Library of Past Columns from 2002

by Steve Dacri

Jan 10, 2002 - Magic Matt

Jan 21, 2002 - Hall of Fame Results

Jan 31, 2002 - More Hall of Fame Results
Feb 18, 2002 - Magic Castle Annual Meeting
March, April, May, June - not archived
July 18, 2002 - Vegas
August 14, 2002 - Paul Daniels,Cigars,Viruses
August 31, 2002 - Back in the Saddle
September 16, 2002 - On The Road Again

December 14, 2002
December 25, 2002

September 14, 2001 - Three Days After the Horror
  Read Columns from 2003 and 2004




December 24,2002 - Los Angeles - Sitting here in the winter, sun shines bright, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the big fat man shimmering down the chimney with his bag of coal. Christmas in California looks a lot different than those New England holidays I fondly remember as a child, with snow and sleet and raw winter weather. But frankly, I don't miss the winter. Neither does Jan, who is a California native and prefers to see snow only on postcards and newscasts.

I just completed my fina 2002l show of 2002, a company event for my long time pal Ben Colarossi's painting firm. My performance ended with the production of the man of the month, Santa, who sounded an awful lot like Ben.


As I mentioned last week, our tour finally came to an end, and we are now unpacking the car from what was the longest tour in a decade. We finished up in Northern California, with two shows in Palo Alto, and one in Cupertino at the campus (headquarters) of Apple Computer. What a great experience. It was an "Insiders Workshop", held in one of their unique conference rooms. We met up with the magic club president (a long time employee of Apple) and a small group of magi at the local brew pub for a bite and a brew, then it was into the main building (there are six) that houses the brains and the secret development of all things Apple.

As we enter the building, all glass and chrome and wide open spaces, we step up to a bank of shiny new iMac's and touch the screen, type in our names, and instantly an ID badge prints for each of us. This allows entry into some of the buidlings, always under the watchful eyes of the many security guards. Each floor of the buidling has a specific theme. The theme of the second floor, where we are headed, is television shows from the sixties. My performance and workshop is in the "Mission Impossible" room, next to the "Star Trek" room and across from the "Flying Nun" room. The room contains state of the art audio and video components, large flat screen monitors, overhead projection, video set-up and of course T-1 Internet connections. A perfect setting for a magic workshop. We started around 7 and at midnight we were still flicking fingers and talking magic.

When we finished, we were shown around, but not allowed to pass through the heavily guarded steel doors that lead to the product development areas. We were shown Steve Job's massive office, with the glass walls that overlook the open atrium area where workers meet and talk over the latest gadgets and ideas. Then we saw the Grammy and Emmy awards that Apple has gathered over the past two years for various products, and reluctantly left the place shortly after midnight. A fun night then continued back at the massive hotel suite we were given for the past two nights, with Ketel One martini's and Cuban cigars for all.

The next day we headed further north to Sacramento for the final lecture of the tour. We pulled into the driveway of the home of Bob Brown, who insisted we stay in his library/museum for the evening. It was great to see Bob and talk about the world of magic, sharing war stories and memories. Hard for me to sleep much, as I found myself constantly pulling books from the shelves and browsing...the room is also filled with photos and posters and accolades that mark various accomplishments in the long and illustrious career of Bob Brown, one of magic's premiere entertainers. And at 83, still full of energy and drive, Bob has decided on creating an entirely new act, targeting the corporate world as a professional speaker. I am proud to say we will be assisting him in the development and marketing and web site creation for this latest undertaking of his.

The lecture hall was filled with enthusaistic magicians and lovers of our Art, and it was a fun, and truly fitting ending to an already long, but absolutely enjoyable tour. The next day, we pointed the car South and aimed for home...just ahead of a huge storm front that eventually covered all of the Northern California area. We decided to forgo our original plans to take a few leisurely days along the coast, as the rain and fog would have made it impossible to really enjoy the ride. Another time. For now, we were anxious to touch down in our own bed for a change.


Just heard from our friend Paul Daniels about his upcoming visit to the USA as part of his "Master Class" series. Paul will be holding a special one day Magical Master Class in 2003, in five locations across the USA, and three in the UK. He starts in England, then comes to the States in what is sure to be a sold out event in each location. It will be strictly limited to a small number of participants in each city. I can think of nobody in the world of magic who is better qualified to offer such a class, and all I can say is, SIGN UP NOW! Complete details and sign-up information can be found by clicking here.

The USA dates are as follows:
Saturday 12th April - Chicago, Sunday 13th April - New York, Tuesday 15th April - Orlando (evening), Saturday 19th April - Las Vegas, and Sunday 20th April - Los Angeles.
In the UK it will be Saturday 22nd March - Birmingham, Sunday 23rd March - Leeds, and Saturday 5th April - London.

The Paul Daniels Magic Show on BBC TV remained at the top of the ratings for 15 years, with Paul performing more original magic on TV than anyone else in history! He made over 600 TV shows in the process! The show also won the coveted Golden Rose of Montreux TV Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the industry. Paul's stage show has toured internationally and ran in the heart of London's West End theatre district for an amazing 14 months. He has won just about every major entertainment award. He is widely recognised as one of the leading authorities in all aspects of magic, and regularly advises other internationally known magicians.

Focusing on the business side of magic the Magical Masterclass promises: "How to get on TV, Radio, and into the Newspapers, How to easily triple your income on every show you do, How to radically enhance every magic effect you already own without spending any more money!, How to promote yourself and your shows effectively, with fantastic results, How to tap currently untouched markets     Â– the potential for this is phenomenal! How every gig can lead onto at least three more, with no effort on your part!, How to develop a unique stage character that audiences will love - guaranteed, How to easily generate a continual stream of bookings for your show, for little or no cost, How to increase the response of your advertising by 400% - very simply, How to use secret marketing tools to double your salary in 2003." For more information, and to book a ticket, click here.


Next week will be my final column of 2002, and I will recap some of the news and events of the past year, with some interesting statistics and needless info from our worldwide tour. I again want to thank all of you for the many cards, calls and emails and both Jan and I would like extend our wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season to you and your loved ones...

Magically yours,


December 14, 2002- Los Angeles - Home at last. I think. It kind of looks familiar, but I could be dreaming. After so many months on the road, it seems odd to be climbing into the bed that belongs to us. Or finally having lunch at the Castle, seeing Milt, Billy and the gang.

Apologies for the lateness in this column. A computer problem swallowed two columns that should have been here since the last one. It's a long story...without going into details (Kinkos) or pointing any fingers (Kinkos) or making any excuses (Kinkos), lets just say that it was beyond our control (Kinkos) and we hope that we have learned our lesson (Kinkos) and that we will look for another solution while on the road in the future.


My friend David Copperfield was in the news this week, having collapsed onstage during a performance in Canada. I am happy to say, all is well with him at the moment. Despite collapsing from exhaustion at his Edmonton show on the weekend, David's five sellout shows in Regina were expected to go ahead. "It's a go. He was scheduled to perform in Saskatoon on Monday and as far as we know the shows here are going ahead,'' said Deana Walker with the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts. Copperfield collapsed midway through an afternoon performance in Edmonton and was taken by ambulance to hospital. He was released later in the day after undergoing tests.

The famous illusionist was on stage with two members of the audience and crew assistants halfway through his 90-minute non-stop performance when he said he wasn't feeling well and walked off. After 45 minutes of giant screen video replays of Copperfield's past illusions and a 10-minute intermission, a member of the stage crew announced the performance was cancelled. A second show scheduled for that evening in Edmonton and Copperfield's two performances scheduled for Sunday were also cancelled. Producers of Copperfield's show blamed exhaustion and a hectic touring schedule that includes 500 dates a year. "He's just exhausted,'' explained Chris Kenner, the show's executive producer.
David, you're my friend, a pal since the old days. Listen to me. My advice to you, David, is TAKE A VACATION!


Drove the final leg, from Sacramento down to Los Angeles yesterday, and the 2002 Lecture Tour is finally, as I write this, history. This last leg was 9 weeks and 28 shows in 25 cities. Put over 14,000 miles on the Jeep. And, although the final numbers are not in yet, I can tell you that we made a lot less money than David's tour...

What a great experience, this tour. It's really been a life changing experience in so many ways. It began in England, on March 8. Jan performed in London at The Magic Circle, which kicked things off. We did 30 lectures all over England and Ireland before flying back to America. The highlight, of ocurse, had to be my surprise elevation to MIMC (with Gold Star), which I proudly wear at every performance. We arrived in Detroit for the start of the US portion of the tour, and worked our way across the States for about 6 weeks, ending back in Los Angeles for a week at the Magic Castle. Then it was back on the road again and, well, you know the story if you have been following along. Next week I will recap the highlights and observations for the year, but for now, lets just fill in the blanks from the last column and bring you up to date.

First, Jan hopped on a plane. She went to Philadelphia to do one of her Motivational Speaking Engagements and I went to Tampa again to see my old friend Kevin Harrington for a little craziness. Kevin just purchased a home that was owned by baseball star Gary Sheffield. It's a custom built beauty on the water, around 11,000 square feet of amazing home that is nearly impossible to describe. I slept in the Picasso bedroom, so named for the original paitings that adorn the wall of that particular room. After sampling martinis at various joints along the beach, we headed back to the Harrington Estate for more cigars and adult beverages over a few games of pool. The game room is just off the gym and movie to the bowling alley and the 2,000 square foot bathroom, one of 8 in the house. Kevin and I are now dreaming up some projects to do together in the film and TV business, as he recently sold his company for more money than he knows what to do with. The next day I met my old buddy Mel Arthur, a good guy who is well known on the tube for his infomercials. He hosted my infomercial last year, and we discussed plans for getting the show on the air in next year over a lunch on beautiful Tampa Bay. After a lunch together, I headed to Orlando to meet Jan at the airport. We spent the night off roaming the haunts of Disney and then headed over to the home of the one and only Bev Bergeron. TOP


Bev "Rebo the Clown" Bergeron, as you all know, is a giant in the world of magic. A former president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, inventor, author, star of the television series "Magic Land of Alakazam" as the lovable Rebo The Clown, and long time Disney performer at Walt Disney World, Bev has performed onstage as Rebo and as Bev for over 50 years, winning awards and acclaim all over the world.

Bev and Alouise insisted we stay with them for the next few days. I was doing the final Florida lecture at the IBM Ring named after Bev, so it all seemed perfect. He showed us his collection of books and magazines, and props and costumes that spill into nearly every room and the garage. (Don't tell Bev, but each night after everyone was in bed, Jan put on one of the Rebo the Clown costumes, climbed out the back window and ran down the street to the neighbors and sang Christmas songs on the front lawn.Then she spread rolls of toilet paper all over the trees in the another neighbor's yard, making sure the neighbors saw Rebo doing it).

Between his work as Rebo the Clown and his many, many corporate and club dates, he has accumulated a tremendous collection as you can imagine. We had a lot of fun, talking magic and discussing the future of the business and the art. Bev is extremely insightful, and one of the true geniuses in our field.

He is also one of our esteemed panel of Magic Advisors for MWC. We are most fortunate to have him on our panel, he is never afraid to "tell it like it is" and has such wonderful, creative ideas for all aspects of show business and magic in general. The sad part of it, however, is that he is also one of the most "ripped off" artists I know. He has invented so many illusions and priciples which have been copied or "acquired" as their own by many magicians in the world. A shame, really. Such a brilliant mind, he has given his ideas to many professionals, and some of them do not always give him the credit that he deserves.

The lecture at the Bev Bergeron Ring was well attended. This was another great bunch of guys, and a couple of ladies. Lots of enthusiastic magic lovers, and we all had a lot of laughs. The next day we met up with our pal Paul Powell and laughed some more. That's what life is all about, isn't it? We all need to laugh more often.

Then we headed North.


A long drive ahead of us. We were on our way to Indianapolis for one lecture, then over to Cincinnati for the last lecture before a short break for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Cincinnati show took place in Haines House of Cards headquarters. I was looking forward to this visit, to see Betty and the gang I have worked with so many years ago. When I owned the two magic shops in New England, Haines House of Cards supplied us with a lot of magical product. I remember the founder, Ronald Haines, who helped me establish some of the products that I created. He generously allowed me to fill up my shops with his line of cards, and his advice for marketing magic effects was invaluable.

So great to see Betty after all these years. She gave us a tour through the secret process of Svengalis decks and the like, and showed us some of the new items that will be coming out in the future. All in all, another great lecture.

We were now stuck in the middle of the country, thousands of miles from anywhere, and the next 4 lectures, the final four, were set for Northern California. In between, we had one public show planned, in Joplin, MIssouri. So, we visited one of our favorite places, Exotic Animal Paradise in Missouri, said hello to the animals, then went on to Joplin, for a truly "Middle of America Thanksgiving Dinner" that was perfect in every way. Shaughnessy's is a family-owned, rather large restaurant that is a local favorite since the fifties. It was filled with locals, mostly large families of people marching in the food line like it was their first meal in days. We felt like two aliens that had dropped on the planet in the middle of this slice of Americana that felt like a living Norman Rockwell painting.

From the white haired lady playing classical music on the tiny antique piano (Glockenspeil) to the wall of home made pies and desserts that surrounded the food orgy in the middle, this was a scene from a movie. It had to be. Everything was too perfect. The massive inner room was decorated like a spread in Southern Life Magazine. It looked like a mansion that probably belonged to the Governor or some southern general. Our maybe Elvis.

After this meal, neither one of us wanted to drive much, so we settled in for a hot tub, cigar and brandy in the top floor penthouse of the downtown Hyatt, provided free as part of my show tomorrow night.

We had one public show left on the books, at the world famous Cow Palace outside of Tucson, Arizona. so we headed south and west, and landed at the Rogers Ranch, in Tubac, Arizona, home of Curt and Maxine Rogers. We relaxed there with the animals, including the new baby horse, Princess, and of course, Pepe the 3,000 pound pet bull.

The show at the Cow Palace was well received, it was a recreation of my close-up show as performed at the Caesars Magical Empire...which has now closed its doors for good. (Which reminds me, must get there to clean out my dressing room).

We headed to San Francisco after this brief stop, and the final week of the tour was about to begin. Next week I will tell you all about that, which included a visit with Bob Brown, and a show at Apple Headquarters...

Magically yours,


July 18, 2002 - Back in Los Angeles after another great visit to Las Vegas. The audiences for my shows were wonderful, as they usually are in Vegas, and it was a special trip for us. Not only did I perform and lecturee, we were going to see three magic shows. All of them as different as they could possibly be from each other.

Darren Romeo, "The Voice of Magic"

Darren had invited us to see his show, we have not been able to do so until now, ans we were looking forward to this. Darren and I worked together for three years at Caesars Magical Empire. Lots of laughs, and lots of cigars. His show is an afternoon 3:00 PM show.

We went to the Siegfried and Roy Theatre at the Mirage Hotel and found our seats (front, next to the stage stairs, the ultimate seats for this show. For S&R, these seats would be deadly).

As we made our way to the seats, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked up and it was Siegfried. We hugged. It's been many years since I have seen him. It was a special moment. He was there to see his protege do his thing. We talked for a bit, and then took our seats.

The show begins.

It's a full house on a Wednesday. I don't go to shows often, and when I do, I certainly don't take notes. Here's what I remember:

You expect that with the stage setting, and the music building, that some illusion will cause Darren to magically appear. Instead, Darren opens with a walk down the stairs, covered in smoke...a la Wayne Newton entrance, with swirling smoke and laser lights. He sings a song, walks to a chair, I recognize it as a deKolta Chair illusion. He's gone, then instantly standing in the middle of the crowd, announcing, "Welcome to our show"…

Great start. Another song ("Dream Lover"), during which he assembles a crystal cabinet,and he produces a girl. His Dream Lover. It is immediately apparent from the first song that this is a world class singer. Clearly, Darren is a singer, who also does magic.

A Tiger tail floats like a dancing hanky, into and out of a bottle, joined by another, then a bunch of babies, which all fly away off stage. Very nice bit. The crowd loves it.

Next Darren comes out into the audience and performs close up magic. He does an excellent four coin matrix, then a floating table. The whole sequence is covered with a video camera, and projected on a huge screen for all to see. Very effective.

Girl into a cannon, with signature on arm, vanishes from cannon and ends up instantly inside a round tank full of water, swimming about, and the signature on the arm is seen to be the same one.

The only slow part was a prediction effect with a giant blackboard prop. On this particular show, the effect required an awfully long stage wait. but Darren covered nicely and returned the watch to his helper, thereby deflecting the attention away from the unexpected delay. The prediction was finally revealed, and was met with polite applause. I would leave this sequence out. Find another one to replace it with.

Blackstone floating light bulb illusion, presented almost exactly as Harry did. Then a levitation. This is followed by the napkin which is changed into a rose, then floats all about the stage, and finally turns into a real rose. The Indian Rope routine is next. John Booth told me that Darren talked with him at great length in order to create an accurate version of this legendary effect. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but let me just say that this was a wonderful version of this incredible illusion from the past. See this show. a first class production that the whole family will enjoy.

After, backstage, Siegfried joined us, we had some laughs, shared a cigar, and posed for pictures in Darren's huge dressing room. A wonderful way to end the day. Time for a nap and a swim.


The next day, we ventured over to the Tropicana hotel and casino to see Rick Thomas. This was a smaller, more intimate showroom than the one we saw Darren in. It is filled with people when we arrive for his second show at 4:00 PM. (He does one at 2:00 PM also). Our seats are front and center, in a private booth.

The intro begins with a fast paced dove routine, ending with the production of a giant white bird, and almost instantly it is split into two large white cockateels. Well deserved applause.A girl climbs into a cage, changes into a gorgeous white Tiger, Sasha.

A girl disappears into Rick, you really had to see this to understand it. This same girl then comes out of his head in another wild sequence. A boy from the audience assists with a levitaion involving 2 chairs, a great effect. Next there's dancing, another great levitation, followed by an asrah finish, with himself levitating up to the girl, pulling the cloth, and the girl is gone. Rick ends by producing 3 large tigers…a great finish. He returns to do a stunning 4 linking rings routine, a very good way to end the performance.

Rick tells us after that he woulld love to be doing his show at night, but cannot as there is the Follies show, and his show was recently named the most successful day time show in Las Vegas history. Hard worker. Well received show. I can't say enough good about this wonderful show. And this guy. Don't miss it. Another wonderful family entertainment.


This show, on the other hand, is not in the family entertainment category. Not even close. This is the equivilent of Don Rickles and Buddy Hackett doing a magic act.

I have only worked with AJ a few times, a very long time ago, in a comedy club in New York, I want to say the Improv or Catch a Rising Star". He's still doing the same stuff, only better. The show is at 10 PM at the Golden Nugget. THis is a relatively small, no nonsense room. The room is set with chairs, and a few cocktail tables are spread throughout the room. again, different setting from the other two shows we've seen. This almost reminds me of a comedy club setting, a no frills, not-to-big area that might have been a function room. You get the picture.


SO, our buddy Milt opens for Billy McComb who opens for AJ. Interesting arrangement. Milt does the basics of the carpenter act, and after breaking lots of glass and spilling the props (Ballantine would have enjoyed this) and uttering the F word (!), he stumbled off to great applause and our old friend Billy McComb parts the curtains and knocks the crowd out. Everyone expects to be bored by bthis old fart, until he opens his mouth and has them in the aisles for the next 10 minutes or so. He ends with the only real magic trick, his famous vanish of the bird cage. So pretty.


He destroys the stage, flings props, uses fowl lauguage, does some real magic, and he's assisted in all of this mayhem by his wife as a hilarious assistant and frequent foil for his sadistic tricks. If you are easily offended, stay away from this one. I loved it, though. A very irreverent presentation, with clever laughs, and a great mix of comedy, real and "pretend" magic. Jonathan looks demented, and I mean that in a good way. He is a acquired taste, I agree, but if you like to laugh and don't mind the language, this is a funny, funny act.


We no sooner got home, and the phone rang. It was Bev Bergeron. "Where are you?" He asks. "Home". I say.

"Well get over here right now", replied Bev. And off we went. We had a great night, showing Bev how to order American drinks. We filmed an interview with him during the day, then sat in for his show at night. It was a true All Bev Bergeron night.

So many performers try to emulate the real stars of magic, like Bev. Seldom do they duplicate his success. His is a learned art, and one that cannot be learned by all. It takes years of practice and constant rehearsal in order to maintain a level of skill necessary to be successful. Not many are willing to commit that amount of time.

The next day we filmed an interview with Bev. He's full of wonderful stories and it was a great time. This and many other wonderful peeks into the lives of magic's royalty, will soon be available here on magic web channel for you to watch and download. We are building quite a library. We want to thank Bev for his time.

That's all for now. We are working diligently to complete the editing on our new video and also to finish the new web pages for this site. And our magic mall is getting updated, with new features and new products on their way. And the much promised ballots are almost ready. We have tabulated the results from the voting at the IBM Convention in San Diego. The results will surprise you...I think! They will be here next week.

Thanks for all the comments on our new photo gallery of IBM Convention photos. Check them out along with the convention report. New photos will be up next week.

Magically yours,


(August 14, 2002) Los Angeles, California

Greetings from home. Such a unique concept. Home for a bit. Not long, of course, but for more than a week. Jan still packs her suitcase before going to bed, even though we aren't going anywhere. She says she just likes to keep in practice.

This year has been truly amazing. Jan & I have been on the road for most of the year. And it will continue until mid December. We started in January, with club dates and speaking engagements, then to Vegas, then we were off to England and Ireland for two months, followed by a month across the USA for my first ever Lecture Tour. The first leg of the tour started in Michigan and ended in California. It included a week in the Close-Up Gallery at the Magic Castle, followed by the wonderful IBM Convention in San Diego.


On August 5th, it was a special night at The Magic Castle, VIDEO NIGHT with special guest Carl "The Amazing" Ballantine. I hosted the show, and produced a video "appreciation" for the event, with highlights from his incredible career and previously unseen moments we have captured with Carl over the past year or so. It was a packed house as they say, and Carl was is great spirits. We even got to smoke cigars during the night, although as soon as the presentation was over, so were the stogies!

Carl answered some of my prepared questions, and we touched a little on the recent lecture material we did in San Diego. Then we opened it up to the crowd and the questions were great. The high point for Carl, I know, was when we filled the stage with no less than eight Magic Castle members who are also Members of The Inner Magic Circle (MIMC), and we called him for membership in the highest degree that a magician can receive, "Member of The Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star", in recognition of his long and amazing career on stage, on television and in film. The Magic Circle president, Michael Bailey had wanted to do this one in person, while Carl and I were in London, but Carl missed the trip due to doctor's orders, so Michael gave me the award for Carl and asked that I present it to him at an appropriate time. This was surely the appropriate time, and Carl loved every minute of it.


Now we are preparing for the second leg of the tour, which begins again in the East Coast, with a very special lecture that I am particularly looking forward to. When I was 14 or 15 years old, I was taken to a magic club meeting. It was the Society of American Magicians Assembly Number 16, the Willard S. Smith Assembly. Even though I had been studying and pacticing magic since I was six, my roots in magic really began there, with the kindness of the members, from Willard S. Smith himself, to Parker Swann, Art Mayou, Mike Kozak, Lee Remington and so many others. I have such fond memories of those meetings in downtown Worcester.

So, my first lecture of this second leg of the tour is my return to No. 16 in Worcester The date is Sept. 9th. I am anxious to see some of the old guys that are still around, as well as the new members who are keeping magic alive in Central Massachusetts. That is followed by a lecture for the Boston IBM, Ring 122, where I will again see many old friends and long time acquaintances. That's really the best part of touring. For an updated calendar of my tour schedule, visit my website.

By strange coincidence, the Rolling Stones are also in town that week, and with me performing for that private Rolling Stones Party in Boston the night before my Worcester lecture, I was able to secure seats for a couple of their Boston area concerts. Been a Stones fan forever, as long as I've been a Beatles fan, which is pretty much my entire life. I think that's why Jan married me.

Unlike the Beatles, I never saw them in concert (Jan did. At the Hollywood Bowl. Twice. Says she will never forget those shows). But I have seen the Stones close to 35 times. Once in my hometown of Worcester, with 200 lucky people in a small club. During their last tour, Jan & I caught them in Tampa, as well as in LA. We are looking forward to what could be the final time the Stones go on tour, although I think as long as Keith and Mick are still alive, they will probably keep rocking.

After this New England visit, we head Westward, but not before stops in Connecticut and New Jersey, then Minneapolis/St. Paul, on down to Oklahoma and Texas. We end the month back at The Magic Castle in the Parlour of Prestidigitation - my final appearance of 2002 there.


As the SAM & IBM Conventions were held during the exact same dates this year (don't get me started again on this brilliant move) it was difficult to hear what was happening in New York while we were in San Diego. So, I have asked some friends who attended the SAM in the Big Apple to write some words...Dan Garrett, our member of the Panel of Magic Advisors, not only attended, but performed at the SAM as well, so he has agreed to write something, which we should see in just a few days (?) or weeks...

Another member of our Panel of Magic Advisors, the amazing Bev Bergeron has provided us with his take on the San Diego event. You can read his version of things (including his amusing review of his own performances) on the Bev Speaks page.

This is the main convention season. Check out all the action across the globe in THE GUIDE, our unique convention and event listings, all with instant links to the convention web sites for tickets and further program details.


Meanwhile, another member of our Panel of Magical Advisors, superstar Paul Daniels and his wife Debbie flew over from England to attend the convention, so I asked Paul if he would care to write something about the's his reply:

Hi Steve, Such a report would be of little interest to your readers. I am of an age where I now have recovered from being a trickaholic and go to the occasional convention to meet up with old friends and sit in restaurants telling stories. ANYTHING rather than watch lookalikes performing in competitions.

I did see the gala show, the last one. There was a HUGE lesson there for magicians and convention organisers. After a stream of good acts (but why do they sell tickets to punters and then put a card manipulator on after a card manipulator?), they went for the nostalgia of putting on the Dean of American Magicians.

You could hear them in the planning committee.... 'Yes, he is old now, but we can follow him with that dress change act that does the rhumba all over the place.....' They forgot how wily old pros are. He came on, started slowly, and then went for the throat in the Lefty routine with a great gag about his eye. He had got 'em, then he threw them about........and the dancing dress change act couldn't follow it. Lesson? Yes......don't follow an old pro, especially if it is Jay Marshall. Paul D.

Thanks, Paul!

We are working on an interview with Paul for a future column, so keep watching for that.


As you know, we always try to spotlight one of our members of the Panel of Magic Advisors. If you check out the home page, you will see our good friend and very talented Tony Brook, who is not only one of the very first to jump on board as a Founding Father member of the Panel of Magic Advisors, he readily accepted our offer to become the Director of International Operations. Much of his input is evident throughout the pages of MWC, but he is also very active behind the scenes in so many ways. Be sure to read about Tony's background in this month's Magic Spotlight.

Speaking of Tony Brook, his latest column, and one of the most popular departments of MWC, "In Conversation with..." features none other than "Mr. Texas", Walter Zaney Blaney (also a member of our Panel of Magic Advisors). This is a fine article that I know you will enjoy. And I think even Walter himself will enjoy the pieces that follow from his three wonderful daughters. Congrats, Walter. One of the true magical treasures in this business.

We think the Hall of Fame ballots will be up and ready for you to use now. If not, it is just a few more days. Check back, and be sure to VOTE for your choices from the finalists.


It occured to us that many people in the magic community have limited computer expertise. Some are actually afraid of computers and the World Wide Web. For this reason, we are working on a new section called "SEE COMPUTER WORK" just for the folks who do not know what an attachment is, or what the REFRESH button really does. Each column will deal with some simple to follow advice on another area of computers that will (I promise) make your life a lot easier. The first topic deals with a growing problem in the Internet world...VIRUSES.

Here at MWC, we just finished dealing with a major virus problem. It caused us to lose many files and about a week of work. We have solved it, and in the process, discovered some valuable information that we are now passing on to you. Check out this new feature. WIth the information provided, you will be able to check for VIRUS problems on your own computer, and if you discover any, you will find out how to get rid of them.


The world of magic is filled with cigar lovers. Always has been, and always will, I'm sure. I have been smoking fine cigars for the last 15 years or so, and have come to appreciate the many aspects of them, including the history or their origins and the people who grow, manufacture and sell the leaf...

Who could ever recall seeing The Professor without a cigar in his hand, sitting in the Castle...of course that was before the great state of California made it a crime to smoke cigars. In the show business world, Milton Berle, George Burns, Carl Ballantine, and Groucho Marx were all lovers of the leaf...and Ballantine still smokes several bad boys every day! I realize many people do not enjoy the smell of a cigar, so I do my best to choose the spots where I light up, and always respect the views of others.

But for those who love the smell, or the taste of a good cigar, we are starting a section of MWC just for you. There will be a forum for you to post your thoughts, and links to various cool cigar-friendly Internet sites to visit. Beginning next month, but for now, check out our good friend, and fellow magician, "Magic" Matt Alan, aka "Mr. Cigar", and host of the weekly Cigar Radio Show. As a frequent guest of that show, which is broadcast live from the "Lighten Up Lounge" (our motto: we smoke, we drink, we interupt, )situated high in the hills of Encino, I enjoy the fun of that weekly get together of cigar guys and babes, and I know many of our MWC visitors enjoy listening to the banter and good times. Check out the list of radio and Internet spots you can listen to in your area (they reach 24 million homes), and also check out the photos on the Mr. Cigar website taken during the recent shows. I'm glad I wore a clean shirt! I was just on with legendary Shelley Berman, who is still as sharp and funny as ever. The show airs live on Saturdays, and repeats on tape throughout the week.

Until next week...keep those cards and Emails flowing, and have a great summer, wherever you may be.

Magically yours,


(September 16, 2002) XXXSt. Paul, Minnesota - DAY 10 on the road - SORRY we missed last week, we had "road computer" problems that only moments ago were fixed, so we could not log into the site and get my latest writings up. Not that I didn't have every good intention of getting my column up, but instead had to scrap the originally planned column, and reflect privately on the anniversary of that fateful, horrible day.
As I had mentioned two weeks ago, we were all wondering here in America what the anniversary of that day would bring. It passed with many thoughtful memorials and tributes, both in print and on television. There were also the necessary replaying of the terrible footage from that day...images that we will never forget. As Jan and I have been on the road, travelling across America, since Sept. 6th, we have had the opportunity to see things and talk to people about their thoughts and feelings about 9/11. It was the overall feeling that this should become a very special day, not a holiday with parties and cookouts, but a day of rememberance and reflection and prayer.
There were hundreds of signs on the highways, "We will never forget", and "God Bless America", and "United we Stand" were the obvious ones, seen in windows of stores, on the sides of trucks, and draped over bridges as we drove through cities and towns. Some small towns we visited had flags on every street corner, others had flags in front of every single building. It made it difficult for us to find the Post Office many times. Usually, you drive into a small town, and the Post Office is easy to spot, with the big flag flying out front. Now, we would drive into a town, and see hundreds of flags everywhere. Makes one proud to be an American.
September 11
Many people made plans to do nothing, stay home and watch the tube, or hide in the basement on the one year anniversary. We had a lecture that night. In New Jersey, not very far from Ground Zero...and in an area where many people were directly affected by the tragedy. It was the third lecture of our tour, this second leg of the USA tour. We started the day by driving through Manhattan, not far from Ground Zero, and the mood was somber, the air was grey, cloudy and quiet. We arrived in Linden, New Jersey and plopped down in front of the television in our hotel to get a glimpse of the world and President Bush's activities. Then, we were on to the lecture. There was a large, enthusiastic crowd there, and it was clear that they were all there to enjoy magic. It was a fabulous group, and a fun lecture. I must admit that I was apprehensive about performing on that night, but once the night began, with a moment of silence to honor the victims and heros, it was a lot of fun.
We all have to go on with our lives, without ever forgetting what happened, and with the knowledge that life as we all know it has changed forever. As entertainers, we all have a special place in society. Throughout history, it has always been that way. Entertainers are looked upon to provide relief, or escape from the world of troubles and fears. It is our duty to go on in the face of world events. Bring smiles and laughter to the masses. Provide an escape from the everyday life we all must face. It is not always easy, but as the old expression goes, "the show must go on". I have been in this crazy business for over 30 years, and I cannot imagine doing anything else. Long ago I accepted this fact and knew that it would mean sacrifices of personal time, holidays and family commitments. It was initially difficult to think about going on tonight, but it became easy and "automatic" as soon as I was introduced.
The day after, President Bush spoke before the United Nations, and it is now very encouraging to see the overall worldwide response and support for his requests and his assessment of the impending danger from Iraq and other terrorist supporters. Nobody likes the thought of another war, but it is painfully obvious that the madman that rules Iraq needs to be stopped and removed from power before he can deploy weapons of mass destruction. All of our lives will be affected by the actions of the next few weeks. Not just here in America. All over the globe. The victims of 9/11 were not just Americans. Australians, Brits, Canadians, so many nations lost innocent people. Families all over the world were ripped apart by the senseless actions of the terrorists. The insanity of that day will live on in the memories of every person on the planet. We must continue to fight terrorism on every level, and countries such as Iraq must be held accountable for their actions. Okay, enough already...
The Tour Continues...
The first lecture of this leg was very special for me. It was a return to Worcester, Massachusetts, my home town, and the SAM #16 Willard S. Smith Assembly where I began my career hundreds of years ago. The meetings of this active group now take place in The Magic Barn, in Ashland, Mass. It was an old barn, a real dumpy, rundown building that the club members purchased and rennovated. It is now a world class spot, with beautiful magic displays and posters everywhere, a pub like area for meals and drinks, and an upstairs loft area for the meetings and performances. Plus a great living quarters area, with classy bathroom and bedrooms, where the guest lecturers stay. Past president Art Mayou was there, and he reminded me that I was his Vice President in 1971. In 1972 I was the president of this motley crew, and I was very produd to serve this group. Lots of wonderful memories, old and new friends, and a night of laughs and great magic. Especially happy to see my old friend Parker Swann there, who filled me in on his activities and the years since I was there. Also, many of my past students were there, and all of them now enjoy successful magic careers, which certainly makes me proud. All in all, a very special night for all. I hated to see it end. Such an enthusiastic, supportive group...they really made me feel terrific.
The next night continued this memory lane sort of feeling as I lectured for the Boston IBM Silent Mora Ring No. 122. Held at my friend Ray Goulet's Magic Art Book Company shop and museum, one of the world's finest magic shops. So great to again see many friends from the past, and another wonderful evening of magic and sharing. This was one of the very few places that I had lectured before, in the late 70's, and I think the act was the same then! AFterwards, the president of the club and Ray Goulet, along with pals Jim Rainho and Dave Cressey joined Jan & I for a late night meal. These two lectures were personal favorites for me, as I got a chance to see old friends and have them meet Jan, many of them for the first time. Missed Gen Grant, though...
The next day was Sept. 11 and we were off to the New York area which brings us back to the start.
The Magic Circle had their Annual General Meeting, and the elections for the members of the Council were concluded. Congratulations to all the winners. I can't reveal the winners yet, but next week we will publish the list of 14 top vote getters and hope we won't be bannished for revealing the news before it its published in the official magazine, The Magic Circular. By the way, I have been working on my new column, my first, which will start appearing in The Magic Circular. The title of the column is "Magical Mystery Tour", and it starts with the November issue.
Tonight we lecture at the Twin Cities Magic Shop, then head south to Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Tulsa, in that order. More ramblings from the road next week.
To all who were personally affected by September 11, we offer our heartfelt prayers. My wish is that we all will go forward, that we will continue in the spirit of life, in spite of the constant threats we are constantly subjected to. We must focus on the future, the positive parts of life that are out there, without forgetting the past and the negative that lurks about.

August 31, 2002) I wonder about what the next two weeks will bring here in America. I know there's a growing sense of sadness as people begin to focus on the one year anniversary of the worst tragedy in America. Just like Memorial Day or Veteran's Day or any other holiday that commemorates the lives of people who are no longer with us, as this "symbolic" final weekend of the summer begins, there is evidence everywhere you look that people are thinking about it.

September 11 will always be marked for the horror of that day. The big difference is that is so fresh in all of our minds. Not only in America, but around the world. The images and sounds of that day are still prominently remembered, and we will no doubt see them as they are replayed during countless television proprams that are spotlighting the anniversary of the attack and the effect it has had on every living person on the planet.

In the airports and bookstores I have been to lately, big displays of books and photographs remind us to "pause and remember the day and the people". Every television news and magazine program is devoting large chunks of programming to the people and events of the disaster. Topics of conversation in all media are focused on how things are going at the anniversary date. How have our lives been changed? How will you and your family remember Spetember 11? I'd love to hear from you.

I'll be working that night. Just like I suspect everyone will be working during the day. I have a lecture, in New Jersey. I think it would be wrong to ignore it and not say anything. I don't plan to get heavy, but I will mention the significance of the day briefly, just to show that I am aware, and then go on with my show, as I hope all will go on with their lives, even those who were personally affected by some direct, personal loss.

We are all here for a reason, folks, and the fact that we are all still here means we are not finished yet, so onward and upward.

To all who were personally affected by September 11, we offer our heartfelt prayers. My wish is that we all will go forward, that we will continue in the spirit of life, in spite of the constant threats we are constantly subjected to. We must focus on the future, the positive parts of life that are out there, without forgetting the past and the negative that lurks about.


If you have been following the adventure so far, Jan & I left Los Angeles today on the next phase of our tour. We stopped by The Magic Castle for a quick bite, then searched Hollywood for Ballantine, who was most likely at the track...we are headed to Worcester, Massachusetts, for the first lecture...the day after the Stones concert. If I speak too loud, you will know why.

Check out my monthly picks, some cool stuff to click away to... The ballot we promised had some technical problems, and we are trying to fix them...hang in there. We'll get it right eventually.

Thanks to all who have been writing us about the new Tony Brook column on Walter Zaney Blaney. It is a fabulous article. I hope you are also emailing Tony to tell him what you think.

Right now, I'm enjoying the view as the sun is setting over the desert, and the long shadows and hot breeze help us unwind from a week of non-stop activities (including 50 hours in an edit studio!) in Los Angeles. We both enjoy the road, it's so relaxing for us, and we are able to schedule work periods throught the trip during the long daytime hours in the car, sharing the driving in shifts. Jan is revising material for her book, and publishers are hounding her to see it, so she will basically never see the scenery as it whips by on this trip.

Why are we driving?

Thanks for asking. We have about 8 lectures in a 3 week period, beginning in Worcester and ending in Oklahoma City. We have books, videos, Jan's shoes, sponge bunnies, Jan's shoes, other products and...basically enough luggage for six people, which makes flying impossible. It's also less hassle, and we love to drive. And when the weather is good, we pull out the custom tent and commune with nature under the stars. The tent is big enough for 6 people, so that means Jan and I are quite comfy inside, and there's plenty of room for Jan's shoes. She actually has a closet in the tent, a walk-in closet.

Check out our updated travel itinerary on

For our American friends, we hope you enjoy this Labor Day Weekend with your famliy, friends or enemies. And for our UK friends, we know the weather is already back to traditional awful, so but at least you won't have to deal with slow-moving traffic, and hoards of vacationers filling up the bars and restaurants and theme parks. For ewveryone else, have a great week. We will be reporting from the stop...New Mexico.

Magically yours,


Feb. 18, 2002

I know, I know. I missed a week. What can I say? Circumstances prevented me from getting my column up last week, so hopefully nobody was inconvenienced too greatly. I'll try not to let it happen again (yeah, right).

Just back from dinner with Carl "The Amazing" Ballantine. We have been planning our upcoming lecture together and this was a working dinner. We came up with the outline and began filling in the spaces. We present our lecture, entitled, "Ballantine and Dacri - Comedy and Magic Workshop", for the first time on April 29th at The Magic Circle in London. Then, later in the year, we will present the same lecture in San Diego at the International Brotherhood of Magicians big bash. Coming up with material is pretty easy...fitting it all into one program is going to be a challenge. Carl is one of the funniest guys on the planet, and he is always on. So, getting him to be serious is a major challenge. Everything he says is funny. It's going to be fun, to put it mildly, and I consider myself to be extremely lucky to be able to share the stage with him.


It seems like only a short time ago we were reporting on the annual meeting of the Castle, or more specifically, of the Academy of Magical Arts. Yesterday, the members convened in the Palace of Mystery once again for the annual reports and reviews of the past year. It was for the most part, uneventful.

It was called to order by President Dale Hindman who welcomed the members and introduced the current board members, then he turned it over to Secretary Bruce Cervon for a reading of the minutes of last year's meeting. Then Dale presented his multimedia report without the multimedia portion. As anyone can tell you, 2001 was not a great year, and The Magic Castle experienced a tough year on the ledger sheets. Despite that, there were many positive elements which were pointed out, including winning a lawsuit, and a positive outlook for a better year in 2002.

Lew Horwitz was next with his report on the financial state of the club. Despite the downturn of business after September 11, the Castle recovered nicely in December with a record breaking year, thanks mainly to the efforts of Robert "Bobby" E. Smith who took over the group sales department. Way to go, Bobby! Lew then showed us his projections, and recommended that we raise dues by 15% per year for the next 3 years to help keep things afloat. This was not met with happy sounds.

The final order of business was the introduction of the member of the law firm that handled the election of the Board of Directors. If the names sound familiar, it's because they were basically the same people who have been on the board year in and year out. Here are the 9 people who were elected to the 2002 Board of Directors:

Gay Blackstone (the only newly elected one), and the eight incumbants, Bruce Cervon, Dale Hindman, Lew Horwitz, Irene Larsen, Billy McComb, Monte Smith, Mark Wilson and Ron Wilson. We at Magic Web Channel congratulate the winners and wish them all the very best of luck for the next two years. The candidates who ran but were unsuccessful were Lorenzo Clark, Christopher De Palma, Max Maven and Kurt Frietag.

After the meeting, champagne was served and we all toasted to the prospects for a great year ahead for the greatest magic organization in the world.

See you next week. Ballots will be up on the site shortly. Be sure and cast your votes for the final inductees into the Internet Magic Hall of Fame.

Until next week...

Magically yours,



January 31, 2002 - Los Angeles, California - Winter in Los Angeles, cold, windy, some real wet stuff they call rain, and non-beach weather. I speak of cold with tongue pressed firmly against my cheek. The temperature is around 60 during the day. Nothing compared to my old stomping grounds of Boston, where snow boots and mittens are the order of the day until spring hits.

We attended the 39th birthday bash for The Magic Castle on January 2, 2002. It was another gala event for the members and founders of this magical place. Milt took the stage (and returned it later) and announced new construction and plans for the future, and unveiled a unique statue that will be placed in the Ladies Room. It's a soap dispenser, and you can fill in the details about how and where the soap is dispensed. James Williams (and Michael Gingras) put on a hearty spread of food and champagne flowed until the evening crowds forced the party to end, with a good time had by all. Here's to many more happy years for the Castle!


Lots of emails from people regarding the first list of Deceased Hall of Fame nominees. Judging from the feedback, most agree with the choices, and as I have said before, there were no real surprises. I had a tough time filling out my ballot, as so many of the names are worthy of induction. Remember, each year we will be inducting more people, so eventually, I believe everyone who is worthy will be inducted.TOP

As we outlined last week, the procedure is as follows: Each year, beginning this year, we plan to induct a number of magicians into the Internet Magic Hall of Fame, which will be a permanent, interactive exhibit honoring the achievements of magicians from the past and present. There will be two categories: LIVING and DECEASED.

Here now, is the list of magicians who will be on the final ballot for LIVING magicians.

LIVING MAGICIANS Listed in order of top vote getters

1. Carl Ballantine
2. David Copperfield
3. Mark Wilson
4. Lance Burton
5. Siegfried and Roy
6. John Calvert
7. Jan Marshall
8. Paul Daniels
9. Channing Pollock
10. Billy McComb
11. Marvin and Carol Roy
12. John Booth
13. Le Grand David
14. Jim Steinmeyer
15. Norm Nielsen
16. Juan Tamarez
17. Jeff McBride
18. Harry Lorayne
19. Walter Zaney Blaney
20. Kreskin

Please remember, this list consists of the top vote getters from our first round of names. The first list contained 55 names of LIVING MAGICIANS and 60 names of DECEASED MAGICIANS. We asked the Panel to choose 20 from the Living, and 30 from the Deceased.

Beginning in a few weeks, we will have a ballot online and everyone who visits us here will be invited to vote for the names that will be finally chosen for the first group of distinguished magicians to be inducted into the Internet Magic Hall of Fame.


Again, this was not an easy call, as there were so many names to choose from. Also, in addition to the names that were on the ballot, we have a surprising number of WRITE-IN names. We will induct 15 magicians in this category, and they will be chosen by the Panel of Magic Advisors as well as the visitors to Magic Web Channel.

The top vote getter, the man who never performed a magic trick correctly, Carl Ballantine, was the number one choice over every other name in this category. Only one person did not vote for him. (That person circled his name on the ballot and asked if he was still alive!!!) Only 2 votes separated him from David Copperfield. Also, interesting to note: Lance, S&R and Mark Wilson all tied for third, with each of them getting the exact same number of votes. Coming in at #20, mentalist/hypnotist Kreskin was a surpising choice to this group of nominees, as he has made a career out of distancing himself from magicians.

A fine group of outstanding individuals, and 15 of them will be chosen for the first group of inductees for the Internet Magic Hall of Fame, which is currently under construction.

Watch in the coming weeks for a ballot to appear on our site here, and then please cast your ballots.

Do you agree with this list of finalists? Send me a note with your comments.

Until next week...
Magically yours,


anuary 21, 2002 - Los Angeles, California - Hello world! Yes, I am finally back, the trip was wonderful, relaxing and productive. I didn't expect to fall in love while I was there, but some things in life can never be planned.

I speak of Princess...the 2 week old pony. Talk about taking my breath away! This cutey has so much energy and a twinkle in her eye. She's getting stronger and more beautiful every day. Born on January 1...she was running around the next day. She was 8 days old when I first arrived in Arizona at the Rogers Ranch, and when I left, she was 16 days old and she already had a permanent place in my heart. Her mane is just coming in, her coat is soft, medium brown, and her markings are absolutely perfect. She licks my face, bites at my hair, and when I knell down, she puts her front legs on my lap. Very cool little pony, my new pal. Can't wait to see her again, which will have to be soon...her mom, Rosey, is a good protector, and you can just see how proud she is of her little offspring.


Each year, beginning this year, we plan to induct a number of magicians into the Internet Magic Hall of Fame, which will be a permanent, interactive exhibit honoring the achievements of magicians from the past and present. There will be two categories: LIVING and DECEASED.

We are very excited to begin the process for the very first group of inductees. We sent a preliminary ballot out to all of the members of our esteemed Panel of Magic Advisors, and the results are now in. Please remember, this list consists of the top vote getters from our first round of names. The first list contained 55 names of LIVING MAGICIANS and 60 names of DECEASED MAGICIANS. We asked the Panel to choose 20 from the Living, and 30 from the Deceased.

Beginning in a few weeks, we will have a ballot online and everyone who visits us here will be invited to vote for the names that will be finally chosen for the first group of distinguished magicians to be inducted into the Internet Magic Hall of Fame.

So, without further delay, we will now list the 20 individuals who have been chosen to be on the final ballot in the DECEASED category. Next week, we will list the LIVING category finalists.TOP

Finalists for induction (Deceased): (top vote getters listed first)
1. Harry Houdini
2. Harry Blackstone, Jr.
3. Harry Blackstone
4. Dai Vernon
5. Chung Ling Soo
6. Robert Houdin
7. Howard Thurston
8. Harry Kellar
9. David Devant
10. John Maskelyne
11. Doug Henning
12. Walter B. Gibson
13. Harlan Tarbell
14. Max Malini
15. Tony Slydini
16. Cardini
17. Richard Ross
18. Alexander Hermann
19. Don Alan
20. Karrell Fox

There you have it. To say that it was a tough call would be an understatement. Many of the Panel of Magic Advisors stated it was extremely difficult to choose these names. Naturally, all of those on the first ballot are worthy to be inducted. And the reality is, most will be inducted eventually. Each year we will choose 15 more from the deceased category for induction. But someone must be first, so these names will be used to narrow down the number to the final winners. We will induct 15 magicians in this category, and they will be chosen by the Panel of Magic Advisors as well as the visitors to Magic Web Channel. Watch in the coming weeks for a ballot to appear on our site here, and then please cast your ballots.

Interesting to note, the top vote getter, Harry Houdini was chosen by every one of the Magic Advisors who responded, and only ONE VOTE separated him from the second highest vote getter, Harry Blackstone, Jr. Next week we will reveal the results in the Living category.

Do you agree with this list of finalists? Send me a note with your comments.

Until next week...
Magically yours,


January 10, 2002 - Tubac, Arizona - Howdy! I'm sitting on the patio on our ranch in Tubac, just about 40 miles from the Mexican border. The air is clear and crisp, a bit chilly, by clear as a bell. I can see the mountain ranges in front of me, the colors are magnificent, and the sky is pure blue.

I am here for a while, working on a script that I have been hired to "fix". Can't tell you any more than that, as the title is a secret, and part of the agreement I had to sign in order to get the job insisted on total confidentiality. Anyway, I estimate the job to be about 8 days, so I am here in the desert, away from phones, people and all distractions. I have a show on Jan. 19th, so I will be back to LA before that.


We have received the ballots from most of the Panel of Magic Advisors, and the results have been determined. Beginning next week, we will announce who in the world of magic has been selected to be eligible for induction into the Internet Magic Hall of Fame. We will then invite you, and all visitors, to MagicWebChannel to cast their votes for those magic people who deserve to be the very first ones to be inducted into the Internet Magic Hall of Fame. Very exciting. Check out the list of people who may potentially be inducted next week.


Those of us who live in California are very familiar with the one and only Matt Alan, "Magic Matt", or "Mr. Cigar". He has more nicknames than anyone I know. (And he does Rick Dees better than Dees himself). Matt is a fine magician, and a great radio personality. He hosts the world's only cigar radio show, heard on the Internet and radio in over 26 million homes. I am a regular guest on the show, whenever I am in town, on a Saturday afternoon, I pop over to the "Lighten Up Lounge" in Encino and join the fun. It starts with a Ketel One Martini, made by the master (and host) of the show. Then it's cigar time, and most of the regulars seem to bring their own collection of cigars, and I wasn't sure why. Then, after doing the show several times myself, I discovered that the cigars that the show passes out are CRAP. Now I know why the regulars are called "regulars". They are the ones that bring their OWN cigars! TOP

So, the show kicks off with cigar news, and then is goes on in directions that nobody could even predict. It's sort of like eavesdropping on a hip cigar lounge, with lots of laughs and nonsense. This week it was comedy legend Jack Riley, who was a regular on "The Bob Newhart Show" and is a voice on the Rugrats movies, among many others. He was fun to work with, and aeven though he is not a cigar smoker, he added a great deal to the program.

I urge you to listen to the showw each week, they always talk about magic and who knows what else. For details, check out and tune in to this week's show in your area. I will be back on the show in 2 weeks, when I get back to Los Angeles. (When the script assignment is completed!)

I asked Matt for his own recipe for the perfect martini. He offers to following: Start with Ketel One vodka, poured over ice into a cocktail shaker. Position a bottle of Vermouth in front of you as you shake the shaker. After gazing at the bottle, put it away. Then, into a chilled glass (it's best if lots of ice is stuck to the edges of the glass), you pour the shaken vodka. Drop a couple of Tomolives into the glass and sip lightly. Repeat the sipping part until the glass is empty, then refill and repeat. This works really well with a high class cigar, preferably from the island of Cuba...

Needless to say, as a guest on this show, one never knows what will happen after the show is over. It might involve dinner, or most likely, additional cigars and martinis, to the point where driving is severely impaired and most likely impossible, which means sleaping on the couch in the house, or the table in the studio...TOP


As I have said before the best thing that can be said about 2001 is "It's Over!"

2002 HAS to be better, and from the feedback I have received from all over the world, everyone seems to believe that 2002 will be a great year.

I want to thank all of you for the wonderful, heartfelt messages we have received here. It is such a pleasure to know that so many of you are reading and paying attention to our efforts here. We once again extend our sincere best wishes to everyone for a happy and healthy 2002.

I must get back to work, but first...I have to feed the new baby pony, Rosey's new baby...named Princess...only 2 weeks old, and already full of energy and spunk. Keeps me grounded.

Magically yours,


January 3, 2002 (Los Angeles) Greeting friends. Here it is, my firstl column of 2002. 2001 was a rough year, but the future looks bright. As John Lennon said, "can't get no worse". The year was not all bad, I don't want to sound like a pessimist. But the events of Sept. 11th have changed the world forever, and 2001 will always be remembered for that. All of us have to look around and make changes in our lives in some way. I believe you will find more people not taking life for granted any more. If nothing else, besides being a horrific tragedy, 9/11 served as a wake-up call. Life is precious, and it is fleeting. Any one of us, or our loved ones, could be felled by terrorism or any danger, at any moment. We must learn to savor the time we have on this planet, enjoy the time we spend with family and friends, and find meaning and pleasure in the little things that so often go unnoticed.


July 1st marked one year since we first went "live" with this web portal. It wasn't until October of this year that we actually opened for business, and as I have stated from the beginning, this is a work in progress which will never be finished. It will constantly evolve as we add new features and individuals to the mix. My friend Tony Brook, our Director of International Operations assures me he has many ideas and concepts up his sleeve to enhance Magic Web Channel, and we will be making some exciting announcements in the coming months from Europe and the UK about new things that will make you all very happy.

In this first year, we have seen the number of visitors increase steadily. We are still nowhere near our goals, but we are encouraged by the support and guidance of our staff and our Panel of Magical Advisors.(Be sure and check out our new Magic Spotlight on our advisors, this month, it's Walter "Zaney" Blaney). The magic community has embraced us, and all agree that we are on the right track to building the most important website in the world of magic. Being the perfectionist that I am, I have not allowed the advertising campaigns to begin yet, as I feel that some of our important features are not ready. We're almost there. The response to our Performer's Directory has been fantastic, and as you can see, the service of providing magicians for all events is coming along fine. We have provided magicians for nearly 100 birthday parties, company events and private functions, and we expect that number to grow as we begin to market our services to talent buyers and companies worldwide.

As the year comes to an end, I want to thank all of you who have voiced your support and approval for Magic Web Channel. The phone calls, cards, emails and letters mean a great deal to all of us.TOP


On January 2nd, 1963, the doors were first opened at 7001 Franklin Avenue and the magic world has been so much better because of it. The Magic Castle turns 38 this year. An amazing success story that was the brainchild of Bill & Milt - the brothers Larsen. Milt spent almost a full year renovating the old mansion in the Hollywood Hills and he's still at it. He considers the Castle to be a "work in progress" (heard that before?), and there never seems to be an end to the projects and ideas that he is always at work on. When the place first opened, there was no restaurant, only a bar. Only one floor was open, and guests sat around what was "Irma's Room" as the invisible piano player entertained with show tunes and requests, and the first resident magician, Jay Ose, presented his special brand of close-up magic. Founding member Mark Wilson levitated his lovely wife Nani, and the picture made it into the next week's issue of Newsweek.

A lot has changed since then. Irma's room is now the Close-Up Gallery, which is now under contruction with a major facelift. Irma is situated in her own room. And now there are more theatres and bars to handle the hundreds of guests that flock to the only place in the world that showcases the world's top magical entertainers seven nights a week. A world class dining experience is part of the mix, and the membership of the Academy of Magical Arts has grown to over 5,000 strong. On Jan 2nd, members gathered for the annual event that commemorates the date, sip champagne and nibble on finger food. MIlt was in fine form as he addressed the members, pointing out the progress and future of this great place. Besides Milt, Mark and Nani Wilson (who were also present) were the only 2 people who were there in 1963 when the place first opened its doors. It's hard to imagine the world of magic without The Magic Castle, and we all continue to show our appreciation to the Brothers Larsen for their vision and dedication in following through on the dream of their father, William Larsen, Senior. A good time was had by all, captured on digital film by James Williams on still camera, and Jan Dacri, who captured the Palace proceedings on video. It will also be interesting to see what Arlene's video camera captured, mounted on a table, running continuously, with guests taking turns to record their own messages and (?).



As the curtain falls on 2001, it is our hope that world peace will be on the menu for 2002 and beyond. The economy of the United States has been hurt by the events of 9/11, and that affected the entire world. The future, according to the experts who study this stuff, tell us that we will see a vast improvement in the coming months, and most analysts believe we will see major imporvements in most industries and sectors.

The magic business was affected in many ways. Shows were cancelled, plans for entertainment and parties were scaled down, if not eliminated during that past 3 months. People had less money to spend, so the magic dealers reported a downturn in sales. Magic performers who normally update and revise their acts and pruchase new props have decided to wait, so everyone in the magic community has been affected by the ripple of uncertainty that has infiltrated our lives.

We gaze into the crystal ball and see brightness. I predict that 2002 will be a great year. The economy will turn around, the war will end, and those people responsible for the terror of 9/11 will be brought to justice, one way or the other.

Jan, Brent and Jesse join me in wishing you all the best for a bright, happy and healthy New Year. We are now off on our first road trip of 2002. We'll file a report from the road.

God Bless America.
Magically yours,



For obvious reasons, the focus is not on the magic world today. Or on entertainment. I'll try to be back to Magic Web Channel next week.

It's hard to concentrate on much. The images won't go away. The horror and pain that so many thousands are experiencing right now, and the untold numbers of people who have died remains the basis for all waking hours. It's a constant reminder of the fragility of life and the insanity of it all. It certainly makes everything else - and I do mean EVERYTHING ELSE - seem not so significant.

Suddenly, the problems at work are not so critical. You realize that life should never be taken for granted. You realize that the most important thing in your life is your family and your friends, followed by your health and well-being. Without those things, life is not fulfilling.

I am very familiar with American Airlines Flight 11, I have been on it many, many times, leaving Boston at 8 in the morning and arriving back here in Los Angeles in time for dinner. Just like the people on that plane Tuesday were doing. Unfortunately for them, the random nature of death, and the calculated work of a group of sick people, ended their lives in a flash. To be targeted for violence on the basis of political or religious beliefs, or just because it will send a message is senseless.

As the world has seen, Americans are proud, and tough. We will not allow this terrorist attack to force us to live in fear, wondering where and when the next target will fall. Instead, with the support or most of the other great nations, we will take the necessary steps to do what is required to rid the world of these enemies of freedom.

It is not my intention to pontificate or editorialize, just making an observation on the state of things here. On one hand, New York City is far away and we are not affected in the same way, but here in Los Angeles, everywhere you look, it's in your face. People are sad, angry, pre-occupied. It's as if it happened right here. The television screens bring it right into every person's living room.

Many of us either grew up near, or have visited, that area of Manhattan. One of my best friends, John Fedyck, works next to the towers (I spoke with him within the hour of the crashes, he narrowly escaped the explosions.) I have sat in the restaurant "Windows of the World" on the top floor of that tower many times. Now it doesn't exist. I have a poster in my office with the New York skyline. It is impossible to look at it within seeing those planes crashing.

One thing is very clear. Life will go on, however, life as we know it, will be forever changed. And certainly air travel will never be the same.

On behalf of everyone here at Magic Web Channel, we thank our many International friends who have called us and sent messages of concern and condolence. In particular, thanks for the volume of emails from all over the UK and Dublin. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families and friends in this horrible tragedy.
God Bless America.
Jan & Steve Dacri


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