Whether I’m working at a private engagement, doing a corporate magic event, or performing at a trade show at a convention, whenever I get to talk with the people watching me they all seem to ask the same questions about my past history, or about my career in magic. (I guess curiosity can spring from the same sources!) So I thought I would write out the popular questions people ask about magic that I hear the most frequently. And now, for your enjoyment (drum roll…) — here they are!
“How did you get started in magic?” I was a shy child, and I would usually spend most of my time reading books. When I was seven years old my father took me downtown to the local magic shop and bought me some tricks and magic books. He thought that it would get me to be more social and connect with other kids more… and he was right! Soon I was performing for all my friends, and at school too. I even earned a nickname: “Mr. Magico”.
“What is your favorite trick?” No one believes me when I say this, but my favorite “trick” is really a favorite “moment.” It’s the moment when I am performing any illusion for an audience and there is a turning point – a “thunderbolt” that happens when their faces say, “OMG – I can’t believe what I’m seeing!!!” That is probably my favorite part of this wonderful art… when you create that wonder in someone’s life.
“Did Houdini die in one of his escapes?” NO. This is easily the most misunderstood “fact” about one of the greatest performers in the history of conjuring. Because of some overly-dramatic movies and television shows, thousands of people have been innocently misled about Houdini’s demise. The short version: Backstage after one of his shows, a misguided college student wanted to test Houdini’s muscle strength and suddenly punched him in the abdomen several times time before the surprised magician waved him off, having been caught unprepared. Houdini dismissed the incident, but growing pain and discomfort finally forced him into the hospital, where it was discovered he had a ruptured appendix. Things went from bad to worse when he developed peritonitis, and he eventually died in Detroit’s Grace Hospital on October 31, 1926. He was 52 years old.
“Will you saw my wife in half?” When I am walking around and performing close-up magic at a company’s event or a trade show cocktail soiree, a life-of-the-party type will usually deliver this chestnut in a loud voice in front of his friends. This is followed by uproarious laughter (except from his wife, who is usually standing next to him). I nod and chuckle appreciatively, not having the heart to tell him I have heard this joke over 2000 times, by my conservative estimate. I must admit, I sometimes fantasize about having the sawing-in-half illusion hidden behind a curtain nearby, and whipping it out after he says this, just so I can see his eyes bug out.
And the most popular of the questions people ask about magic, one I usually get asked after I perform some close-up miracle:
“How was that trick done?!?!”
So I reply: “Can you keep a secret?”
“Well… so can I!”