One job in the early 80s springs to mind whenever stage hypnosis comes up in conversation. We were hired to film a show at the Glasgow Pavillion for hypnotist Robert Halpern, who successfully managed to pack out this famous theatre night after night every time his run of shows came to Glasgow. His act was highly entertaining from the instant he landed on stage in his space ship through to the tense finale where he entered a trance before being hanged on stage using gallows operated by an audience member.
We filmed his show on seven unmatched cameras, covering all angles and each recording independently. We didn’t have talk back and there was no live mix so the final edit was a mammoth task. Two machine editing meant that all seven tapes had to be looked at before the best shot was selected, synched up, and video-inserted into the master tape which contained the mixed down audio tracks. Such a huge amount of work!
The show itself was hilarious and Mr Halpern had a wonderful rapport with his Glasgow audience, many of whom were regular visitors to his show when he brought it to town. We also got the feeling that many of the hypnotised people on stage, doing all sorts of bizarre things that were suggested to them, were regulars too. After all, anyone who appeared on stage and missed the show through being hypnotised were given complimentary tickets for another visit.
It made perfect sense that, on the night of filming, Robert Halpern would be working with the most outrageous cast. One particularly entertaining guest on stage was a guy called Edmond. He was dressed head to toe in a brown corduroy suit, had long straggly hair and wasn’t likely to be sending an application form to join Mensa any time soon. Poor Edmond, recently sacked from his job as a grave digger, seemed to have earned himself a major role in every scenario but, other than the hypnotist, he truly was the star of the show. Wonder what ever became of Edmond.
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