Friday, November 03, 2006

Lunch on the set of Big Love

Wednesday I was treated to lunch on the set of Big Love. Polly gave me a nice tour of both sound stages, the Kraft Service Truck, the Hair and Make Up Trailer and the dining area. I love my girl and it was fun to see her in her natural habitat. Her boss "Big Daddy" Scott made me feel very welcome and greeted me with a big smile. It seems like a great cast and crew.

I enjoyed some delicious lamb chops for lunch and was luckly enough to sit and chat with # 1 and 2 on the call sheet (Pill Paxton & Jeanne Tripplehorn).

Last week I watched an episode of Big Love on HBO and thought it was a good show. I love being around the magic of movie making. By the way, they shoot this TV show in 35mm film. Before lunch I got to watch them shoot a few takes of a scene. All very cool. I love my life!

Big Love

In my "Out Box" • Snail Mail

Dear Max,

I want to wish you a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Now that you are 10 years old, you are no longer a single digit kid. Now you’re a double digit young man!! Welcome to the next exciting phase in your life!

How is school? Are you keeping an eye on Hope and Liam? I’m sure you are as good a big brother as you always were. Please give everyone a BIG hug and tell them that I love and miss them.

It sure would be nice if you could come and visit me during your Christmas Break or Summer Vacation. If you ever want to do this and it’s OK with your mom, let me know and I will book you a plane ticket to California. I really think you would like it here! The sun shines almost all of the time and it hardly ever gets cold. I love being near the ocean. Remember how much fun we would have at my house at Alki Beach?

I wish you would talk to me when I call. It hurts my feelings when you don’t want to talk to me. If you’re mad at me for moving, or for anything; we need to talk about it. I am still your dad and I still love you and miss you even though we don’t live near each other.

Maybe, if you don’t want to talk on the phone, you could write me a letter, draw me a picture or send me an e-mail. I would love to hear from you!

Please write, here is the address:

Tom & John Frank
6430 Charlesworth Ave.
N. Hollywood, CA 91606

or e-mail me at

Did you have a good time for Halloween? Get a bunch of candy? I hope you all had a great time.

Well son, I love you and miss you. I hope you like the Birthday presents.

With more love than you can imagine


Thursday, November 02, 2006

My Office

Here in North Hollywood, it doesn't feel like fall, autumn or winter, as we enter the first week of November. You might say that it's perfect. Just came in from my sun soaking session out back. Did some writing, listened to a podcast of a Ralph Waldo Emerson essay entitled, "Love" and spent some time digging how I was feeling. I try and do this daily from 10-11 or 11-12. Yesterday I added in some exercise at the end, some sit ups and push ups. I've grown fat and lazy. I'd like to see if I can upgrade and just be lazy. It would be nice to drop a few pounds and firm up a little. Just don't want to give up anything for it. I like eating like a pig.

Last night I worked the Promenade. It was a slow, between the season lull, weeknight; what'cha gonna do. I sat on my stool, lit a cigar, put on some Dianna Krall and started shuffling the cards. Although it was a slow night, I had some really satisfying sets. and a few deck sales at the end.

Last weekend Eliah gave me some good advice. He said ,"Go slower" and "Be more mystical". I tried that, and was surprised what a difference a few beats could make. I also played with D'lite to get people's attention as they walked by. Did kind of a production/multiplication sequence producing the light, transferring it to the other hand and watching myself as I put it in my right jacket pocket. I move my head to look at the audience, and notice that there is another one. I register surprise and a little disgust as I do the same thing with that one. Kind of a Cardini feel, slightly tipsy or aloof. D'lites are fun. . . for everyone. I bought some to sell after my performances.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Roll of the dice

Took this pick yesterday. A portion of my dice collection, displayed in a hand blown glass ashtray.


"It's like gambling somehow. You go out for a night of drinking and you don't know where your going to end up the next day. It could work out good or it could be disastrous. It's like the throw of the dice."

- Jim Morrison

Just for kicks

Just for kicks, as I was doing some on-line information gathering, I ran across and responded to this.

Associate Marketing Manager

Location(s): El Segundo CA


At Mattel, we have a vision to be The World's Premier Toy Brands - Today and Tomorrow. We will achieve this vision because our people are creative and energetic, thriving on innovation and passion for the business. Mattel is committed to supporting and developing employees and their career goals with a host of meaningful advantages and opportunities, including development through our global Leadership Development Center, tuition reimbursement, on-site childcare, and a fitness and recreation center. As the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products, including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, American Girl® and Fisher-Price®, Mattel is not only one of the best places to work, it's also a lot of fun. If you're as excited about the future as we are, consider this opportunity.


This position is within the Mattel Entertainment Division. It supports both DVD marketing and live entertainment projects, and is entrepreneurial in nature. Specific responsibilities include:

1. The development and execution of marketing plans for direct-to-DVD initiatives for Mattel Entertainment properties.
2. The management and coordination of Live Entertainment marketing and Costume Character Appearances.


Collect and analyze all relevant entertainment, marketing and brand research studies and provide insights and/or recommendations to Entertainment Marketing.

Identify prospective live entertainment production companies and offer recommendations to Sr. Producer, WW Live Entertainment.

First review of all creative approvals submitted by licensed Live Entertainment partners, with recommendations to Sr. Producer, WW Live Entertainment. Includes all creative submissions for scripts, music, costumes, sets, props and licensed show-specific merchandise.

Day-to-day communication and management of entertainment license relationships, including details related to DVD product, packaging, and marketing assets approvals.

Manage all incoming requests, approvals and global scheduling for Mattel Property Character Appearances, being 'first-point-of-contact' in all communication between Mattel and licensed Costume Management Company.

Working with Mattel internal divisions to recommend and manage Live Entertainment strategies for marketing, press and PR for all Mattel live entertainment productions.

Track all planned Live Entertainment events by recording dates and venues in the Mattel Worldwide Live Entertainment Calendar.

Assist the Marketing Director in worldwide marketing plans executed for DVD releases.

Develop key entertainment marketing presentations and manage key meetings with external partners including bi-annual international summits.


Experience in live theatre and/or event production and a demonstrated ability to manage a licensed creative team. Live production marketing and PR a strong plus.

Solid skills in the following areas: interpersonal, organizational, teamwork, communication and presentation.

Proficiency with MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint is also essential.


The ideal candidate will be self-sufficient, confident and passionate about the role. Must have the ability to be detail-oriented with strong project management skills and good at no-fail follow-through. Must be confident and outgoing with the ability to deal with and resolve conflict with a capacity for suggesting well-reasoned solutions within an atmosphere of passionate and creative egos. Should enjoy working in a dynamic and fast-paced environment.


Bachelor's Degree

Mattel is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer

M/F/V/D Mattel is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer



They wanted me to upload a resume. To this day I have never ever had a resume. So, I sent this this simple response to see what might happen.

Tom Frank "I'm your guy"

Call me 323.683.5844

Owned Magic Shops & Toy Stores. Spent years as a corporate motivational entertainer. Know Business & Entertainment. Went to China, manufactured, marketed and sold collectible magic tricks. Spent early part of career in the theme park industry, know costumed character program and can conceive, organize and manage events and promotions.

Just moved here from Seattle and looking for the right opportunity to sink my experience and enthusiasm into.

It's worth a meeting. You will be surprised what we can do!

Tom Frank

"If" by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or Treat



I can't get around it, I miss my kids. Hell, I miss the kid that lives in the same house. Not sure where he went, but hope to see him again someday. He's here. . . but he's not. Emotionally vacant, real shame but largely out of my control. God grand me the serenity. . .

I used to love to take my little kids trick or treating. In three days my son Max will turn 10 years old. "Big double digits", as my dad would say. Max won't talk to me on the phone. I don't know what to get for his birthday. I call every week but haven't talked to him for months. He is becoming a stranger to me. I thought about writing a story for him, with him as the central character.

It would be nice if Moira would send me a picture of the kids in their costumes. Why do I do this to myself? Stop it right now! Life is good, later this afternoon I'll hit a bucket of balls and take a hike. Tonight I'll work the Promenade and see if I can't perform some tricks, for some treats

More o my peeps on the Promenade

I was pleasantly surprised to see Danny (aka Sylvester the Jester) and his girlfriend Sharon at the Promenade last night. They had been doing some shopping in Santa Monica and were trying to sit out rush hour in the cool fall ocean breeze of the Promenade. I had been entertaining for an hour or so and was ready to take a break. We got a bite to eat and had a good chat. We talked about our recent trip to Vegas, opening up for The Amazing Johnathan at the Sahara. That sure was a blast. I was off so quickly to Cleveland after Vegas that I never really go to tell the full story of how my being there, caused a union complication and the implementation of a bizarre union (and by the way readers. . . this is the same union that Polly is a member of) contactual stipulation that now gave me a "Shadow". The question was why was I bringing on Dan's props and not a union guy. It was later identified that I was an "actor" playing the part of a crew/union guy. As such, it was acknowledged, that the scripted bits that I was a part of (carrying on / or off props), was my responsibility, but when the bit was over the "shadow" would take them the rest of the way off the stage

The whole thing (in my opinion) was the result of a disgruntled union sound guy, who happened to be the union steward. He had a bit of a chip on his shoulder because he doesn't like the fact that Johnathan will start his show when he is ready. That might be 10 minutes late. . . it might be 20 or 30. (While I was there it was consistently 10 min. late, an appropriate amount of time to increase tension and make the audience want to see the act.

Bla Bla Bla, fast forward to the brief meetings I'm having with a silver haired guy from the hotel with a nice smile and a baseball bat and another union guy. I assured them that I couldn't be happier with the new arrangement, and that I liked my legs just the way they were. So this is how it works. Bottom line was Johnathan had no recourse. The 40 year old union contract was with the Sahara Hotel & Casino. They pay Johnathan. They deduct the new expense, of a shadow, for 6 performances and he eats that. One of the many things I learned and absorbed whie on that trip.

If I get around to it, and can find my notes, I'll post about a VERY interesting several day discussion about the "Creative Process". We compared and contrasted the differences in his (Dan's), Johnathan's and Kevin James's technique, attitude and process in creating new ideas / material. Having known Danny for 25 years and having lived with him for two, it goes without saying that I am one of his biggest fans. He never ceases to amaze me, whether he's fixing a dohickeee, drawing, painting, writing poetry or fixing a car, he inspires me on every level. I'm lucky to call him one of my closest friends.


This picture was taken at 2:50AM at the end of the day. Danny making repairs to his digital sound vest.

From the archives • Last years Hallowen Rope Escape



Watch Video • Click Here

Happy Halloween • BOO!!!!


Monday, October 30, 2006


Ran into Gazzo at the Promenade yesterday. He wasn't working, but watched my act. Although Gazzo and I don't really know each other that well, we've spoken many times over the years and had a killer session at the Alki Beach Magic Studio in Seattle, last year.

He'll be working the Castle from the 6th - the 13th of November. I plan on going a couple times that week to catch his act. If anyone reading this wants to meet there for an evening of wierdness, let me know. . . the more the merrier.

I hope it goes without saying, that I have the utmost respect for Gazzo and his acomplishments in the art. For those of you who don't know, street performing is one of the hardest things to do. . . well there is that childbirth thing and let's not forget kidney stones. But really, to make a career as a busker and live to tell about. . . I take my hat off to you. . you limey fuck.

Saturday Night • The Avalon Ball


We left the house around 4PM on Saturday. It was going to be about an hour drive to get to Long Beach where we would catch a boat to Catalina Island. We passed the Queen Mary on the hour boat ride to the Ball.

We enjoyed a cocktail and each others company on the boat as we stared into each others eyes.


Here we are at the ball. We arrived fashionably late and didn't waste anytime getting into the swing of things. We danced, we drank we kissed. When we got too hot from dancing we went outside and enjoyed the cool evening air and the beautiful sights of the bay.


All in all a great evening with my sweetie. Definitely a must do for next year. We might stay on Catalina next year or at least make a whole day of it.

We saw some great dancing, listened to some of our favorite big band standards and just had a perfectly delightful evening. Lots of hats, tuxedo's, sparkly dresses and cigars. My kind of evening! Thanks Polly!


Andrew Goldenhersh

Andrew Goldenhersh was at the Third Street Promenade recently and caught my act. We had met at a couple of conventions and spoke once on the phone, but I can't really say that I know him. I hear good things about his act and hope to catch it soon.

That's one of the rarely talked about benefits of street performing. You get to meet neat people who just happen to be walking by. People you know. . . people you don't know. . . but know you. Interesting folks all a part of this wild, wacky and wonderful world.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Harry Houdini Was a Spy, Biography Claims

Authors Say Spiritualists May Have Arranged Attack That Led to His Death


NEW YORK (Oct. 28) - Eighty years after his death, the name Harry Houdini remains synonymous with escape under the most dire circumstances. But Houdini, the immigrants' son whose death-defying career made him one of the world's biggest stars, was more than a mere entertainer.

A new biography of the legendary performer, who was born to a Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary, in 1874, suggests that Houdini worked as a spy for Scotland Yard, monitored Russian anarchists and chased counterfeiters for the U.S. Secret Service - all before he was possibly murdered.

"The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero" will be released on Halloween, Oct. 31 - the anniversary of Houdini's untimely death at age 52. Chasing new information on the elusive superstar eventually led authors William Kalush and Larry Sloman to create a database of more than 700,000 pages.

"There's no way in the world we could have done this book without it," said Sloman of the huge electronic index. "It would have taken 30 years - maybe."

The biography lays out a scenario where Houdini, using his career as cover, managed to travel the United States and the world while collecting information for law enforcement. The authors made the link after reviewing a journal belonging to William Melville, a British spy master who mentioned Houdini several times.

Melville, while at Scotland Yard in the early 20th century, helped launch Houdini's European career by allowing the performer to demonstrate his escape skills. Houdini, at a demonstration arranged by Melville, slipped free from a pair of Scotland Yard handcuffs as an audition for a London theater owner.

The book suggests that Melville's compliance was part of a quid pro quo in which Houdini worked as a spy. A similar situation occurred in Chicago, where Houdini's career took off after a publicity stunt aided by a local police lieutenant, the book said.

"Finding the Melville diary - we knew there was a connection, we knew there was something there," said Kalush. "But finding that diary solidified a lot of other things."

No less a Houdini enthusiast than Teller - the mute half of Penn and Teller, and one of the legendary performer's spiritual descendants - felt the link between the escape artist and the authorities was no leap.

"Law enforcement is about bureaucracy and cronyism," Teller said. "So they're going to let some entertainer walk in and escape from their jail cells? That suggests to me that (the authors) are on the right track."

Houdini was a relentless self-promoter in the style of P.T. Barnum, although he didn't play his audience for suckers. The biography recounts one 1902 escape, in Blackburn, England, where Houdini refused to surrender despite the use of plugged locks that made his freedom almost impossible.

After two hours, Houdini escaped to a standing ovation. The next day his arms were "hideously blue and swollen, with large chunks of flesh torn out," the book recounts. Because of the way the chains and rigged locks were fastened, Houdini "had no choice but to tear out the chunks of his flesh to get free."

That's entertainment.

Houdini's renown was such that he was known around the world by a single name long before Sting or Madonna.

"We know Houdini was a hero," said Sloman. "He could get out of anything - which was a myth, of course."

Kalush said the myth eventually overshadowed the man. "It's part of us: He's a human, I'm a human, he can beat anything, so maybe I can beat some things," Kalush said.

The biography's other hook is the suggestion that Houdini's relentless debunking of the Spiritualist movement, whose proponents included "Sherlock Holmes" author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, led to his death. The group believed they could contact the dead; Houdini believed they were frauds.

Houdini, at the turn of the century, joined his wife Bess - "The Celebrated Clairvoyant" - in presenting a trumped-up act in which he worked as the barker and she as the medium. But Houdini eventually crossed over to the other side, exposing phony mediums much as he had once exposed copycat escape artists.

"I like the way that Houdini comes off as a real tough guy, which is no doubt true," said Teller. "He's not afraid to show up at somebody else's performance and scream, `This is my act you're doing. Why don't you try this trick?'

"That's a rough and tumble thing you'll never see a modern magician do."

The authors recount a pair of October 1926 incidents in which Houdini was viciously punched in the stomach, once by a college student in his dressing room and later by a stranger in a hotel lobby.

Houdini - the book suggests the Spiritualists may have arranged the attacks - died days later in Room 401 at Grace Hospital in Detroit. His aura of invincibility seemed over. But as the authors discovered, it still lives on today.

"He's compelling because of that myth, that he could not be restrained by anything," said Sloman. "The more successful he was, the more he became a symbol of the lone man resisting authority."