Gene Poinc, Recollections by Larry White.
I became a devote fan of Gene Poinc well before I ever met him. His ultra-original cartoons and zany descriptions of tricks were a highlight on the early issues of GENII Magazine. His style and creative writings were unmistakable. But, for reasons I did not know at the time his presence vanished from that magazine and I, like many, assumed Gene had departed this world. So it was one of the most unexpected things in my life when, so many years later, Eugene Jerome Poinc entered my life and became one of my best and dearest friends.
But first things first. Although I did not know him during his GENII years he shared those years with me and the ones that followed. His life, as you shall read, was a roller coaster ride carrying him from the peak of excitement to the depths of despair. Let me start by introducing you to the "pre-Larry White" years as he told them to me.
Eugene Poinc was a High School chum of Milt Larsen. This explains his entrance into the field of magic. Milt Larsen, as most know, would later go on to build Hollywood's Magic Castle along with his brother, Bill Larsen Jr. Their father, Bill Larsen Senior was the founder/editor of GENII magazine. Bill needed an illustration drawn for a trick he wanted to publish that used a rubber band. Milt suggested that Gene, who had a talent for art, might do it. Gene did the drawing and gave it to Milt to give his father. Bill surprised Gene by asking him to come into the office. Gene was terrified, thinking he had done something wrong. When he arrived, trembling, Bill Larsen told Gene his drawing was so good he should sign his name to it like a piece of art. This was one of the very high points in the young Poinc life. And, for those who have seen his work, you know that, from that moment on, Gene signed practically EVERY piece of art he did, even rough pencil sketches. When Bill Larsen died Bill Jr. became Editor of GENII. Not surprising he invited Gene to became a regular contributor. This close tie with the Larsens lasted until the death of Bill Jr. Then the new editor gave GENII a face-lift which excluded Gene's "old" style and, in time, Gene was all but forgotten.
Gene responded to this by retreating to his Hollywood apartment which he lovingly referred to as his "cave." There he surrounded himself with objects that interested him and these objects, rather than people, became his "friends." His interests, and therefore the objects were diverse. He accumulated a number of antiques, a fine collection of minerals and fossils, fine artwork... plus bizarre items like his table with lady's (mannequin) legs, a human skeleton, a coffin, full size cut-outs of his two favorite women -- Xena the Warrior Princess and Elvira, Queen of the Night, among many other oddities. Without question, his most treasured possession was the hand of a 2,000 year old Egyptian mummy which, I am honored to say, he left to me in his will.
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