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Topic: What Defining Moment Sparked Your Interest In Magic?
Message: Posted by: sirbrad (Jun 2, 2015 05:51PM)
Was there one defining moment that made you realize that you had to learn magic, and had to become a magician? I had several that solified my journey and destiny. I started my journey going to the library at age 7 in 1981, after getting a "1962 Adam's Mr. Magic Set." My friend got it for Christmas and was not interested in it, and he fried me with the Ball Vase. So I gave him $3.00 for it and he took it immediately as he wanted candy instead. After that I saw a local magician at a fair who called me over to his table, and he had all kinds of glitzy, glamorous magic apparatus on the table, was dressed in the standard magician's attire a tux coat, top hat, and a curly mustache and goatee. He made a bird appear out of a puff of smoke, and it walked up a ladder. He then did the cups and balls routine for me, vanishing dimes to nickels, and sponge ball routine. I had no idea how he did them as I checked the cups for "holes" on the bottom, but were solid aluminum, and I had no idea how that ball appeared in my hand with the other. From that point on I was hooked!

I went to the library and took out every book I could find, all books which I bought and still have today. My first one was "The Amateur Magician's Handbook", followed by "The Magic Book", "Mark Wilson's Complete Course", and all of Bill Severn's Books. Also "Scarne On Card Tricks" after that, "Dunninger's Encyclopedia of Magic", "Classic Secrets of Magic", "The Blackstone Book of Magic and Illusions", and "The Stein and Day Handbook of Magic". Many others followed but I did shows for years out of those books alone until I started getting paid for gigs, then I was able to save up and order more books, tricks, and later VHS tapes from those old magic catalogs.

I also saved up for the Tarbell Course, which back then was like $400 at a magic shop $50 each. The shop owner said I must be a serious student as no one else has wanted to buy it, and that I must be in magic for the long haul. Turns out he was right as this is my 35th year in magic and 25 as a professional. So which defining moment lit that burning desire in you to want to study magic?
Message: Posted by: Johnny Butterfield (Jun 3, 2015 12:10PM)
A singer in a band I was once in had quit smoking and took up magic to give him something to do with his hands. I was amazed when he showed me some stuff!

A week or so later, found a copy of Modern Coin Magic in a bookstore. Later, ventured into the local magic shop, Browser's Den of Magic, and was thoroughly hooked. The staff at Browser's as much as anything hooked me. The hours they spent with me, the fact that they never sold me on anything and always suggested the stuff appropriate to my skill level, and put me on the right path really made the journey as enjoyable as possible.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jun 3, 2015 01:59PM)
Yup! That's the difference between a good Brick & Mortar shop, and internet shops.
Message: Posted by: sirbrad (Jun 3, 2015 04:38PM)
I still love the Brick & Mortar shops and wish there were more today, and it is still my hopes to have my own strictly for the fun of it and not "need" to make money. I love the internet today due to the convenience of it, but I am still old school and love to walk into a magic shop if I ever have time to travel to the few that are left in my area. But there is only one left within 60 miles and even they do most of their business on the internet now. I only get there maybe a few times a year as I am too busy doing gigs. But it is always a great feeling to go there as I did so many years ago.

Luckily the owner also did not have to close it as he does it on the side for pleasure, and is a teacher almost retired now and also does a lot of gigs. He has it open a few hours on certain days, and usually when I do get there I am the only one there. Kind of sad and kinda of a good thing as I don't want anyone else getting all of those goodies. But also a shame that others have no idea what a great journey and experience might start there. Today's generation are too busy to see the shop as they are walking around looking down at their iPhones.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jun 3, 2015 09:41PM)
I got the typical magic set for Christmas. I putzed around with it a bit before it found its way to my closet. My uncle was visiting some time later and spotted it. He performed the cups and balls from the set and totally blew my mind. All I could think was that this was MY stuff he was using. I was hooked.
Message: Posted by: sirbrad (Jun 4, 2015 01:21PM)
Probably the most important item in my collection is the 1962 "Adam's Mr. Magic Set" as this is the first set that I got at age 7. I was ECSTATIC to find one on eBay in excellent condition, and mostly unused and some items still sealed for a great price! Most of mine got lost and thrown out over the years, and I still have some of the pieces left. Even more amazing and strange is that this one had a penny in it with my birthdate on it, and the JCP address on the front where it came from also just so happens to be the same name of first professional gig that I did for a nursing home as a teen, "Grandview". Pretty cool and astounding in itself!

Message: Posted by: Roy Rocha (Jun 5, 2015 07:58AM)
Caught "the bug" after watching The World's Greatest Magic shows on TV. Was drawn to close up magic because of the performances of Michael Ammar, Lance Burton, Paul Gertner, and Jean Pierre Vallerino. I watch those old VHS tapes from time to time to "re-energize."
Message: Posted by: sirbrad (Jun 5, 2015 10:37AM)
I love those shows as well, and still got some on VHS.
Message: Posted by: Banedon (Jun 19, 2015 02:00PM)
Brad, I still have all of my old Adams tricks including most of those featured in that set! The bunnies for the cup and balls tricks seem to be lost, though. :(

The pre-made sets I had as a kid were the beginner and advanced Blackstone kits.

Plus lots of props I made (or my mom helped me sew [e.g. an egg bag that I showed as empty and then used to conjure a stuffed rabbit that I tied a black bowtie around and clipped a top hat on]).

What I think (not sure) is the earliest trick in my memory that made a big impression on me was the Blackstone, Jr. floating light bulb into the audience trick. I was also absolutely obssessed with Houdini for much of my life (although I never tried escape artistry much myself other than some gimmicked handcuffs and the like). The Houdini obssession predates the Blackstone trick - but watching Blackstone perform on tv was what gave me the bug to do a full show instead of just random tricks. Around the same time (I am not sure how hold - maybe 5?) I also saw a magic clown at our local harvest festival faire and that made a HUGE impression on me. In addition to standard clown stuff, the tricks that I remember going home and trying to figure out were scarves changing colors, producing a lot of colored scarves individually and tied together, some really neat stuff with a parasol, oversized card tricks, and some other tricks. That was definitely the first time I became obssessed with reproducing effects and then performing variations on the theme once I figured out a method.
Message: Posted by: sirbrad (Jun 19, 2015 05:45PM)
Awesome! I also grew up idolizing Houdini at first as well as all of the other classic magicians including Blackstone SR. and JR, from that time. I had two Blckstone magic sets as well, and several Houdini ones. The bunnies are actually a separate trick, the cups and balls use 4 white balls. I seen them sold separately also so you might be able to buy them to complete your set.
Message: Posted by: Banedon (Jun 19, 2015 06:57PM)
I was curious, so I pulled out my old sets. The bunnies came with the Blackstone Advanced set (still lost, though). They appear to be identical to the Adams bunnies. The cups in the Blackstone set are identical to the Adams cups (I seem to have a lot of cups! - I used to be [for a kid] ok at those). Other sets I had (that I just rediscovered in my closet): Hocus Pocus by the Jumso toys and game company (the logo that looks like a red elephant) and Jr. Magician's Magic Show by Paragon-Reiss. With the exception of the missing cup and ball bunnies from the Blackstone set - all 4 sets are still 100% intact with no real damage other than a bit of expected boxing from having seen use. I even saved the empty cardboard punch outs!

I have a random assortment of old Royal Magic tricks, too. My favorite when I was really young was a gimmicked finger guillotine and then as a teeny bopper the spiked coin. It looks like I have some also by Franco-American (logo of a monkey wearing a turban doing magic) - my favorite of which was a King Tut that would stay in his coffin unless you knew the trick.

I actually opened an Adams thumb tip earlier this year that was still sealed that I for some reason never opened. That must have been sitting there in mint condition for over over 20 years. I used to buy a lot of those kinds of things every year at the Ocean City, MD magic shop (still open - I was there buying stuff a few years ago!) during our yearly late June family vacations. I wish I had not opened it now. I wanted to use it since my nice thumb tip was destroyed by storm damage (along with a LOT of my stuff) because it was meant for a kid's thumb and would not make it even halfway to my knuckle (so I went to my local shop and bought new hard and soft Vernet tips). Adams still makes the exact same tip in the exact same packaging, so I do not feel TOO bad about it.

I was pretty obssessed with plenty of magicians as a kid (and still love them), but was just mentioning the ones that got me started in actually wanting to learn and perform magic. In the 80s and early 90s I was certain never to miss a Copperfield or Lance Burton tv special and pretty obsessively watched any other tv specials or variety shows with magicians (especially the British ones who had a particular comedy slant that I still adore [e.g. Tommy Cooper, Paul Daniels, etc.]).
Message: Posted by: sirbrad (Jun 19, 2015 08:08PM)
Yeah I had those as well in another Magic Set also by Adams I got later, loved the spiked coin, color vision box, anti-gravity rope bottle, and finger guillotine. I had a few of those mummy type tricks and one effect was you let the spectator put a 4 sided block in the coffin while your back is turned, and place the lid back on and hand it to you. You are then able to tell them what image was face up out of 4 possible images. I had all of the Adam's pocket magic ones also which were much of the same stuff. I had tons of magic sets stacked to the ceiling, most I had to throw out long ago due to lack of room. So not I collect those most special to me and my first ones etc.
Message: Posted by: Banedon (Jun 21, 2015 08:29AM)
I never saw that particular mummy trick in the store but would have loved it.

The anti-gravity rope bottle! I knew there was something large missing from the box that I used to have a lot of fun with. Now I will have to go hunting in closets for it to keep everything together.

From a visit to my local magic shop it appears that all of the old Adams stuff is either still in print or they have a lot of unsold old stock hanging on the wall. I'm tempted to buy a bunch of them just for display, but for the price of a handful of Adams tricks I could get say, a set of Vernet balls in a color I do not have yet and that would actually be practical right now. Maybe one day I will make an Adams and Royal Magic display shelf.
Message: Posted by: ZachDavenport (Jul 13, 2015 10:13PM)
There was no defining moment, or even several. I have no idea why I got into magic, and don't even remember exactly when.
Message: Posted by: Bin (Jul 15, 2015 11:21AM)
My father took my brother and I to a (pretty crummy) magic shop when we were little, as he had done some magic when he was a kid and enjoyed it. We both absolutely loved it. I purchased a Scotch and Soda (not on my first visit, on my second) and that was my go-to (that is, basically my only) trick for my first run in magic. I would perform it all the time, whenever I got a chance, for complete strangers. I wish I now had the confidence and easiness that I had when I was seven or eight.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Jul 15, 2015 02:26PM)
It was when I found the search button.
Message: Posted by: browneyed (Jul 15, 2015 07:37PM)
I saw the movie The Prestige and Christian Bale's character did a simple key production but at that point I knew nothing about magic at all so it blew my mind. Then after that I saw a trailer for a Keith Barry show on Discovery Channel which I never even watched but it lead me to Derren Brown and I fell in love.
Message: Posted by: Ivan Imagination (Oct 26, 2015 01:05AM)
For me there were several moments that inspired me to learn magic. I have a distant memory of someone pulling a quarter out of my ear when I was in the grocery store with my mom. Also, the David Copperfield specials were on when I was little, and I watched those with my family. What really hooked me though was seeing a local magician perform at my school. I can't recall what tricks he performed, but I know that later I was always impressed when he would do sleight of hand at school events. Coins across always got me. Also, I had a unique experience when my brother let me look at his magic kit. Not knowing what anything was I fooled myself with a double panel card box, which vanished the card inside. All of those early moments of wonder tend to blend together in my memory, so it becomes hard to pinpoint exactly what hooked me.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hallahan (Nov 5, 2015 10:29PM)
I posted what got me interested in magic at [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=125348&forum=27]The Love Bug[/url], which is similar to this topic. A shorter answer is that my Dad did a trick that amazed me.
Message: Posted by: ianwray (Nov 6, 2015 01:43PM)
Interestingly enough it was from a teacher, or a substitute teacher rather. He would usually perform mentalism, and sometimes magic tricks at the end of each class that he substituted for. I had learned a few magic tricks as a kid, but nothing major. And seeing this sub do what seemed to be real mind reading really set me off on a magic frenzy. After I learned about magic lectures, books, and penguin magic it was all downhill for me. I don't know whether to thank him or curse him for starting this addiction...
Message: Posted by: eralph357 (Nov 6, 2015 05:41PM)
I got interested when my son got interested. My wife and I had gone to see Penn & Teller in Las Vegas, and when we got home we described the show to my son. He was enthralled by the description, and we found Fool Us online, and he was hooked. Once he was hooked, I was hooked too. Then the whole family went to see a live magic show, and my daughter got the bug too. So now it's a family thing.
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Nov 6, 2015 05:53PM)
It must have been 1956 or 57 when I saw a clown performing magic at the Adopted Children's Association picnic. To me, at age 4 or 5, watching his Die Box routine was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. I was hooked on magic as a spectator but didn't think about learning about it until Mark and Nanny Wilson presented their show "The Magic Land of AllaKazam" on TV in 1960.

I asked for a magic set for Christmas and got it and learned many of the tricks. I picked up some better "tricks" and started giving shows for my friends in the neighborhood. My first "professional trick was, you guessed it, a Homer Hudson Die Box, purchased from Bert Wheeler Toys (later Hollywood Magic) about 1961. I still have it but have newer, nicer, versions that I use now.

I have strayed from magic at different times in my life, but I always come back.
Message: Posted by: chmara (Nov 7, 2015 03:27PM)
I must have been about 10 when I was at a Mason's, DeMolay family picknick somewhere on Long Island N.Y. About 300-400 people enjoying a summer's outing (about 1951.) At one side of the picnic area was an old stake-bed hay truck, stakes out. While we ate a guy put up some curtains -- and set up a few side tables.

As we finished and gathered around -- he appeared in Tuxedo and bejeweled (crystal chandelier style) Turban -- and entertained us with the old routines (old even then) of disappearing milk, pumping water from a kids elbow, producing skads of various colored silks, magically healing ropes, a card snake in the basket and then a grand finale with a hilarious full scimitar head chopper. I never got his name...and only briefly saw him taking down the props and curtains into steamer trunks he tied down on the stake-bed and drove off.

That opened the wonder for me.
Message: Posted by: Dollarbill (Nov 8, 2015 07:23PM)
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Nov 11, 2015 01:43PM)
Doug Henning doing the water torture escape.

Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (Nov 13, 2015 08:55AM)
Seeing a magic trick on the internet that told me how to do it, and I realised for the first time that I could do it too.
Message: Posted by: Steve_Mollett (Nov 14, 2015 09:26PM)
When I was 13, my best friend saw "Houdini" (Paramount, 1953) and was fired up to study magic.
I tagged along and became hooked--especially on escapology.
After a year, he quit to explore the medical profession.
I kept on escaping.
Message: Posted by: Charles Gaff (Nov 30, 2015 04:44AM)
In the second grade in the school library was a blue book with Mickey Mouse and the gang preforming magic. The four fingers on the wrist floating pencil/wand still gets people as an impromtu quicky. Then my cousin got a fifty dollar gift certificate from magic man, the local shop. One great mentor at a children's carnival a few years later and now here I am, known in my circles as the guy with the cards lol.
Message: Posted by: Overworked (Nov 30, 2015 06:07PM)
I had a magic kit as a kid and knew a couple of card tricks but it wasn't until I was older and was attending a conference in Las Vegas, that I walked into a magic shop and bought a card magic book. Got hooked after that.
Message: Posted by: Jesseb (May 12, 2016 01:26AM)
I think the natural allure of the magic set was something. As can be seen from the image sirbrad posted. It's intrinsically attractive and interesting... I remember that hooking me, wanting to uncover the mysteries in the same way one wants to get to get to the end of a good book to find out what happens.
And then of course there are those early, personal experiences of wonder. My 2nd grade teacher was an ex magician's assistant and after school she would take me into a special corner of the room and teach me a few things; she made it very special and none of the other kids were allowed to be there. Then I would practice on the others... it was great. I think that fostered a particular reverence for and an excitement towards magic.
Message: Posted by: 1KJ (May 14, 2016 08:29PM)
My Dad had a friend who performed some magic for us every time he came over. I'll never forget the first card trick he did to my sister when I was around six. I begged him to teach it to me and he refused. I spent months and figured it out. Or, at least coming up with a way to do it. I do the trick to this day. By the way, the man went on to become a billionaire.

Message: Posted by: Uncle Joe (Dec 8, 2016 01:25AM)
I was working in an entertainment marketing office and had free tickets to a Chuck Jones illusion show.
After I saw him and the magic I was hooked.
Message: Posted by: Escamoteur (Jan 26, 2017 11:26PM)
As a young child I saw a magician named Bob Greenberg performing at a Sunday brunch my parents took us to. I remember him doing the Chinese sticks/wands and Cups and Balls. The next day I was in the school library in that 793.8 section many of us know all too well. I cannot remember the book, although I do remember red and blue on the cover. I was hooked. Shortly after, the "Hat Full of Magic" set was on my Christmas wish list, and a lifelong addiction err I mean hobby had begun.

Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Apr 15, 2017 06:01PM)
I was always interested in magic. I used to watch Mark Wilson's Magic Land of Alakazam and the odd magic trick on Captain Kangaroo (who hands WERE those, anyway?) I also looked at a few magic books in the library, "Spooky Magic" comes to mind, but I never really got bitten until I found out about my Uncle Bob. Robert O'Neil was a "semi-professional" who worked for RCA as a television repairman. He came in for a visit and did some magic. Egg Bag, the Necklace trick, the bra trick (yeah, that was the level of his humor) when I expressed amazement and enjoyment of magic, he got me the same Adam's Mr. Magic kit you saw earlier in the thread and then I was hooked.
Message: Posted by: levitate (Apr 21, 2017 12:43AM)
As my username suggests, the moment I saw a magician perform a levitation. As a child few things excited me more than the prospect of being able to defy gravity. Flight would have been ideal, but I'd happily settle for floating. The effect in question was a form of Balducii levitation. Following that I saw someone perform "hover card" and was amazed at how gracefully the magician made the spinning card float given that there clearly weren't any strings! I don't do much in the way of levitation in my own routines but perhaps that will change if I get some good recommendations. Yigal Mesika's work looks beautiful on video.
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (Apr 21, 2017 03:54AM)
Coming across a trick shown then explained on the internet. It was very simple but fooled me, and after I realised the explanation was simple I thought, 'I can do that.' Developed from there. This was only a few years ago, and I've been off-and-on with magic since.
Message: Posted by: glennmagi (Sep 1, 2017 09:25PM)
I know I had an interest in magic before I saw them but Bill Bixby in The Magician TV show was incredible for me also was Doug Henning.
Message: Posted by: Signet (Nov 3, 2017 08:16PM)
I am a Licensed Practical Nurse. I worked in nursing homes, but finally landed a a pretty sweet office job with the benefits department of a major company. I thought I was set. Then things changed. My mother passed away in 2010. My father, who lives in the other side of our duplex, started to have declining health. I was paying a lady to watch him, while I was at work. He got to the point where he needed constant care. He's a war vet, so we got on a program with the VA. They pay me, not that much, to take care of him. This is how we got to where we are today.
He's in the early stages of dementia. I started taking care of him in 2012. Around 2016,he started really declining. This really stressed me out. We also had trouble with our neighbour. His started when I had to put a ramp in for my father. The neighbour claims it causes water to go in his yard.
Anyway, I started getting sick to my stomach all the time. I would throw up constantly. I had every test they can do. All came back negative. The doctor sad to was the stress. He gave me nerve pills, which did nothing. I prayed to God t help me. He next day, there was a story in the paper about a local magic shop. I was interested. I went there that day. Guess what? The more I studied magic, the less I got sick. Within a month, I as cured. Magic literally saved my life and kept my father at home. God bless magic, especially those coins.
Message: Posted by: mikesmithmagic (Apr 10, 2019 09:09AM)
My interest/journey began on Saturday 9th June 1979. My Dad insisted I sit and watch a show on TV rather than go out to play, he said I'd love it. I certainly did, it was the first episode of the Paul Daniels Magic show. Christmas that year I got my first 6 effects, all from the Paul Daniels TV Magic Tricks range. I've never looked back, like a stick of rock, magic is written through the centre of me.
Message: Posted by: bdungey (Apr 11, 2019 05:54AM)
When I was a kid, I remember seeing the regular 'uncle' magic - thumb tricks, simple coin tricks and the rest.

Specifically, when I watched David Blaine perform The Raven on TV, I was just wiped.
Message: Posted by: Jbond207 (Apr 17, 2019 11:06PM)
Difficult to pin down to one defining moment. I got interested as an adolescent when my favor uncle taught me a card trick. Watching Mark Wilson on TV also had an impact. Finally bought my first magic trick at the magic shop at Disneyland back when Steve Martin I think worked there. Over the years I learned more cars tricks. In college as a theatre student I would entertain at cast parties doing card tricks and the Balducci levitation. I worked for the university part time back then. My boss told me one day that a guy was going to pay me to do magic for his little girlís birthday party. I said I donít do shows. He said this guy is a university trustee, you do shows now.

After that I started actually trying to learn more. Went to local magic shop in Louisville Kentucky. Mac King was a kid working behind the counter. Bought several books (including Mark Wilson Course in Magic) and a few more tricks, including an Okito box. Mac said I should go to a local coff shop and see his buddy do an Okito Box routine. Of course his buddy was Lance Burton. They were both kids back then.

I have been studying magic ever since.