Day in the Work Life: Magician

Judith Ritter May 29, 2009

Day in the Work Life: Magician

Judith Ritter May 29, 2009


TESS VIGELAND:Well we just heard how easy it is to transform your IRA. No need for magic spells or slights of hand.

But on this week’s A Day in the Work Life, we’ll meet someone who practices his own form of abracadabra every day.

GARY FLESHER TO AUDIENCE: Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I’m Glenn Gary and welcome to “Horror Magic”!

I’m Gary Flesher. I’m a professional full-time magician. I’ve been on-stage since probably I was five or six as an actor, singing, dancing.

The magic bug did not bite me until, I was 15 and I saw a professional magician. After the show, I went up to him and asked him, “How did you start it? How did you learn this?” And he gave me the address for Abbots Magic Manufacturing Company. I spent one week’s salary from the theater and ordered just a bunch of magic apparatus.

When it came in, my mother saw it and she said, “Well, if you can spend a whole week’s salary for this junk, you don’t need my support.”

All magicians have to start out with amateur shows. And we do the little birthday parties, and the family gatherings, and shows for the friends. And hopefully we grow.

I haven’t been nervous for years, except the first time that I played the Magic Castle. The Magic Castle is in Hollywood. It’s the place in the world for a magician to perform. I was in the green room and all of a sudden, I hear the announcer saying, “Put your hands together for Mr. Glenn Gary!”

I got the worst case of butterflies. My hands were visibly trembling. I had to stop, I just looked out at the audience. I said, “I’m sorry, you will have to excuse me. Would you care if I just started all over again?”

Magic and magicians are a fraternity, but we’re also competitive when it comes to marketing and getting shows. My show here at the Westin hotel, I do a show every Wednesday and Saturday night, and it’s my responsibility to fill the room. This is a business and we’re here to make money.

In this economic times, of course, people are watching their dollars and I’m getting more and more people calling up, saying, “How much is this show? Oh, it’s that much? Well thank you, we’ll have to attend another time.”

There’s some magicians making $1 million. I’m not one of them. $100,000 is a good salary for today’s magician.

Flesher to audience: I’m going to give four people in the audience the opportunity to select one envelope.

It’s not the trick, it’s not the magic. It’s how you make it entertaining to your audience.

Vigeland: That was magician Gary Flesher. A Day in the Worklife was reported by Judith Ritter.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.