Pat Collins — “The Hip Hypnotist”

There have been many famous male stage hypnotists in the 20th Century, including Walford Bodie, Franz Polgar, Ormond McGill and Gil Boyne, but there has only been one female stage hypnotist with an equal amount of fame then.

That hypnotist was Pat Collins — “The Hyp Hypnotist”.

No one did more to popularize hypnosis in general and stage hypnosis in particular in the 60’s than Pat Collins, the “Hip” Hypnotist. She made frequent appearances in TV series, talk shows, game shows and movies in the 60’s, then did two specials for the Showtime cable channel in the 70’s and 80’s, as well as having a nightclub of her own on the famous Los Angeles Sunset Strip and in Reno, Nevada, at such casinos as the MGM Grand and Harrah’s.

(Maelene Collins-Grenat, Pat Collins’ daughter)“Pat Collins did her performance in the early 60’s at clubs until she opened her own club on the Sunset strip at the corner of Sunset and Doheny next to Gil Turners Liquor, where she did her show and also held self hypnosis classes. Then in the early 80’s she closed the club and moved to Reno NV and performed at the MGM and in Tahoe. She only did a brief appearance in Las Vegas about 1981. She appeared on almost every talk show you can think of from late 60’s through the 70’s. ( I would love to have copies of them if any one has one) She played her self in Divorce American Style, The Lucy Show, & an episode of the Bill Dana Show. She played a caricature called BABS IVAR in an episode of the Honey West Show. She was also on an episode of Whats My Line and a show called No Time for Seargents. She made 2 record albums [Turn On!] and another called “Sleep With Pat Collins”. She never did a TV show although it would have been great. I am sure that she was concerned about people thinking it was rigged. She became ill and in her 60’s decided to stop performing and moved back to Southern California where she passed in 1997.

History: Pat learned hypnosis after she had been cured by a psychiatrist of a case of hysterical paralysis through hypnosis. Her teacher was stage hypnotist Trione Boyer (real name Traian Ted Boyer), who was performing at the Club Cairo on North Sheridan in Chicago. Pat got herself an agent and started working clubs in the Midwest, then made the jump to Los Angeles.

Her agent made a deal with the owners of The Interlude, a nightclub on the famed Sunset Strip, andw oudl eventually open her own night club at the corner of Sunset and Doheny next to Gil Turners Liquor store in LA. She probably wasn’t the first female stage hypnotist in town, but her talent, skill and personality more than equaled any competitors, female or male. She was such a sensation that stars flocked to her show, even appearing in it, such as actor Lloyd Bridges (of “Sea Hunt”), who was hypnotized into believing he was swimming underwater through the audience. In addition to Los Angeles, she played the such cities as New York and Las Vegas.

She appeared on many TV programs over the years, mostly situation comedies, where hypnosis was always part of the comedy in that episode.

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  • “The Bill Dana Show” The Hypnotist’ — Bill Dana’s character Jose Jimenez wants to have a better working relationship with his boss Mr. Phillips (played Jonathan Harris). Pat Collins is playing at the hotel and offers to help, with the expected comedic results.
  • “Change of Mind” — The only information I can find is that she probably appeared in a small part.
  • “Hollywood Squares” — Guest appearance as one of the celebrities in the “squares” from July 10 to July 14, 1967.
  • “Honey West” ‘The Grey Lady — Pat played a hypnotist under the name of Babs Ivar.
  • “I’ve Got a Secret” — One of the most successful quiz shows from the 50’s and 60’s, it was brought back to the small screen for two months in 1976. Pat Collins was one of the panelists, which also included Henry Morgan, Richard Dawson, and Elaine Joyce.
  • “The Lucy Show”  ‘Lucy and Pat Collins’ — Lucy’s boss (Gail Gordon) can’t sleep so Lucy convinces him to attend one of Pat Collins’ performances, where they both are on stage as part of her act. After the act is over, Pat leaves Gail Gordon a post-hypnotic suggestion and, disbelieving that it works, triggers it and falls completely asleep.
  • “Starlost”  ‘The Implant People’
  • “No Time for Sergeants” ‘Two Aces in the Hole’ — Stage hypnotist Pat performs at the US Army Ai Force base after WW II: two servicemen watch the performance backstage and are accidentally hypnotized into becoming WW II bomber pilots. They take a bomber up with the intent of bombing Germany but when they’re conscious, they forget how to pilot the plane.
  • “Playboy After Dark” (1969)
  • “What’s My Line?”  (1961) — She appeared as a contestant just about the time she was getting started in the business.

Later she would do programs for the cable network Showtime. One was at the nightclub in LA, and another was taped in Los Vegas.

She also appeared in the movie “Divorce, American Style” as herself in a scene where she hypnotizes Debbie Reynolds as part of her stage act. Debbie is at the nightclub with her date; Dick van Dyke is also in attendance. As part of the act, Debbie is given a hypnotic suggestion to go out into the audience and give the man she truly loves a passionate kiss. Her date is in for a big surprise when Debbie heads straight to Dick instead! Also, according to the IMDb, she also contributed the song ‘Let’s Fall in Love’ which she sings during part of the stage performance for the movie soundtrack.

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She also recorded two records, one from one night’s performance entitled “Sleep With Pat Collins” and one of her singing entitled “Turn On!”. “Sleep With Pat Collins” is a recording of one of her stage hypnosis shows, “recorded live at the world famous Interlude on Sunset Strip, Hollywood.” “Turn On!” consists of what could be considered a pre-talk on the front side and five songs on the back side, including ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ and ‘Goin’ Out Of My Head’.

But more than just a stage hypnotist, she also taught self-hypnosis to celebrities and audience members alike. She was friends with such Hollyw0od celebrities as Lucille Ball, Robert Wagner, Ed Begley Sr. and many others, and her students included Olympic skater Dorothy Hamill. She taught pitching great Sandy Koufax how to reduce his smoking habit.

Pat Collins died in San Bernadino, California, on May 31, 1997, from the effects of a stroke. She was 62.

Commentary: Pat’s charisma and reputation was such that she would often have to wear her trademark glasses in public because of the common misconception about hypnosis and the eyes of a hypnotist. (She joked in the episode of “The Lucy Show” that she would rather have people staring at her eyes than further down at her breasts.) Even among friends such as Roddy McDowell there were times when they would fall into a trance just by being in her presence.

Trivia:

  • She was such a sensation that, when in New York, she was photographed for Life Magazine (May 8, 1964) at one of her live performances. During the performance, the photographer paid a little too much attention to Pat’s eyes and wound up being hypnotized. He would spend the rest of the shoot in a trance.
  • When shooting the episode of “The Lucy Show” Lucy, hypnotized, originally responded to Pat’s query of who she was by saying something to the effect that she was Lucile Ball and she owned this show. Pat had to apply some creative suggestions to get Lucy to act in character under hypnosis to procede with taping.

References:

  • Variety magazine obituary
  • Pat Collins Facebook tribute page
  • Reno stage hypnotist Chris Cady reminisces about Pat Collins.
  • Time Magazine article on Pat Collins
  • IMDb entry for Pat Collins
  • Biography notes on Pat Collins
  • Cotton Candy Truan blog entry on Pat Collins
  • Doing Hard Time in Shaker Heights blog entry on Pat Collins
  • Beauty and the Bouffant blog entry on Pat Collins

{Thanks to Gil Boyne for his remembrances, posted in the “alt.hypnosis” newsgroup, in memorial of Pal Collins’ birthday. Gil says that he used to bring his students to see Pat’s shows, and that Pat would refer people who came to her for professional assistance to Gil.}

Updated: September 15, 2011

Updated to correct the name of Traian Ted Boyer (from his granddaughter.)

3 Responses to “Pat Collins — “The Hip Hypnotist””

  • jack wright says:

     
    Right after August 19, 1967 I had just gotten back from Vietnam. A close friend took me to the LA Playboy Club (my first and only time)
    When Pat called for volunteers from the audience my buddies insisted that I go up. So, I did. After working with a group of us she eliminated all the others on stage because I was the easiest to hypnotize. She put me under and did several tricks with me as part of her show. 

  • Kelli says:

    Hi… I just wanted to clear something up that is very important to me ;)  In the above article you mention my Grandfather’s name:
     “Her teacher was stage hypnotist Trione Boyer (real name Ted Boyer)“
    His complete “real” name is “Traian Ted Boyer”  
    Very interesting article. … Thank you :D

  • Kelli says:

    Hi… I just wanted to clear something up that is very important to me ;)  In the above article you mention my Grandfather’s name:
     “Her teacher was stage hypnotist Trione Boyer (real name Ted Boyer)“
    His complete “real” name is “Traian Ted Boyer”  
    Very interesting article. … Thank you :D

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