mecca Locarno Leeds. Agnes ‘The Duchess’ is mentioned as capable on the piano enough to help out when the wiring on the ‘decks’ Savile and Swale attempt malfunctions. One of his trophies is for playing the drums at Mecca Locarno in 1939.
“You may not be aware of this fact, but Sir James Savile OBE (he tells everyone it means Old Blond ‘Ead) was the first person in England to use Records/CDs in public to make people dance. He was Britain’s first mobile disc jockey and kept his records in two big leather hold all’s in the boot of whichever of his super flash cars he was driving, and always got the door supervisors to lug these monster things into the dance hall or discotheque.
As a teenager I was fortunate enough to work with Jim for eight years, the man is actually a genius. I learned the art of entertainment and night life at the Jimmy Savile Disc Club, on the floor below a famous Northern Night spot called the Whiskey-A-Go-Go which was at 200 Great Cheetham Street in Salford, Lancashire, where I watched for many a night a beautiful young Jewish girl who was a brilliant star to be, her name, Elkie Brooks. That was where I learned my trade.
Jim Savile is (not many people know this) a very talented amateur drummer who spent most of the time practising his parradiddle’s (a drum exercise) either on the table, on his knee, or on the car steering wheel at traffic lights. Because of this he invented Dance Tempo and timing of his records/cds to aid him on stage.
He taught me how to do something that you will find invaluable, he showed me how to calculate the tempo of each track we played by working out how many bars of music there were in each minute of music playing.
Using a watch we counted every fourth beat of the bass drum over ten or fifteen seconds and multiplied by the result by either six or four to give an answer of bars per minute. It was a brilliant system that never failed.” (Ray Teret’s Think and grow richer: think like a disc jockey DJ)
So one of Savile’s gimmicks as a DJ was as Teret puts it the “invention of ‘Dance Tempo’” – or perhaps more widely, an almost scientific attention to which beats cause which effects. While it appears Savile had little emotional feeling for music, or love of the music he played, he had a deep appreciation of musical tempo which appeared to be analytic and focused on how to ‘direct’ or ‘conduct’ a dancefloor, full of “punters” as he might call attendees at his club. And as simple as it being a ‘smooch’ session or a ‘dance’ session he took a long hard look at what kind of ‘control’ or ‘power’ this represented to him: “It’s not power, it’s an effect” as applied to other areas of his life. Savile’s keen sense of opportunity comes with a sharp sense of timing in order to take advantage.
1969’s 6-second Amen Drum breakbeat from a B-side of the Winston Brothers – Nate Harrison’s 2004 20 minute account of how this break spawned separate sub-genres of music in drum’n’bass and jungle and has arguably entered “collective audio conscious”, now often used in advertising – as an example of how influential specific rhythms can become
“No man, however highly civilized, can listen for very long to African drumming, or Indian chanting, or Welsh hymn singing, and retain intact his critical and self-conscious personality. It would be interesting to take a group of the most eminent philosophers from the best universities, shut them up in a hot room with Moroccan dervishes or Haitian Voodooists and measure, with a stop-watch, the strength of their psychological resistance to the effect of rhythmic sound. Would the Logical Positivists be able to hold out longer than the Subjective Idealists? Would the Marxists prove tougher than that Thomists or the Vedantists? What a fascinating, what a fruitful field for experiment! Meanwhile, all we can safely predict is that, if exposed long enough to the toms-toms and the singing, every one of our philosophers would end by capering and howling with the savages.’ (The Devils of Loudun, Aldous Huxley, 1952)
3. Terror-eyes to terrorise: Savile’s claims to mass hypnotic powers
You’ll notice that there’s very few photos of Savile either genuinely smiling or where he isn’t exposing the maximum amount of white around his eyes. His general “strike a pose” is to reveal as much of the whites of his eyes as possible, cracking either a wide grin or a smug smirk, either way cigar generally aloft or clamped between the teeth and his irises two dark round orbs focused on the camera. What’s important is that the eyes are wide, as if in terror, and don’t actually match the avuncular insouciance of the rest of his features or pose. Do you hold someone’s gaze like that or do you look away, and possibly be perceived as weak by a predator such as Savile whose will had to dominate all around him?
I’m no psychologist or anthropologist (as you’ll have already guessed) but Savile’s eyes would appear to be calculated to provoke a confused response due to the mixed messages. It was notable in the relentless and otherwise varied images of him in the wake of the revelations and I began to feel that widespread repulsion towards the images of Savile weren’t just a consequence of the revelations but also an immediate gut reaction to his image in that moment individuals were now able to voice, which prior to the revelations few without direct experience of his abusive behaviour would have bothered voicing with any vehemence – apart from putting it down to Savile’s oft-repeated “I’m odd” approach to telling people what to think of him.
“TheLeagueOfGentlemen-PapaLazarou” by BBC. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Papa Lazarou via Wikipedia
But it was a terrifying picture Savile sent to a girl he’d assaulted during 1966, featuring a photo of his terror eyes and also his two tone black/left vs white/right hair style (Jimmy Savile molested teen moments, Daily Mirror, 14 October 2012) accompanied by a note proclaiming in words the League of Gentleman’s most terrifying character, Papa Lazarou, might have been proud of:
Daily Mirror, 14 October 2012, Savile sent sick note
‘Eye love Sylvie, so there Jimmy Savile”
that suggests to me he was fully aware of this effect. Recent revelations of Savile collecting dead friend’s glass eyes and mounting them in rings and/or pendant necklaces also suggests Savile felt eyes had some kind of special symbolic or actual power for him (Revealed: The glass eye Jimmy stole from a corpse and made into a necklace that he wore on final Top of the Pops – where he groped a child, Daily Mail, 27 June 2014)
In 2004 a study published in Science Magazine, published by the AAAS concluded that this kind of bug eyed terror look is directly wired into our amygdala and is all about how we measure our fear response in relation to how much whites of the eyes are shown! We don’t really like it but we have to keep our eyes on it because we do understand it to be sending strong and urgent messages of fear, deep in our primordial pathways. It’s also very 19th century Victoriana Villian too, not quite believable , or a slight voyeuristic thrill of someone so theatrically ‘mischievous’. Savile claimed to have naturally strong hypnotic talents , which he proceeded to hone under the tutelage of a Josef Karma on the Isle of Man, Douglas.
“One discovery I had made during my pursuit of the tuber and grain was, of all things, a natural and almost disastrous power of hypnotism. After a day in the fields, most of the campers would topple on their beds as the felled tree. The rest of us would gather round a real fire in the common room after lights-out and talk. Somehow the conversation turned to hypnotism and as a joke I professed to possess the powers. To demonstrate, and choosing a girl who was already fast asleep in her easy chair, I stood behind her. Miracle of miracles, with eyes fast closed she answered all my stage-whispered questions. Passing myself off as first her mother, then father, and finally boyfriend we had a lively patter going that reduced the firelight audience to tears. I was convinced she was awake and just playing along with me. Taking again the part of her mother and asking her what on earth she was doing in bed with all her clothes on, sweet horror, did she not stand up and start to undress.
I was reduced to a jelly with fright. A sign of the unpermissive times was that the room emptied in a second. Telling her to stop, and in the nick of time as it had been a warm evening, she was handed to her girlfriend with instructions to put her to bed. The next morning, expecting to be denounced and dismissed, I was shattered with relief when she stood next to me in the breakfast queue and gave not the slightest sign of recognition.
Years later in the Isle of Man I met Josef Karma, one of the great hypnotists. Telling him the story, he was not surprised at all and suggested I should study under him for a while so that my natural gift, which he subsequently confirmed, would enable me to do good, and not finish up in the nick!” (‘As it ‘Appens, pg ?, 1974)
So at some point during the 30 years between Savile’s attendance on the Lend A Hand scheme post war (approx 1945-1950, aged 19 – 24) giving the impression it was all as jolly as this government film of 1944 harvesting spuds in Scotland:
and writing his autobiography (1973/4) ‘ As it Happens’ he studied hypnotism under Josef Karma.
“In 1949, Gladys Morgan, the Welsh comedienne, was at the Pavilion with her company and the next year saw another change of program. These variety shows at Onchan Head proved to be great attractions but, in the early fifties, stage hypnotism was becoming a popular form of entertainment and tended to take over from variety at the Pavilion. One of the best known hypnotists was Joseph Karma with his assistant Elizabeth. Many of those who flocked to see his performances will recall the volunteers from his audiences, who whilst in a trance, would suck greedily at what they believed were sweet, juicy oranges, only to find, when awakened, that the fruits were in fact lemons.”
But in December 1948 the daughter of a Major claimed to have been injured by the Russian born American stage hypnotist Ralph Slater at a stage show and in October 1952 following several re-trials finally settled and Slater left the UK. [Will you just do what I tell you – the controvery of Stage Hypnotism, J Nurse, 25 March 2013, Wellcome Library Blog – which includes copies direct from Barnett Stross MP who introduced what was to become the Hypnosis Act 1952 as a Private Members’ Bill)
Down at the White City Amusement Park, Douglas, Isle of Man, a resident Manx hypnotist Josef Karma was at some point fighting it out with Ronricco for the top spot, while also being responsible for introducing what he called ‘the new form of Hypnotism, rock and roll’ during his intermissions:
Isle of Man Examiner, 7 July 1960
“Living in Onchan I was very handy for the White City amusement park on Onchan head where myself and the gang, Mike, Malcolm, and Billy, would spend summer evenings eyeing the girls, listening to the Juke Box, and playing on the many penny slot machines in the arcade, the Isle of Man at this time was still a very popular holiday destination and the place was packed most nights with tourists mostly from the north of England, Scotland, Northern and Southern Ireland.
A close neighbour of mine was the doorman at the most popular show on the resort, Joseph Karma the Lightning Hypnotist, with his assistant Elizabeth, she was gorgeous with the biggest boobs I had ever seen, armed with my complimentary tickets I used to go to the show a couple of times a week, I loved it. Apart from the very funny situations he would put people into when hypnotised, he also would stop people smoking if they wished, and very successfully, when in the trance he would suggest to them that every time they put a cigarette in their mouth it would taste disgusting, it apparently worked and he used to offer this service privately as well.
He was also the person who got me into rock and roll, in the intermission at one of his shows one night he announced a New Form of Hypnotism, rock and roll, and introduced the islands 1st rock group, Bernie May and the Sinners. The band consisted of Bernie the vocalist and rhythm guitarist, John Lightfoot on tea chest bass, John Forrester on drums, and Kenny Radcliffe on piano. They sang Tommy Steels Elevator Rock and from that moment rock and roll was all I ever wanted to do..” http://net121business.com/Suedettes/whitecity.htm
Isle of Man Examiner, 25 August 1960
Tommy Steele’s Elevator Rock was released on Decca in 1956 so this cover version must have been some time shortly after this release?
From the Manx Forums: Ronricco dies aged 80
“In my opinion, Jo Karma was the better hypnotist and showman.
They were at war for yeras, Jo belonged to the Society of Ethical Hypnotists, subscribed to a code of conduct, Ronricco didn’t. Jo alleged Ron belittled and humiliated people as part of his act whereas he wouldn’t.
Jo also had a beef about Ron getting work permits. Jo had lived on the Island forever and didn’t need one, Ron and his wife and family did. Jo said that as there was a suityabel manx hypnotist availbale Ron shouldn’t get a permit.
I seem to recall a petition to Tynwald one year.
Saw both shows, went on stage with Jo, also helped stage manage his last few shows at the Gaiety. He was a gentleman. ”
In 1952 the Hypnotism Act had to be introduced into Parliament.
Karma’s regular spot from approx 1956/57 appears to have been every night at 8 in the theatre at the Derby Castle complex – which also housed the wrestling – another of Savile’s interests.
During the 1960s the Isle of Man was swept by Radio Caroline fever of Po Box 3
“I wanted to know about the mysterious powers of hypnotism he claimed to possess. The pitch and cadence of his voice, a voice that became the standard-issue impersonation for just about every British citizen born before 1980, occasionally induced a drowsiness in me, especially if subjected to it for long stretches at a time. After a few hours listening to his pulsing drone – and occasionally being scolded for interjecting with a question or request for clarification – I invariably found myself needing a break….
So when did he first realise he had powers? “I was in the Isle of Man doing a disc jockey thing in Douglas, ‘ he replied. ‘And in the hotel I was staying at, because I was the star DJ at the time, the waitress came across and said – er – er what’s his name now?’ He groped for the name of the hypnotist he claimed had recognised his powers. I knew the name and reminded him: it was Josef Karma.
Josef Karma. Yes, he was doing a one-man show at the Royal. So Josef comes over to my table. And I said to him, “that’s a fascinating game is that.” And he said, “You can do what I can’t do Jim.” And I said, “What’s that?” “You can do mass hypnosis. You probably don’t know you’re doing it but you know the effect you’ve got on people. You know what you can do but you don’t know how it comes or what it’s called. You can do mass hypnosis and I can’t.” ‘
Savile claimed that Karma had offered to teach him about hypnosis, and they worked together for a few weeks before he started to hypnotise people under his tutor’s guidance. He said he found that he could do it quite easily.
‘So when I came back to Leeds after the six weeks, I found…’ he paused for a moment to relight his cigar, ‘a hypnotherapy clinic. They’d get patients in and let me hypnotise them and try to sort them out, and I learned various techniques. I don’t use it very often.’
He cackled and looked straight out to sea.” [In Plain Sight, Dan Davies, Loc 3197]
Company duly convened and held at 27 Athol Street in the
Borough of Douglas, Isle of Man, on the 24th May 1974
the following Special Resolution was passed:
” That the Company be wound up voluntarily and that
Josef Karma, Hypnotist, of Edale, Victoria Road, Douglas,
Isle of Man, was to be and he is hereby appointed
Liquidator for the purpose of such winding-up.”
Josef Karma, Chairman
London Gazette 30th May 1974
By 1974 Josef Karma was liquidating Karma Enterprises. In 1984 Ronricco was still going – with Hi-De-Hi’s Paul Shane following his show at the Villa Marina in Douglas Isle of Man
However, in a very recently published book I stumbled across it appears there was a far more interesting hypnotist of much more repute and power than either the ethical Karma or flamboyant Ronricco living and working on the Isle of Man- ……who would be another person privy to some of the events the young Lady Valerie Monckton and her father, Edward VIII’s legal adviser, Sir Walter Monckton would have been in 1936:
Dr Alexander Cannon – The King’s Psychic (by Sean Stowell)
“Dr Cannon was the talk of the town on the island back then, just as he had been amongst the cocktail set in 1930s London high society, but no one in the island knew the real story about Cannon’s secret life before he left London. He had run a clinic for confidence building, treating nervous and even sexual disorders, on Harley Street, just yards from the clinic of Lionel Logue, the speech therapist who worked with George VI on his stammer.
He moved to Ballamoar Castle in the Isle of Man at the start of the war in 1939. His rich and famous followers, including some top brass of the military, were only too happy to make the journey all the way over to the island, not an inconsiderable journey in those days.
Decades later I was introduced via a totally different route to the world of Dr Cannon, namely through MI5 documents, official archives, history books and some very elderly people. They helped me piece together this Yorkshireman’s role in the 1936 abdication.
Dr Cannon was said to be a ‘master of black magic in England’ enjoying a powerful hold over the psychologically-ailing King Edward who suffered from drink and confidence problems.
Most people still believe the official story of the abdication: that Edward gave up the throne for the love of Mrs Simpson. But the documents and recordings I have seen and listened to not only reveal an Establishment plot to oust Edward (the key plotter was Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Cosmo Lang), but also reveal how the fascist far-right tried to subvert that plot which had Dr Cannon playing a central role.
Tape recordings transcribed in ‘The King’s Psychic’ describe how Edward’s fascist Blackshirt supporters claimed to have tried to expose Dr Cannon. They wanted to protect the only monarch they believed would ‘tackle the march of communism’.
After the abdication in December 1936, Dr Cannon did not disappear into the sunset – quite the opposite.
He moved to the island and continued practising his lucrative mystic brand of medicine and extended his sphere of influence to include many top rank military chiefs.
From the RAF base next to his clinic at Ballamoar Castle in the north of the island, he regularly flew to London. He was acting as an unofficial and ‘psychic guru’ to his believers, some of them based at Admiralty. He engineered bizarre experiments in telepathy which, incredibly, caught the attention of the highest ranks.
One such attempt to develop telepathic powers in a patient involved arranging a love affair between an aristocratic Special Operations Executive commander and Cannon’s beautiful young psychic assistant, Joyce de Rhonda. Match-maker Cannon believed communicating by telepathy would be far easier if the subjects were in love. They did fall in love – passionately so.
The Special Operations commander Sir Geoffrey Congreve tried to deploy his new telepathic ‘skill’ during a raid on a Nazi base in Norway. An Enigma code machine discovered during the mission was brought back to England to help break German codes. Rather ridiculously, Dr Cannon claimed the glory and the commander was called to celebrate the find at Downing Street.” (The Dr who dabbled in the Occult, Isle of Many Today, 16 August 2014)
Cannon’s beliefs re love and telepathy being easier for those romantically involved reminds me of a fascinating book claiming to give a first hand account of involvement in several operations during WWII employing young paladins (boys) from public schools as junior spies (and the transmission of messages within music over public airwaves) I read in January 2013 which I will come back to in due course (once I’ve read Stowell’s book above), suggesting his approach may well have been put to wider use, as well as potentially providing an underlying theory for the ‘Spartacus’ connection.
And Savile’s going to be another goat-starer perhaps or just a spanner in some goat-staring works? Who knows. Every time I follow another passing character he refers to into books or local papers, or read up on the local history of a place he wants to claim close association with, the same themes appear to glare away.
“In addition to manual dexterity, sleight of hand depends on the use of psychology, timing, misdirection, and natural choreography in accomplishing a magical effect. Misdirection is perhaps the most important component of the art of sleight of hand. The magician choreographs his actions so that all spectators are likely to look where he or she wants them to. More importantly, they do not look where the performer does not wish them to look. Two types of misdirection are timing and movement. Timing is simple: by allowing a small amount of time to pass after an action, events are skewed in the viewer’s mind. Movement is a little more complicated. A phrase often used is “A larger action covers a smaller action.” Care must be taken however to not make the larger action so big that it becomes suspect.”
There’s an interesting story related on a forum discussing Savile’s time at the Leeds Mecca Locarno when Savile fails to secure Bill Halley and the Comets to play at the Mecca.
From the Locarno Boy website: (May 2012) http://www.locarnoboy.co.uk/05/2012/one-thing-jimmy-savile-would-not-tolerate/
“One thing Jimmy Savile would not tolerate was to think that the opposition had one over on him.
So when he saw that Bill Haley and the Comets were advertised by one of his competitors, Jimmy announced that they would also be playing at his venue on the same night; Leeds Locarno.
Anyone asking “how can you do that Jim?” was quickly assured that everything would be fine, “it’s all in hand”.
A week before the said appearance, and with a capacity attendance, Jimmy appeared on stage to explain that a tunnel was being dug at that very moment, so that Bill Haley and his Comets could move quickly from the opposition venue to the Locarno.
He then announced he was going to make a progress report, so he banged on the stage floor.
Up through a trapdoor appeared the Locarno handy man covered in mud.
“How`s it going?” asked Jimmy.
“It`s going well boss. Think we are going to be OK. Can’t stop, must get on” the handyman disappearing again.
This continued night after night, right up to the event, building up such an interest that the Locarno was full to capacity on the night of the said appearance. When Jimmy announced “here we have, live on stage”, the audience went wild.
Then all the lights went out in the building, until Jimmy eventually announced that “due to technical difficulties Bill Haley and the Comets would not be able to appear”. As he spoke the DJ increased the volume to “Rock Around the Clock” and the audience danced as though their idol was up there on stage playing live to them.
As for the opposition; the story suggests that they lost a lot of money that night; the audience believed what they wanted to believe, especially when told by such a charismatic showman.
Talk about selling the sizzle not the steak.”