I was born in Rockford, IL in 1975.
When I was about 8 years old, I saw David Copperfield vanish The Statue Of Liberty on TV! It was the coolest thing I had ever seen.
Later that year, I saw a commercial on TV for the Hat Full of Magic Set and it was ALL I wanted for Christmas. I got it and my dad spent Christmas afternoon teaching me how to do the tricks in the set.
I forced my parents and siblings to watch my shows with those same tricks, almost every night for about a month. I gave them a break until months later when David Copperfield came to town. My dad took me to see him and my mind was blown!
Over the next few years, I dreamed more about being a drummer in a rock band, than anything. I fell in love with video games, too.
When I was in 4th grade, I noticed a large crowd in a half circle on the black-top at recess. When I got in to see what was going on, I noticed my friend, Pete standing at the focal point of the group holding a small black box. He put a playing card into it and closed it. When he opened it back up, the card had VANISHED!
I hadn’t seen anyone I know do a magic trick since I was about 8 and another friend of mine and I both had magic sets we practiced with, together. This was a better trick than anything from those kits, I thought! I asked him how it worked after everyone left. He said he could not tell me how it worked, but he could tell me where to get one. I wondered where or what this mysterious place could be. Where could you find an amazing magic trick like this? He said “I got it from K-mart!”
Well, after my dad got home from work, I begged him to take me to Kmart’s toy isle so I could find this magic box. I was 11 years old and had a paper route and my own money.
When I took it to school the next day, Pete told me where I could get more magic tricks! I was very excited. He said that there was a magic shop in town called The Magic Manor. He said that it was run by a really nice guy named “River Boat Richard” that looked like a wizard, and his wife, Patty.
When my dad came home from work, I begged him to take me to The Magic Manor.
For the next several years, I took my paper route money to that shop every weekend and purchased books and props. I signed up to go to lectures by professional magicians from all over the world that were brought in to teach not only magic tricks, but how to perform and how to turn the hobby into an art form and a business, as well.
I did both within a year. I was the only kid in school who had his own business.
Nearly every penny I earned went right into the business. I was no longer only paying for props, books, classes and lectures, but I was also paying for advertising, staging equipment, sound equipment and more.
Decades years later, all of this is still true and on a much larger scale.
I have performed on 3 other continents! I’ve performed in Netherlands (Amsterdam), Africa (Cairo, Egypt) and Asia (Yaita, Japan).
Just a few years into performing (in 8th grade), I met Todd Ripplinger, who became my best friend and business partner for about a decade who I performed with in Japan! That story can be found under the “ABOUT” tab in “The ‘T’ of TnZ Magic” drop-down tab.
Thank you for reading!