Thursday, May 22, 2008


I previously mentioned that I was an amateur magician. I was probably in fifth grade when a New Orleans in-law of some sort visited with my grandmother. He could make cards disappear and reappear, cut a rope and restore it, make your card come to the top of the deck, and the like.

I loved it. He showed me a little. I bought The Amateur Magician's Handbook and learned a huge amount about magic. My hands were too small and my fingers too slim to do many of the card and coin tricks. But I did everything I was able to.

I remember kids being incredibly interested and one kid being hostile; I never figured out specifically why. Magic seemed to infuriate him. Maybe he hated not being in on the trick. That was not his only problem, though. To no one's surprise, this kid was the only one at my small country school that was in a juvenile detention center before we started high school.

I performed at a church talent show when I was in the eighth grade--that was as far as the hobby went. When my kids were born, I showed them some tricks. I used to do a couple of tricks for my classes, but have not for quite a while.

The Prestige was an excellent novel that centered around magic. The movie was disappointing. One would think that the best thing that a movie about magic has going for it is that magic is fascinating--astounding. The Prestige destroyed all of that. The magic in the movie was beyond boring. Maybe the director of The Prestige did not see how stage magic could be engaging in the age of CGI. Perhaps this is not surprising because the writer/director also took an excellent book and turned it into a much worse screenplay.

The director of The Illusionist obviously saw exactly what could be done with magic. He told a more engaging story than The Prestige (movie, not the book), and used magic as an excellent plot device, preserving the wonder of the magic trick.

I should incorporate stage magic into a story. Hm.

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