Welcome to the life of a magician!
I live on the West Coast of Canada in the city of Surrey located a few miles southeast of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics). At the time of posting this “brief “ history, I recently celebrated my 57th birthday and find it hard to believe that I am only a couple of years off the half century mark as a comedy magic performer for all ages.
Looking back, my first official magic show was in 1964 for an audience of about 30 children and adults at a Halloween party held at an East Vancouver community center. My Mother worked at the center – hence my big break. I was 9 years old and had gotten a box of magic tricks at Christmas, some hand made by my Father. The magic bug had bitten hard and I took out every book in the library on the subject and then managed to hammer together a passable demonstration of tricks, little knowing that magic would become my lifelong passion. No one else in my family had the slightest interest in magic, and with no mentors to show me the way it was all trial and error using friends and family as guinea pigs. Convincing people I could do the impossible appealed to me and so began my magical journey which continues to this day.
Some time after that first show a lady who managed a small dance/music school contacted me. She had put together a “Concert Party” made up of several of her students. The idea was to give fledgling dancers and musicians experience performing in front of a live audience, and in return provide entertainment for those not able to get about. Come to think of it, they really were captive audiences as most had no choice but to sit and watch. My job was to provide light comedy in the program and keep everyone awake. We performed as a troupe at least twice a week in various facilities, the usual venue being a hospital ward, mental institution, care home, detention facility (yes, we did prisons too!), or sometimes a local civic celebration. I was with the group for 7 years before breaking away and learned from experience to speak and perform before an audience and instinctively knew how to get the best reaction. No money, but I gained a wealth of knowledge for which I am eternally grateful!
In my late teens I was regularly booked for children’s parties by those who had seen or heard of me through the concert party programs. As I grew older and more experienced, talent agencies often sought me out to do larger venues. At age 19 (the legal drinking age in BC) I did a few weeks at a strip parlor as a filler act between dancers. This resulted in my first experience with hecklers and taught me how to keep the audience on my side. I also found that being a suave sophisticated magician was not the right image – it was much easier (for me at least) to make people laugh. I was now performing larger magic and illusions at shopping malls, nightclubs, variety stage shows and festivals. The local advertising agency for the McDonalds Corporation approached me in 1976 to be Ronald McDonald for BC, so I put aside my regular act for one and a half years and donned the famous red wig and make-up to appear at restaurant openings and special events.
In 1977 (with much relief) I hung up the clown shoes and regained my own personality. Back to “normal”, I began doing shows again and married my assistant. We have been married for 35 years and have performed our show at hundreds of venues throughout BC and other provinces, the US, Japan – and are still going strong. In between we have managed to raise a family, won several stage and comedy awards for our act, and I have also served as president for two magic clubs, secretary for a third, and this last year helped launch a fourth!
I regularly do shows for agencies, repeat clients, and client referrals and constantly update, revamp, and re-invent myself to keep the entertainment fresh. If you need great comedy entertainment for your next special event and would like further information on shows and how to book Bruce Hunt (or Merlin), please go to the contact page of this web site.