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Topic: The real cost of illusions
Message: Posted by: Christian & Katalina (Feb 28, 2021 01:25PM)
We recently interviewed Rick and Susan Wilcox. They have a fantastic 500 seat theater in the Wisconsin Dells. They have performed too many to count large scale illusions. Many people think that illusions are easy. Just pay the money, push it around on stage, and boom instant applause. Katalina and I had the opportunity to perform a large illusion over the course of a week long run. We performed the illusion about 20 times. To make an illusion strong every action must be smooth and deliberate. You quickly find that this is not as easy as it looks. It is much easier to stumble, fumble, and look pedestrian than it is to look polished and smooth. It took us about 15 shows before we felt we were starting to become proficient.

Katalina and I do not perform large illusions in our show. However, it was a blast to experience that part of magic for a week. In the interview with Rick & Susan Wilcox, I learned there is soooo much more than just buying an illusion and walking through it. How many of you are interested in performing a large illusions show? I will be interested in your feedback.

Interview at:

Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Feb 28, 2021 01:33PM)
Rick and Susan have a heck of a show. I saw their show two years ago and spent time with them. It is a well oiled machine.

Your points are right on about doing illusions. Rick and Susan are some of the very few who can make illusions play and seem seamless in performance with a minimum of people. John Bundy and Morgan are another duo who make it work. It is more than just the physical prop it is personality also. With out that, it just does not matter. You have to realize that the actual performance of the illusion is very small in on stage run time. You have to put the dressing around it to make it all work and get some time from it.

Good topic. There is so much more to illusions than most people or magicians realize.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Feb 28, 2021 04:34PM)
A wonderful post. There is a huge difference between really proficient illusionists who can dominate the prop on stage and those that are simply furniture movers and illusion demonstrators.
Message: Posted by: top_illusionist (Mar 29, 2021 04:31PM)
I agree. There is a big difference in the manner that a working pro versus the one gig furniture mover conveys the illusion(s) presentation.

It takes some serious rehearsal time and plenty of live performances to get it to a point that makes the illusion seem flawless. I can't tell you how many times I sat in the back of the Magic Castle Palace theater with Billy McComb watching magician after magician on stage. The polished ones were the working magicians that had nightly audiences standing on their feet such as Kevin James, Jonathan Pendragon, Franz Harary and Chuck Jones. They understood how to command attention and cue the applauses. How to properly move in and roll out props to move on to other illusions. Their assistants knew were to stand and when to strike a pose. The ones hired on for one week who were part timers or newbies to the stage were fumbling repeatedly with the illusion props and sometimes flashing inadvertently. Even from the full-on front angles.

As Franz once told me, in order to make illusions a full time occupation, you better have a very rich uncle who likes magic to support you.
Message: Posted by: reedrc (Apr 21, 2021 09:16PM)
Newbie: " I want to get into Illusions and be and Illusionist. Tour the world and be the next David Copperfield"

Newbie: Yes but......
Me: yes but. . . .

Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Apr 22, 2021 12:45AM)
I remember sitting on the steps in the Beverly Wiltern ballroom with Mark & Nani Wilson the year Greg was debuting as an “illusionist” for the Castle Awards Banquet. I told them they must be very proud to have him follow in their footsteps. Lol... their response... “We tried to tell him but he wouldn’t listen... that he’ll spend all his time loading trucks, trying to find dancers, repairing props... so few realize what it’s really like! “
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Apr 23, 2021 12:49PM)

In the Seventies, I had a three person illusion show at Tombstone Junction, my first wife and our male assistant/juggler. We did a dove act, sub trunk, zig zag, and Chu's sword suspension. My wife and Kelly didn't get along. There was constant rehearsal, and once we left the season, to come back to Los Angeles and work here, we had to haul everything around everywhere and set it up. Doves, a rabbit. Lot's of work. Too much like a real job.

After that I preferred to work alone without illusions, animals or assistants.