Performer brings illusions to Fitzhugh Road
By Joe Olivieri
The great magicians of old have died or retired, but the illusions they popularized are as entertaining as ever.
John "Magic" Wright said he aimed to bring magic to a new generation when he opened Magic's Theater & Museum on Fitzhugh Road in December 2013.
"Whatever is old is new again," he said. "I am showing them tricks that magicians wouldn't even think about today, but to the lay audience it's brand new.
"There's no [expiration date] on magic," he continued. "If it fooled an audience in the 1930s it can fool you. The trick either works or it doesn't."
Wright performs an hourlong stage act in his 100-seat theater on Saturdays. Admission costs $12 for children ages 4 to 17 and $18 for adults.
"I don't put in illusions that would frighten little kids," he said. "I don't want those images in their heads. I've [been told that after the show] a 4-year-old will be running around the house holding cards saying, 'Magic, magic. Look Mommy, magic.'"
Wright said he warms up younger audiences by performing sleight of hand magic outside of the theater. He said younger audiences are unaccustomed to live performances, so he teaches them to clap after he performs a trick.
"I say, 'I don't do this for the money. I do it for [the applause],'" he said. "That has helped [to get them engaged]."
Wright said he performs for audiences of all ages.
"What you find is the parents are fooled as much as the kids," he said. "They'll turn to the kids and go, 'Little Johnny, how did it work? Did you figure it out?' And they're the ones not getting it."
- A replica of Harry Houdini's Chinese water torture cell
- Sculptures "The Travelling Magician" and "1877 School Days" from sculptor John Rogers
- A 1924 Carter the Great "Vanishing The Elephant" poster
- Magician Doug Henning's wardrobe, props and photographs
- Magician Cardini's photographs and awards plaque
- Photographs and posters of magicians David Copperfield, Dean Dill, Fred Kapps, Professor Dai Vernon and
- Lance Burton
Source: Magic's Theater and Museum
John 'Magic' Wright
John "Magic" Wright said he has been performing magic for 41 years. He said he wanted to become a magician at age 19 after watching a levitation act.
He said he began visiting a famous magic shop called Hollywood Magic in Los Angeles.
"The guys that work behind the counter are magicians," he explained. "You buy a trick from them, [learn it], go back and show them that you actually learned it. That's how you build the relationship."
He said he also watched VHS tapes of magic performances back when VHS first came out in the late 1970s.
Wright said he wanted to have a stage act. He practiced and later booked gigs at The Magic Castle, a famous magic venue in Los Angeles.
As a day job, he decided to go into craft services, providing food on the sets of television shows and movies.
He said he worked on "T.J. Hooker" and "Fantasy Island," as well as movies "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" and "Men in Black II."