When I was a kid, in preparation for take your Dad to school day, our teacher asked one kid, “What does your father do for a living? He said, “He’s a magician”. The teacher asked him what his Dad’s favorite trick was. He said “When he cuts people in two”. Then she asked, “How many brothers and sisters do you have”? The kid said, “One half-brother and one half-sister”.
Magicians are mysterious people. At least the good ones are. We’ve all had a Grandpa who would pull a quarter out of our ear, or make it appear as if they were actually separating one of his thumbs. Or the guy who can do simple card tricks.
Gramps may be strange, but not like professional magicians. These guys kind of freak me out. They can do all sorts of seemingly impossible illusions. I watched David Copperfield make a Lear jet disappear. I know!
I know that some tricks involve trap doors, mirrors and the like, but how do you make a huge airplane disappear other than flying through the Bermuda Triangle? I’ll bet the company that owned the plane were a little nervous, too. “Um, Mr. Copperfield, may we please have our 20 million dollar plane back”?
Then along comes David Blane, who became famous by doing seemingly impossible things as a street performer. At the time, his greatest feat was levitation. He would stand in front of a group of people and end up standing about two inches off the ground. How did he do that?
I opened for a great magician years ago and we worked together on a number of variety shows. His name was Marco, and we became good friends. He was good. It wasn’t table magic, which is an art as well, but you don’t see those guys making millions in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. I tried hard to get Marco to tell me how he did some of the illusions, but he wouldn’t. Ever. It’s the magician code.
I remember the first time I was really freaked out by a card trick. There was a guy who used to run the curtains and lights during our high school plays. He was an older gentleman, heavy set with a goatee. He told me that he had a great trick.
He gave me a brand new deck of cards, sealed, and told me to go to the other side of the stage, open the deck of cards and pick one card. It was dark and there was no one around me. I picked a card and, over the headset, he told me which card I had picked. He nailed it. It freaked me out.
Later on, his son invited me to come over for dinner. When I walked in the house, I noticed a table that was sort of a shrine. In the center was a real human skull with candles and symbols I had never seen. I asked my friend about it and he said, “Oh, this is where we worship the devil”. 15 seconds later I was burning rubber getting away from that place.
The man was married to the librarian, so I never went in there anymore either. It was all just too weird. Did he have demonic help with the card trick? Who knows? All I can say is that trick really seemed impossible to work.
I may go see Copperfield or Blane in Las Vegas sometime, but I will never volunteer for anything. I don’t want to be the next Jimmy Hoffa.
See you tomorrow.
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