A Royal Pain

By Tom Interval

A young heckler

A young heckler

Paul Daniels, the brilliant UK magician who sadly died a few months ago, once got a call from a prominent woman asking him to perform for a children’s party. Although Paul normally didn’t perform for children, he made an exception.

There was a young boy in the audience making noise, blurting out what he thought was the secret to the classic Chinese linking rings trick, and basically disrupting the show at every turn. Paul had had enough.

He told the child to approach the performing area, grabbed him by the lapels, picked him straight up, and said, “Now look, son, one day you will be King of England, and then you can have my head chopped off. But in the mean time, you will sit down, you will shut up, and you will be good because this isn’t your party and you mustn’t spoil it.”

From the audience, the prominent woman gave Paul the double thumbs-up as she whispered, “Yes, yes, yes!” No one had spoken to the child like that before. Why? Because the boy was a young Prince William, a guest of the prominent woman—Princess Michael.

Today William celebrates his 34th birthday.

William, second in line to the British throne, is a helicopter pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) in the UK. As far as I know, magic is not one of his hobbies. But it’s no surprise he heckled Paul during the linking-rings routine. William’s father, Prince Charles, is an amateur magician and member of The Magic Circle in London. During his childhood, William must have seen Charles perform many magic tricks, including the linking rings.

To hear Paul tell this story in his own words, watch his video on YouTube. He also mentions it in his autobiography, Under No Illusion.


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In Memory of Dante the Magician

By Tom Interval

Dante (Harry August Jansen)

Dante (Harry August Jansen)

Harry August Jansen—the renowned magician known as Dante—died 61 years ago today.

Born in Denmark on October 3, 1883, Dante was one of the last of the great performers of the Golden Age of magic. Others before him included Alexander Herrmann (1844–1896), Harry Kellar (1849–1922), and Howard Thurston (1869–1936).

Dante emigrated to the United States when he was a child and went on to become one of the most famous magicians of his era, performing such illusions as Sawing A Woman In Half, Backstage, and Cords of Phantasia.

He died of a heart attack at his ranch in Northridge (Los Angeles), California, and is buried at the San Francisco Columbarium.

Further Reading:

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Harry Blackstone Jr. Died 19 Years Ago Today

By Tom Interval

Harry Blackstone, Jr. and 14-year-old San Diego magician Tom Interval

Harry Blackstone Jr. and 14-year-old San Diego magician Tom Interval, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1981

In memory of Harry Blackstone Jr., who died on this day 19 years ago, I’m posting this photo again.  I met him in Pittsburgh on June 4, 1981, when my father, Jerry Interval, a professional photographer, was hired to take stills of Harry filming a car commercial. I wrote about the experience on my blog a few years ago on the day of his birthday: Harry Blackstone Jr. Born 79 Years Ago Today. Here’s to your immortality, Harry.

Harry Blackstone Jr.
(June 30, 1934 – May 14, 1997)



Posted in Anniversaries, Famous Magicians, Harry Blackstone Jr., television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bill Bixby’s Floating Ball

By Tom Interval

From 1973–1974, Bill Bixby starred in The Magician, a prime-time television series about a wealthy magician who uses his unique skills to outwit bad guys trying to victimize those who ask for the conjurer’s help. In this popular promotional photo, Bixby is levitating a steel ball, a classic trick known in the magic circle as the Zombie Ball. The image was begging to be animated, so I obliged. Hope you enjoy. Keep your eyes open for more posts about Bixby and The Magician in the near future. (Animation copyright 2016 Tom Interval)

Bill Bixby as The Magician. Animation Copyright 2016 Tom Interval.

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Happy 81st, Harry!

By Tom Interval

Harry Blackstone Jr., Pittsburgh, 1981 (Photo: Jerry Interval)

Harry Blackstone Jr., Pittsburgh, 1981 (Photo: Jerry Interval)

Harry Blackstone Jr., the last great Golden Age-caliber magician, would have celebrated his 81st birthday today. Born on June 30, 1934, Harry was a superb entertainer whose classic style was, and is, unmatched in the world of magic. His commanding, honey-smooth speaking voice, flawless comic timing, original magic illusions, affable demeanor, and keen business sense, made him one of the most sought-after performers of his time. I had the pleasure and honor of meeting him in 1981. I could go on and on about that experience, but I’ll save you time by linking to my June 30, 2013, blog entry instead. Wordy tale concise, I got to meet him and speak with him at length during a television commercial shoot, where my father was hired to take still photos. If you have time, please read that blog entry; it’s one of my fondest childhood memories. Anyway, Happy birthday, Harry!

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Global Vision Academy After-School Magic Program Wraps Up

The after-school magic program I was teaching at San Diego Global Vision Academy (SDGVA) wrapped up on June 12. The program, which began in April, ran seven weeks and was the first of its kind offered at the public charter school. Students participating in the classes responded very well, and the school has expressed an interest in having me back later this year.

If you’re an executive or administrator at another school and are interested in offering a similar program to your students, please contact me, and we can arrange to meet and discuss the details. In the mean time, please read the press release for more info and check out some of the photos from the SDGVA program below.

And if you’re one of my former SDGVA magic students, you can now watch all seven video tutorials on the secret Web page I told you about. If you lost the address, no problem. Just send me an email, and I’ll reply with the info you need.

Hope you have a great summer!





















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Time-lapse Card Reveal for Magicians

By Tom Interval

If you’re one of my magic students, or a magician who just happened across my website, here’s a great card reveal you can use right from your smartphone, tablet, or PC. Bookmark this 40-second YouTube video (also embedded below), grab a deck of cards, and find someone willing to see this trick! Have your volunteer pick a card, remember it, and place it back anywhere into the deck. Show them the video, and they’ll be stunned to see the card they selected! If you don’t know the secret to this trick, then you’re either not a magician, or you’re a new student of magic. Either way, if you have a sincere interest in magic, consider taking magic lessons from me, and you’ll soon learn the secret to this great trick and many more! Feel free to contact me now for details.

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