The Rutledge Memory
I want to take this opportunity to tell of my respect and love for Ned. I had bought most of his effects, starting with his Unusual, Dice Telekinesis. That was in the 1960's. I have never met him nor did I know what he looked like, but I knew that I liked his thinking. It had effected my own and shaped the way I preformed. One of his effects, Voice Print, had found it's way into my Houdini Seance at the Magic Castle in Hollywood where I was the first medium. When the publisher and editor of Seance Magazine, Scott Davis, ask me to outline what I did in the show, one of the effects was Voice Print. Scott felt that he had to ask Ned's permission before he used it in the article. Ned had been out of the"lime light" for some time and was, he said, unaware that anyone remembered his stuff. Little did he know that they were among the most used and respected. Scott talked Ned into, not only joining the Psychic Entertainers Association (PEA), but into coming to the next yearly convention called The Meeting of the Minds. I had been ask to attend the Invocational in Chicago, however when I heard that Ned was coming to the PEA convention, there was no choice , the Meeting of the Minds won. I was standing near the bottom of the escalator in the hotel which was near the "sign-in" for the convention. I saw this tall, good looking man with a beautiful lady on his arm, coming down to where I was standing. I walked over to see if I could help. I had planned and rehearsed what I would say to Ned when I met him. As this couple approached me I ask,." Can I help you? Yes", he replied, "Where do I sign in?" "May I ask your name? Ned Rutledge", he replied. With that all decorum on my part when out the window. I through my arms around his neck and made a total fool of myself. He just laughed. I introduced myself after regained my composure. He explained that he had been looking for me as I was the reason he was there. We spent the next few days of the convention talking and getting to know each other. I would go through his effects as if I had the props in my hands. I went through Minding The Store, Strike Three and Time and Money. Ned shouted over at some passers by of the convention and said, "Look at this, he can do my effects without the props better than I do with them." I was elated. And so was started a friendship that lasted until his death. In 1995 I retired from 20th Century Fox where I had worked for 30 years. My wife, Bobbi, and I took our Bounder RV and started a grand tour. We were seeing friends and relatives along the way. We stopped in Hanover and parked in Ned's backyard. He owned a big farm which he leased out to the next door neighbor to work. He was "The Voice of Hanover" in PA. on the local radio station. A post he had for over 50 years at the time of his death. People even over in Gettysburg knew his name. How wide his fame and listener ship went I have no idea, but it was far. We spent that week with him and almost got him to come to Docc Hilford's Weeird Weekend as an honored guest. However his true nature came through. That is, that he was humble and didn't want a great big fuss made of him. He was just one of the gang. He went through all of his old papers and gave me the original drafts of many of his effects. They are on yellow paper and have his line outs in black sharpie marker.
Some time later we shamed him, we thought, into writing a book of his effects. He ask Lee Fried and me to send some of the effects so he could refresh his mind by seeing the real prop. We did as he ask. I say we thought we had shamed him, but this was not the case. Little did we know that he had Cancer and wanted to get it done before he died. He had lost one of his wives to Cancer and as I look back now I think he didn't trust doctors. He was into health and vitamin pills and read all he could find on the subject. He told much of this, to his listeners, on his radio show.
We found out after his death about his cancer. His son went with him to an Island in the Caribbean. There he stayed by his side until his passing. I think Ned thought he could get medication there he couldn't get here in the States.
I was greatly sorrowed at his passing. In the field of psychic entertainment I will do my part to see that he will be long remembered. I didn't get a chance to say good bye, my dear friend, so may I say now that I hope you are asleep with the angels. May God hold your hand steady so you can use a nailwriter.