Obsessed with Magic Since the 1970s

By Tom Interval

Mark Wilson, Nani Darnell Wilson, Bev Bergeron, stars of The Magic Land of Allakazam, 1960

Cast of Allakazam, 1960

What captured your imagination as a child? For me, it was magic.

About six years before I sprang from the womb, a young illusionist named Mark Wilson developed The Magic Land of Allakazam, the first magic show to be videotaped and syndicated. The show, which ran for four years on CBS and ABC, precipitated a resurgence of magic.

Marshall Brodien with TV Magic Cards

Marshall Brodien

Although I was too young to remember Allakazam, I was ripe and ready to watch magic by the early 1970s. Around that time, Marshall Brodien, another, lesser-known, magician, pitched his TV Magic Cards on television. He deftly manipulated the deck with ease as he promised that I, too, could change an entire deck of different cards to 52 Aces of Spades.

I was hooked.

Bill Bixby in a promotional photo for The Magician, a 1970s TV series

Bill Bixby as The Magician

As the decade progressed, magic became a true obsession for me, thanks to even more magic on television, including a short-lived prime-time detective series starring Bill Bixby called The Magician and annual magic specials by Doug Henning and David Copperfield.

During this time, my parents gave me a magic kit, and I requested catalogs from magic suppliers such as the TV Magic Catalog Company, Abracadabra Magic Shop, Louis Tannen, and many more. I pored over those catalogs for hours at a time, and my mother bought me some inexpensive tricks from them. There was nothing better than getting a small package in the mail, especially when it contained magic.

Cover of TV Magic catalog, circa 1979

TV Magic Catalog, circa 1979

Reading as many magic books as I could get my hands on, I practiced a variety of tricks and sleight-of-hand moves for hours each day, often staying up all night. And thanks to my parents buying me some used magic supplies from a local magician called Seppak, I was able to piece together a raw, 30-minute act I could perform at children’s birthday parties.

I got my first paid gig when I was 12 years old, not much older than most of the audience members. I can still remember the euphoria I felt during that performance as I accomplished such feats as changing one ball into four and linking and unlinking eight solid steel rings.

Performing the Mismade Lady

Performing the Mismade Lady

It wasn’t too long after that when I joined the two main magic organizations in the United States, the Society of American Magicians (SAM) and the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM), as well as a local magic club called the Mystic Magicians. I even attended a magic camp in New York and won a local magic contest when I was 18. At the same age, I taught my first magic class at a community college and started to offer private lessons to adults and children. Teaching turned out to be one of my favorite pursuits.

San Diego magician Tom Interval posing with a fanned deck of cards with a jumbo card protruding

Age 18

I got some gigs mostly at community and private events, performing everything from card tricks to the stage illusion of cutting a woman into fourths. While developing my technique and performing style, I studied the shows of many famous modern magicians, including Copperfield, Henning, Blackstone, and Wilson, all of whom I was fortunate enough to meet. I conducted more public and private magic classes and worked as a demonstrator at a local magic shop.

After successfully auditioning for Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia, I worked there full time for about a year as a resident magician, portraying a medieval conjurer, complete with a period costume and lousy British accent.

San Diego magician Tom Interval in his Busch Gardens costume

In silly Busch Gardens costume with even sillier mustache

While at Busch, I polished some of my favorite magic routines and newfound acting skills as I performed four to six magic shows each day. I also trained magic-shop employees and represented the park during a regional media tour, performing magic at hospitals and on a few local talk shows along the East Coast. I even got to introduce Mark Wilson before his performance on opening day.

The Busch contract ended, but I continued to perform magic semiprofessionally as I worked part time and attended college full time. I graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and minors in communications and management and worked full time as a writer and editor in the marketing-communications departments of two companies.

While doing those corporate gigs, I still performed and taught magic, published some instructional articles in a national magic trade journal, conceived and created a Houdini-related website, and had supporting roles in an independent film and sitcom.

Magician Tom Interval performing in San Diego

Tom Interval amazing someone

After moving to San Diego, I ultimately decided to pursue magic professionally again, registering the business and joining the Academy of Magical Arts (AMA), The Magic Castle. I’m excited to say that, as of this writing, I’ve been doing business in this fine city for more than seven years.

This is where you enter the story.

If you’ve read this far, I assume you’re serious about either learning magic from me or booking me to perform at your personal or corporate event. Call me biased, but I think that’s a great idea, not only because I’d be honored to have your business but because I’m absolutely dedicated to providing you with the best possible service your money can buy.

My services include the following:

Performing: entertaining and mind-blowing close-up and stand-up magic for trade shows, sales meetings, company parties, community organizations, libraries, schools, wedding receptions, holiday gatherings, cocktail parties, birthdays, and more

Teaching: beginning to advanced private and public lessons for adults and children, with included props, follow-up summaries, and video tutorials

Speaking: interactive presentations about the performance, history, and science of magic and about the life and career of Harry Houdini

Interviewing: Interviews for print, broadcast, and online media about the performance, history, and science of magic and about the life and career of Harry Houdini and other magicians

Consulting: expert magic consultation for theater productions, television shows, film

Collaborating: collaboration with psychologists and neuroscientists regarding the psychology and neuroscience of magic

Publishing: researching, writing, and publishing projects relating to magic and magicians

Retailing: distribution of beginning to advanced magic tricks, books, and accessories

If you’d like more information about any of these services, please call me at 619-800-3780, or email me at tom@intervalmagic.com so we can discuss your needs. In the mean time, please browse my website, intervalmagic.com, and follow me @intervalmagic on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. I look forward to meeting you soon!





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San Diego magicians, magic shows, lessons, classes




About Tom Interval

San Diego Magician Tom Interval, owner of Interval Magic, provides magic entertainment and training to private and corporate clients locally and nationally. A member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM), Society of American Magicians (SAM), and the Academy of Magical Arts (AMA), Interval has captivated tens of thousands of people at numerous venues, including Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia. With a BA in professional writing and minors in communications and business administration, Interval writes magic-related e-books, magazine articles, and blogs and produces tutorials and related videos for his YouTube channel. Most recently, Interval earned The Linking Ring Award of Excellence for a cover story he wrote for the magicians' publication. To learn more, please visit https://www.intervalmagic.com.
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