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August 8, 2005
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Last Week's Article

Centenary, Labor Day Telethon and Israel...



John Fisher, Michael Bailey, John Calvert and Paul Daniels at the conclusion of the
London Celebrations (Photo Courtesy Mandy Davis)

LAS VEGAS - As the Magic Circle Centenary Celebration ended last week in London, we have been getting word that it was a very special event, a memorable happening with raves about the schedule, the acts, the shows, etc. We hope to have more details later, but suffice it to say kudos to Michael Bailey, John Fisher and the entire team of workers and volunteers who made the event flow smoothly. Not an easy task, as you can imagine. For more photos and info click here to visit the official Centenary site of The Magic Circle.



Television has few traditions as strongly ingrained as the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon.

I am honored to be a part of the show this year. I will be presenting close-up- magic for Jerry and the millions of viewers, with multiple cameras, including an overhead boom, giving folks a chance to "catch" the magic.

Adults who used to watch as kids now introduce their own children to the star-studded variety show that simultaneously entertains, informs and raises funds for the service and research programs of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Comedy legend Jerry Lewis, national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and star of its world-renowned Labor Day Telethon, announced today that his 21-hour television special will move this year from CBS Television City in Los Angeles to the International Ballroom of The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif.

"We’re excited about the new location for our show,” Lewis said. “The Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom is one of the greatest facilities in the United States. It’s also home to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Awards broadcast.”

The Beverly Hilton’s general manager, Denny Fitzpatrick, said, “Over the Labor Day weekend, our red carpet will be out for Jerry Lewis and the MDA Telethon and all its celebrity and sponsor guests. We’re proud to be associated with Jerry Lewis and MDA.”

This will be the 40th consecutive year for the Telethon, which originated over the Labor Day weekend in 1966 from the Grand Ballroom of the Americana Hotel in New York.

The schedule is not yet set, but I have been told that I will perform on Sunday (4th) evening. The Telethon is carried on some 190 television stations throughout the United States, as well as on cable in Canada. It’s also seen worldwide on the Internet.

I urge everyone to tune in and - more importantly - to call in a pledge for "Jerry's kids"



2 - 4 - Magic on the Beach - 11th Annual - Foutainbleau Hotel, Miami Beach, FL

Also happening on Labor Day Weekend (along with the traditional Texas gathering TAOM, which always takes place during the Labor Day time period), is the 11th annual Miami magic extravaganza, "Magic on the Beach". The is another fun time, and Ricky Dee promises a fab line-up that you can read about right here...


MARS (Magic at The Red Sea) is scheduled for September, and will be Israel's first major convention, and according to the producer, and Tony Brook, it promises to be a great event, and the first of a planned annual convention.

Many people have emailed me and epressed concern over visiting that area of the world, but rest assured, as you will see in the article and interview from Tony, the place is safe and secure and beyond beautiful. They have a great line-up and I am sure it will be a much talked-about event in the magic world.

Read all about it here. For the interview that Tony conducted with Roei Zaltsman - MARS Convention Producer, click here.



As mentioned last time, we have a complete collection of photos...all taken by Jan during the recent Reno IBM convention. You can read the article on the convention in last week's column, and the photos are a gas. Thanks for all the feedback on the highlights and the photos.



I hate to talk about disappointments in the world of magic, but must make mention of this whopper. Local entertainment columnists have already dubbed this show (which, thankfully, is closed and not scheduled to ever play here again) the "Heaven's Gate" of magic.

A guy named - never mind, he doesn't deserve a mention in this or any media - we'll call him "Paul" - rented a theatre at the Aladdin for two nights (that would be two nights too many) to present a horrible illusion show called Spellbinder. The only people who were spellbound were the investors,mostl of whom were hiding their eyes in the audience. This guy conned a bunch of investors out of $8 million, and obviously pocketed alll of it, then built a "show" with a few thousand dollars. The show was beyond awful. Audience members, as was reported in the local papers, were seen RUNNING out of the theatre after about 20 minutes of the worst show in Vegas history (according to one of the town's top producers). False legs popped into view, large boxes were not working, trap doors visible, people seen slipping into boxes, a real horror show, with audience members streaming out.

As one reviewer said to me, "All ego, no talent."

How someone like this guy could ever convince people to invest in a show with no apparent value is beyond me. Many of the investors are preparing lawsuits as a result of this mess. The audience should be compensated. This guy needs to find a new line of work. The tickets were free, I believe to most of us (I was asked to come along by one of the producers in hopes that I could assist in improving the show. After the first five minutes, I leaned over and told the producer that I did not want to be a part of this show, ever.) The only was this show could be improved would be to burn everything and start all over with somebody that has a slight bit of talent.

A few unknowing tourists did purchase tickets, and from what I was told, every one of the paid ticket holders stood in line after the show and demanded their money back.


This guy, the "star" has been building illusions for many "top" performers, and claims that he has "held back" many great, innovative, never-before-seen illusions just for this show. Rick Thomas told me that this guy has been shopping this show idea around for nearly ten years!

The guy claimed that this show would re-invent the world of magic. How wonderful it must be to reside in the feeble mind of this guy who believes his own hype. The illusions were terrible. Actually, most every trick involved the same premise,: an ugly box of some sort, sitting atop a big, thick,base, inside which people were seen hiding. Then, they would crawl up into the box, through a trap door, in complete view of the stunned audience. One Illision took almost TEN MINUTES from the time a guy was placed into it, and when he was supposed to vanish. It was insulting to the audience. My favorite illusion was the box that was wheeled out, and after five agonizing minutes of watching people walk around it and point, the box was wheeled back off the stage. Nothing happened. It was great!

Ugly costumes, bad music (oh yes, there was a rock band onstage playing annoying music the whole time, and the audience kept yelling for them to "disappear") and the lighting was like a bunch of flashlights with bad batteries.

I mention all of this only because all of the magicians (and, no...I am not putting Wyrik in this category) that were invited to attend shared the view that shows like this hurt all of us, and make it difficult for any of us to survive when people assume magic is at the low end of the entertainment scale. It angers me when I see such junk on a stage, especially here in Vegas, where the top entertainers are supposed to be performing. (Then again, how does one explain Dirk Arthur?)

Thankfully, the end came (but not soon enough), and when the lights came up, only a handful of dazed audience members remained, many were sleeping, others were playing cards and checkers among themselves.

So, if you ever see a show called "Spellbinder" advertised anywhere (I doubt it will ever be seen again, but you never know how many others might be conned into investing) be warned - run in the other direction.


And so it goes...

Magically yours,



Last Week's Article


IBM Reno Convention highlights and photos

Paul Winchell dies

Jay Marshall has left the building

RIch Thomas new baby tiger steals the show

Dublin Invasion

Johnny Carson says his final good-night

Johnny Thompson Gala Event in Vegas

Gerry & The Pacemakers

Previous AbracaDACRI Columns

Tony Brook's "In Conversation With..."


Disclaimer:The opinions expressed in this or any of our columns represent the opinions of the writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Magic Web Channel or it's Esteemed Panel of Magic Advisors. (The lawyers made us say that.)
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