The Amazing Randi, or James Randi was born in 1928 as Randall James Hamilton Zwinge.
He was hired by the Coopers to design the tour special effects and toured with the Alice Cooper group on the 'Billion Dollar Babies' and 'Billion Dollar Babies Holiday' tours (any others?). He played the mad dentist in 'Unfinished Sweet' and the executioner during 'I Love the Dead'. He was quite peeved that he wasn't given first dibs at being Santa on the holiday tour until someone explained why Bob Greene was along on the tour.
The agreement between Amazing Randi & Alive Enterprises was for 3 illusions. One was possibly a "Buzzsaw Illusion" that was never used.
One was not the Guillotine, and the other illusions weren't used in the show. There were probably later contracts for other Illusions.
More info about Randi can be found at his website.
Here's the exact dialog off the CompuServe conference with the Amazing Randi:
Mr Randi: Was the guillotine you designed for Alice Cooper based on the design of Will Rock? Have you ever seen Will Rock's show? If so, any thoughts on it?
(James Randi) Yes, that was the Will Rock guillotine. That won't mean much to the uninformed, but I'll say it anyway. Great trick. No, I never saw Rock's show.
GAMr. Randi: What was the strangest thing you witnessed (or participated in) during your time touring with the Alice Cooper group in 1973 (on stage or otherwise)?
(James Randi) During the Cooper show, we put on Bob Greene (who wrote a whole book about it) mercilessly. He believed everything we let him discover. It was hilarious.
And here's another quote from Randi.org where Randi relates a life changing event from the Billion Dollar Babies tour in '73
In fact, that's the reason that in 1987, a Canadian citizen living in the USA, I applied to take US citizenship. That was brought about by an earlier unpleasant event. In 1973, I'd been touring with the Alice Cooper "Billion Dollar Babies" show, and while in Niagara Falls, Canada, I discovered something about my country that both disappointed me and brought about my decision to become an American. In mid-show, going backstage to change my costume at the locker-room where we'd been placed at the venue, I found a group of thugs prying open lockers and throwing personal belongings — including my own — in every direction. The destruction was heavy, and I of course objected strongly. I was backed up against a wall — at gunpoint — and told that I had no right to be there. I was escorted out of the building.
No, I couldn't object to the law. That was the law. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) — the equivalent in Canada to the FBI in the USA — were searching the artists' property for evidence of drugs while those artists were supposed to be onstage, and though they found nothing, they destroyed that property and simply left all the trash where they'd thrown it. I was able to get back into the building, unseen by the police, through a side entrance, and I hastened onstage on cue, though not garbed as I should have been. The following day I arose early and went to the local newspaper office. After much shuffling back and forth, I got to see a feature writer and explained what had happened the previous night. The reaction was a surprise: I was clearly informed that the newspaper wanted no trouble with the RCMP, that the story was already written, that the police action was not part of that story, and that I had better treat the situation as a learning experience. I'm a quick learner. I chose to be an American.
(James Randi, www.randi.org, July 2005)
Since that time he has used his expertise in "debunking the claims of the paranormal community and exposing the tricks that charlatans use. His use of scientific techniques in many disciplines has contributed to the refutation of suspicious and fraudulent claims of paranormal results."
From The Time (2003?)
Psychics v skeptic
BY ANJANA AHUJA
Does the paranormal exist or is it a giant hoax? We talk to two major antagonists in the battle
THE elderly, hunched figure shuffles out from behind a black curtain and declares to the audience that he can feel the spiritual strength in the hot London studio. Adam Jersin throws out a succession of names given to him by characters badgering him from the spiritual world, eager to make contact with loved ones in the 200-strong crowd. Rebecca, Louise, Pete and Don - "or could it be Dawn or Donny?" - elicit no response. He is picking up unearthly messages about a Pete falling down by a pub and being taken away by ambulance.
Jersin tries to coax the resolutely silent audience into life. "I'm sure there's a Rebecca in the audience," he repeats plaintively, as he complains that the equipment in the studio might be jamming his delicate celestial communication channels.
In fact, the experiment is over before it begins. A large proportion of the audience is not reticent but angry. Jersin has been clocked. Adam Jersin is James Randi, the increasingly famous, notoriously abrasive, self-styled "investigator of unusual claims" more often described as a debunker of paranormal phenomena. The 75-year-old Randi - Adam Jersin is an anagram - is a professional magician and the sworn enemy of mystics who claim paranormal powers. There is, he says, no firm evidence to back their claims - and he offers $1 million to anyone who can prove the contrary.