High school picture in the middle,
clever quote at the bottom, I was
sure this was going to take me to
the top. I was wrong. But I did
perform one summer at a hotel,
another at a restaurant, and even
skipped a few weeks of college to
perform at industry trade shows
with names like "The Society of
The hotel: A Holiday Inn
Holidome. A coin fell out of my
sleeve during my audition.
They hired me anyway. Turns
out they needed a way to get
kids out of the swimming pool
in time to close it for the night.
The restaurant: Mama Mary's.
I got top billing over the Italian
Smorgasboard. I bussed tables
between performances and
spent my tips on Mama's
International award-winning magician. Best-selling author. Monthly columnist.
Photographer. Short-film star. Innovator. Eats right. Exercises. If he weren't so nice
and so much fun to hang out with, I'd hate him. The secret is right in front of you,
and it's Joshua Jay.
Todd and I went to junior high together. I remember showing him some sleight of
hand, probably a coin trick, in the back of Mrs. McConnell's English class. He'd
been bitten by the magic bug and gives me a little credit for helping to establish
his interest. Today he's a full-time working pro with performances at the Magic
Castle and even a presidential inauguration under his belt.
The guy practically invented the TV magic special and the weekly magic program,
paving the way for Henning and Copperfield, Blaine and Angel. He was a regular
on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and all the other classic talk shows and
also was the consultant of choice throughout the 70s and 80s for television
shows with magic themes (most famously, "The Magician" with Bill Bixby). He
wrote one of the all-time best-selling magic courses and performed a history-
making tour of China in the 80s. I've worked with him on a couple of business
projects and he is as much a gentleman as he is a pioneer.
The Magic Castle
For years it was a far off fantasy, then in 1986 I actually got to visit this Hollywood
Victorian Mansion turned private nightclub for magicians. I recently heard it
described as the "Carnegie Hall of Magic" and it's an apt comparison. You've seen
it in countless TV shows, movies and magic specials and every magician aspires
to be good enough — some day — to perform there. If you can ever finagle a guest
Magic on TV
If you're a fan of the art and want to catch the latest in magic specials,
performances, and guest appearances, check out this site, updated weekly.
|All content © Copyright 2006,
2007 by John Armato unless
otherwise indicated. Content may
be freely excerpted with attribution
for nonprofit use. All other uses by
permission only. Just ask me.
I'll probably say yes.