In Praise of Prestidigitation
by Michael T. Jarvis
Los Angeles Times Magazine
Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Jul 20, 2003. pg. I.8
(Article includes interviews with Magic Castle magicians Billy McComb, Bob Busch, James Dimmare, and Whit Haydn)
The celebrated Magic Castle in Hollywood is home to the Academy of Magical Arts and features magicians who perform nightly in various showrooms throughout the haunted Victorian mansion. The most difficult trick at the Magic Castle, a private club since 1963, is just getting in; one must be a member or know a member to be admitted. We asked a few old hands what's up their sleeves...
Glassell Park, CA
What's your specialty?
Close-up magic and comedy.
How did you become a magician?
I started when I was 10. I wasted the first nine years of my life. I had a talent for fraud and deception.
Do magicians gossip?
Sure. We sit here and talk shop. Things like, "Is David Blaine destroying magic or saving it?"
Tell us some secret magician lingo.
A "pass" is a move with the cards where half the deck is cut with no one seeing it. It's called "shifting the pack."
First trick you ever saw?
At summer camp. A Methodist minister did linking rings and cutting the rope. I stayed up all night trying to figure it out. It was the first time I had ever spent focused in such intense creative thought.
Your biggest foul-up?
I was cutting my now ex-wife into three pieces on stage. She was in an upright box. The blade caught her leotard. I opened the box and she was topless to the waist and bleeding down the middle. It was hard to recover from that.