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The Illustrated History of Quick Change – A proposed book project

I began working on this book project in the early 1970’s..probably around 1973. I have a letter from famed magician/historian Jay Marshall dated 1978. I had inquired to see if he had any ‘quick change’ material I could use for my research.

Letter from Jay Marshall

I had basically given up on the project in late 1981 and put all my research in a box. Dishearted by the lack of awareness people had about this act. It seemed like I was one of maybe 50 people that knew what the ‘Quick Change‘ act was.

I just found this box of research in my storage unit! Almost 35 year later! It is massive! I worked on the book for quite a few years. Contacting libraries and archives all over the world to obtain photographs/letters/articles/reviews about these artists during their ‘heyday’ in the vaudeville times.

Palace Theater Program

Here is the program from The Palace Theater in May of 1913. The 6th act (F) on the program is quick change artist Owen McGiveney.

Notice the 4th act on the bill is W.C Fields. Quick change artist shared the bill with some outstanding performers in their time.

As you can see from this photograph my research didn’t only include quick change. Here is a photograph of the ‘future site of the Palace Theater‘.

img005“On This Site Will be Erected THE PALACE THEATRE”

One of the many quick-change artists that were performing in vaudeville was ‘The Great La Follette“.

The Great La Follette

I am posting a few items from my research. I am beginning work on a book.

Quick Change in American Vaudeville

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Here is an artist rendering of the great Proctor’s 23rd Street Theatre.

Proctor's 23rd Street Theatre

Proctor’s 23rd Street Theatre (previously located between 6th and 7th Avenue)

Here are a few of my previous Vaudevisual postings on Quick Change.

Michael McGiveney

Mr. Hymack – Quentin McPhearson

The Great Lafayette

Henri DeVries


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Here is a YouTube video made from film transfer of Owen McGiveney in 1928. 

Here is a YouTube video of his son Michael McGiveney doing his father’s act on the TV show “I’ve Got a Secret” in 1950.

(Michael used his father’s name with Jr. in the beginning of his ‘quick change’ career. More about that in my book!)

Here is a recent (Feb 2016) Ted talk in Pompeii by the wonderful Italian Quick Change artist Arturo Brachetti.

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Tribute to Tom Murrin – aka The Alien Comic

When I first became aware of Tom Murrin and his ‘aka’ The Alien Comic he had been performing for many years.

His work in the ‘performance art’ community is very significant and he has many admirers and friends to prove it.

This is a photograph I took of Tom at Dixon Place when it was located on East 1st Street.

Tom Murrin performing at Dixon Place in the alternate persona “The Alien Comic”.

I got to know Tom and as my work developed I began doing interviews with performers I liked.

Here is an interview broken into two parts that I did with Tom on Oct. 10th, 2008.

Part 2


In this last year I photographed many of Tom’s show and always had trouble focusing my camera because I really wanted to listen and absorb Tom’s delightful, heartfelt, political, funny, intelligent and aspiring stories.

Here are  few shots I did in the last year during Tom’s shows.

Tom Murrin performing in the Full Moon Show at LaMama


Everyone I  know who knew TOM MURRIN will miss him dearly. His love for the art, community, friends and family are still with us.

Thank you Tom Murrin



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New York Times Obit for Tom Murrin