The Great Shoedini was one of America’s top magicians in the 1950’s and 60’s. Shoedini was known for his one-of-a-kind illusions and sleight-of-foot.
Larry Shoedini, born Laurence Scarosso in 1930, was raised in a low-income neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. He was the son of a cobbler. After a troublesome time in school, Scarosso was given the boot and decided to join the army where he started learning small magic tricks. Known for his high-spirits, Scarosso’s tricks helped boost morale in his fellow soldiers.
Later leaving the military, Scarosso started looking for a job he was more passionate about. His calling came when he least expected it: while wandering through an estate sale. Scarosso discovered a pair of blue shoes which had an immediate appeal on him and quickly purchased them for just five dollars.
Scarosso quickly learned that these shoes allowed him to perform amazing miracles even he couldn’t comprehend. And so The Great Shoedini was born!
Larry originally gained popularity in 1951 when he spent 72 days in a giant shoe in New York City without food, water, or fresh air. Shoedini temporarily lost his sense of smell during the feat.
A Tonight Show appearance in 1954 really brought Shoedini into the public spotlight. Shoedini started his world tour, named “One Size Fits All”, in late 1954. By 1959, Shoedini had began his exclusive second world tour named “If The Shoe Fits”.
Larry always performed with a kind heart and a sly smile – many even accused him of selling his sole in exchange for the blue shoes in a deal with the devil.
Shoedini took a short hiatus from magic in 1967 after a bad case of foot fungus. Shoedini revamped his career when he opened for the Monkees tour throughout 1968.
Larry later fell in love with his podiatrist’s secretary, Beth, and were married six months later. Beth assisted Shoedini with his tour, performing both onstage as an assistant and backstage helping to cover up their footprints.
After three tours around the world by 1980, the Shoedinis were worn out. The Shoedinis bought a home in Great Falls, Virginia in 1984 and live there to this day. Now 87, Shoedini lives a quiet life with Beth but says they are both still kicking!
In 2010, Shoedini decided to pass his blue shoes on to the next generation of magicians. A young man from Virginia was gifted the magical blue shoes to amaze and entertain audiences. His name is Drew Blue Shoes.