University Disaster

Magic Horror Stories

I was performing three illusions in a variety show at a local University. I instructed the crew that for my performance I would need to set up before hand on a card table (that they needed to provide) behind the curtain and technically *All* I needed was a portable mic and a spotlight. I showed up an hour before performance and was told that all was well and to come back stage prior to the vocalist. When I went back stage the two crew members showed me a large table upon which to set up on, fine. The curtain opened and there were three standing mic's set as a wall between the audience and me..... No one jumped up to move them so I walked towards the standing microphone wall to place the three poles aside, the mics were on, and so was my portable ******* Loud squeal. I stepped back (away from the Mics) to find that stage hands had moved my table up. I slammed into the table and my stratosphere spilled balls everywhere, Rocky hit the floor, And a Svengali deck was mixed without hope of return. Magic all over the floor.

I looked around and no one was there to shut the curtain...... so I picked up the balls stating, "That's a fun way to start an act (I started with a smile)" - a woman yelled out - "you forgot the fourth ball", as I was gathering the magic parts and rocky. Finally the stage hands appeared and picked up my table. I decided I would end with a quick mind reading card act instead of with the stratosphere, since the extra ball was seen, I started with a mental effect out of psychological Subtleties by Banacheck and the girl chose the wrong flower. I had a quick save line to bring her up to the stage and I realized I didn't have the Svengali Deck so I couldn't perform Living and Dead with a volunteer....... SO I included her in my Rocky the raccoon act. Rocky went over well.

Then my hours of practice DIDN'T pay off.....

I without thinking immediately went into my stratosphere act. It always came after Rocky. After a few seconds a couple of skaters yelled out "Spoiled Trick". I smiled and continued my story and act (what else could I do). The Illusion was done, I received a polite clap and the curtains were closed. As they closed I sighed a short "Ohhh Well" and the MC yelled out (to the audience ) Paul... your Microphone is still on! Trying to make the best of the situation I yelled out a University cheer in a booming voice with the universities name attached at the end and thanked them for attending. After which I promptly turned off my microphone. The MC UN-politely said "Ummm yea, very funny Paul."

I packed up my things and left, Later when asked by the university paper about my act, I told them "Now you've seen the worst I can do, Just wait until next time when I show you the best!"

That experience almost made me throw in the magical towel.... to bad I had invested so much time, money , effort and love for this profession....... I might have found a lovely job in Marine Biology or Law.

P.S. You know what they say, you learn more from pain then pleasure. And Henry Ford once said "Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently"

Fall 1999

Paul W. Draper