Orson Welles performing the “Broomstick Suspension” magic trick with Lucille Ball during the filming of the I Love Lucy episode, “Lucy Meets Orson Welles” (1956)
“I’ve never had a friend in my life who wanted to see a magic trick, you know. I don’t know anybody who wants to see a magic trick. So I do it professionally; it’s the only way I get to perform.
I went once to a birthday party for [MGM boss] Louis B. Mayer with a rabbit in my pocket which I was going to take out of his hat. On came Judy Garland and Danny Kaye and Danny Thomas and everybody you ever heard of and then Al Jolson sang for two hours and my rabbit was peeing all over me, you know. And the dawn was starting to rise over the Hillcrest Country Club as we said goodnight to Louis B. Mayer and nobody’d asked me to do a magic trick. So the rabbit and I went home.”
-Welles, in the 1982 documentary The Orson Welles Story
What’s that about Magic Shows, Mr. Welles?