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Robert Banta

I can remember clearly the huge emotional surge I felt when my father created some fantastic illusions and impossibilities. The biggest surge came when he somehow got into my mind and was able to crumble a piece of paper on which I had secretly written a word. He then burned the paper and spread the sashes on his forearm revealing clearly the word I had written. He never revealed the secret!

I was hooked.Then, when I was in second or third grade I picked up and began reading a magic book given to my brother as a gift. I began to explore the possibilities of performing magic myself - it began to work. Another big inspirational moment came when I saw Harry Blackstone Sr. on stage at the Fox Theater in Pomona, California. Wow!

In the years that followed I continued to learn the arts of performing magic to the point I performed before an audience of 300 at our junior high school talent show. However, being in a Southern California high school in those succeeding years demanded attention to girls and hot rods and the magic somehow went a bit dormant. The diversions of college life, 13 years as a US Navy Reserve Officer, marriage to my lovely wife Grace, two wonderful kids, sailing, genealogy and a career as a Mechanical Engineer, mostly in foreign countries, all seemed to put my interests in magic on hold.

Then, like the Phoenix rising up from the ashes spread on my father's arm so long before, I came across a wonderful group of performers at the International Brotherhood of Magicians, Inez Blackstone Kitchen Ring 81 booth on Sarasota Arts Day. A light came on; I remembered my love of magic. At that first Ring 81 meeting in October 2005 I found such a great group of people that are so friendly, accepting and so willing to share with other magicians the secrets of really magical ways. From that first banquet in January 2006 and the meetings that followed I have tread a thin-edged line between putting my disbelief on hold to very enthusiastically enjoy the thrilling performances of truly expert and talented performers and learning how to create magical illusions myself. Both are wonderful and rewarding new facets of my life.

Bill Bremner



He was born in New Wilmington, PA. (Skip ahead), where he graduated from New Wilmington High School. Soon thereafter he entered the US Navy on board a Submarine Tender for 4 years as a pattern maker. (Never knew that men did that) After being discharged he moved to Youngstown Ohio where magic started along with other vents.

One day he saw a TV show promoting magic classes at Kent State College in Akron Ohio. (The bell went off.) He immediately signed up for 23 weeks with Tom Craven and John Owen. This required that he travel back and forth each week (50 miles one way) to complete his classes. During this association Tom Craven became his mentor and he still maintains a friendship after many years. He worked hard at this craft to master the Chop Cup routine, card tricks and many others that he still performs.

After perfecting his skills in magic he shared what he had learned by teaching classes, for 2 years, at the Kent State College Extension in Warren Ohio. He had several articles written about him in the Youngstown Vindicator newspaper regarding his skill in magic, in teaching the art and listings of venues where he had performed. He also appeared on TV with the Good Morning Youngstown Show promoting his classes and to show his mastered skills in magic. (Video is still available from Bill?s 150 copies) His primary goal was to get others interest in learning magic. Teaching magic is still his goal as demonstrated by the close up classes he gives prior to our meetings.

Before moving to Florida in 1987, and joining Ring 81 he was an active member for 14 years of Ring 2 in Youngstown, Ohio. A Ring he still visits when in the area. Every September he heads north for 3 weeks to do magic in Cannel Fulton (who hasn't been there) for the Yankee Peddler craft show.

Bill's passion is magic and computers. When he's not performing, practicing a routine or attending the various magic clubs that where he's a member, he's all over Sarasota and adjoining areas servicing customers who have computer problems. Those of you, who have not seen him at a keyboard, fixing a problem, would not understand why he's known as the Computer Wizard. If you need your computer re-computerized, your fragged hard drive defraged or have him show you a trick while downloading a program give him a call.

Ken Chandler



Chandler was born in Rochester, N.Y., and developed an interest in magic later in life.

After high school, he went into a hospital based program for respiratory therapy. One of his interests was diving and underwater activities. He received a New York State Diver's Certificate. Chandler decided that the tropics were where he wanted to be after spending a year in the Bahamas specializing in underwater medicine. So in 1974 he bought a one-way ticket to Bradenton, Fl, and he has been here since then.

His interest in magic began while working in a high tension area of a hospital where he worked to relax and to relax the staff. Chandler worked mainly with children, so began using magic with his patients. This was the start of his career in magic.

Chandler is a professional magician, mentalist and psychic entertainer and lecturer.

To learn more about Chandler go to his website: Chandler is Magic .

Joe Clifford



My first introduction to magic was when I was twelve years old. Harry Blackstone Sr. came to my hometown of Scranton Pennsylvania. After seeing him perform, I was hooked. I went to our local library and was disappointed that they didn't have a very large selection on magic. Back then, magic was a closely guarded secret. I picked up what they had and started practicing.

Magic was a great way to overcome shyness. It wasn't hard to approach someone and ask if they wanted to see a magic trick.

After finishing school, I joined the Marine Corps. I found a few fellow Marines that were into magic and we helped each other with our hobby.

After I was discharged, I was offered a job in Canada. We were fortunate enough to live in a area that had Magic Rings. I joined three of them. After thirty five years in Canada we moved back to Paradise (Sarasota).

It's been a wonderful experience. Our Sarasota Ring is second to none. Our Ring gives a lot back to the community. The Annual Arts Fair, The Van Wezel Family Fest and The Sun Coast Community Annual Blood Drive to name a few. You always meet interesting people and let them know about our ring. Especially the younger kids. I usually teach them a couple of tricks to get them interested in magic.

One time I was performing at the JCC and had a young boy come over to me and show me a trick that I taught him the previous year. He then showed me a couple of tricks that he learned on his own. It was a good feeling.

It's a great honor to meet magicians that you see on television or have their DVDs. My specialty is close up. I have a lot of fun doing my rubber band magic and every one in our club is always ready to help you out with a new trick.

We Cruise a couple of times a year and I usually do some magic on the ship. It always goes over well. We keep in touch with quite a few people we met on vacation.

The best thing about our hobby is the people in our ring. It really is a Brotherhood that I am proud to belong to.

Au revoir

Josh Corn

                                                     

September 2007 Issue of Magic Magazine
Article: "Sweet Sixteen"

Josh Corn is fascinated by the past and the future.

At nine years old, he was so impressed by a magic performance that he watched a video of a local performer's show over and over until he figured out how each trick was done. As his interest grew and he began reading books on the subject, he discovered that the history of the art was of particular interest to him. "Every time I discovered a 'new' technique in the ancient books, I would quickly ask my parents to run me straight to Home Depot to see if the materials needed to make it were still available today." In his teens, Josh began creating and building his own illusions, giving old classics new twists. For his high school senior class graduation ceremony, he designed, constructed, and performed an original illusion with which he produced two girls... followed by the class president and the assistant principal.

In an interesting relationship story, that very first magician whom Josh was so impressed with became a mentor of the boy. Years later, Elia "Ilan" Chesnoff even hired Josh to work at a magic camp in Miami. "That summer opened my eyes not only to a new side of magic filled with brilliant thoughts on creating a character and using philosophy, but to the benefits of creative brainstorming." Josh decided there and then that his hometown of Sarasota needed a magicians' camp, too.

Working with his mother and Ilan, Josh created Cigma: A Magician's Camp. "We call it a magician's camp, not a magic camp, because we feel it is more important to teach style and performance than just the secrets of tricks." Taking care of the unending details involved in such a huge undertaking was extremely challenging, especially because the young man was 1,000 miles away attending college in Philadelphia. Perseverance won out, however, and on May 29, 2007, Cigma opened with eighteen young attendees. Numbers grew even stronger in the weeks that followed, and he considers his first season a real success.

With his interest in the past history of magic and the future of young magicians, Josh is truly a present to the magic community.


Stevie
Dee


Stevie Dee, alias Steve Smith, Order of Merlin Shield is no stranger to Ring 81. He’s been a member of our Ring since 1973 and has held several positions including Secretary, Historian and President. In 2005 we voted to award him Lifetime Membership in our Ring.

He was a friend of Inez Blackstone Kitchen, the force behind the founding of Ring 81, studied with Slydini, spent many hours with Siegfried and Roy in their Las Vegas home, performed at three Super Bowls in Tampa, and played host to Len Vintus, the first President of the I.B.M. when he visited Sarasota.

Steve performed for 3 years at Disney World, and has done TV shows and commercials. He performed locally at the Jungle Garden for 2 years, at Sharky’s Venice Pier for 3 years and at the Magic Moment Restaurant for 13 years. He was one of a select few to tour Southwest FL performing as the “Oreo Cookie Magician” for Nabisco.

You might think he’d be worn out by now, but you can still see Stevie Dee performing now in Sarasota/Bradenton at Friendly’s, Acapulco, miPueblo and Chick Fil-A. Steve prides himself at performing clean family entertainment which is testimony to his many return engagements. His magic is augmented with his talent for Balloon Art.

He holds dear many of the past magicians who influenced him in his chosen path. They include Blackstone Jr., Doug Henning, Don Alan, Mike Rodgers, Al Goshman, Dia Vernon, Slydini and Karrell Fox. According to Steve, he eats, sleeps and thinks magic.

Steve resides in Bradenton and can be reached at 941-752-9123 or by email at
steviedeemagic@yahoo.com


Joe Floersheimer



At about 9 I was taken under the wing of our dentist who taught me some magic and gave me copies of the Tarbell Course to read. I eventually did shows at local area venues.

Unfortunately I put it aside to attend school, start a business career, get married and raise a family.

When I retired and moved to Sarasota I saw the Magic Shop on Rt. 41. After a visit there I joined Ring 81 and rekindled an old love.

I like doing close up and want to continue learning so as to become more proficient in this discipline.

Dick Johnson


STORY-TELLER AND MAGICIAN


It was as an adult that Dick developed a keen interest in magic. A Youngstown, Ohio, friend took him to the Magic Bar on Market Street there.

Dick was amazed at all the tricks performed by the bartenders, waiters and waitresses. He watched. He noted. He was able to figure out how one successful trick was performed. That hooked him.

When he was working for a living, Dick had a wide assortment of jobs. His career began as a boilermaker's helper on the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad. Then he was a machinist apprentice for Republic Steel. In 1955, Dick left Youngstown and moved to Chicago to participate in the American Contract Bridge League's Summer National Tournament. There he found work as a telegrapher for the Illinois Central Railroad. In 1957, he joined the railroad's public relations department. Eventually, that led him to senior management roles in public relations and advertising at Pullman Incorporated and Ingersoll-Rand Company.

When he moved to Chicago, he continued to develop his interest in magic. Then, when his public relations and advertising work took him to New Jersey, he met a magician, an I. B. M. member, who encouraged him to progress in magic. The friend sponsored Dick in a visit to Ring 113 in New Jersey. There Dick performed his modest repertoire of card and rope tricks sufficiently well to qualify for I.B.M membership in 1990.

Now retired and living in Florida, Dick performs occasionally in a hospital or nursing home or for kids in a summer camp. He enjoys magic and promotes interest in magic. As a measure of success in that effort, he is one of the better sellers of tickets to his Ring?s (#81, Sarasota, Florida) magic shows and annual dinner.

Ed Kaczmarek

Ed Kaczmarek started his magic career when he and a friend attended a magic show at a school auditorium show when he was about 13. During the intermission, the magician got on stage and demonstrated 5 tricks and threw the GIMMICK to each trick in a brown bag and then sold the bags for 25 cents each. Of course Ed and his friend had to have a bag. And that was how he got hooked.

Ed Graduated from Cole Trade High as a Draftsman in 1961 and worked for American Optical in Southbridge, Mass before joining the Navy. He was on the USS Canisteo AO99 refueling picketing ships during the Cuban Missile Crises 1962-1965 as a radio operator. He then worked for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in CT for a year as a draftsman before joining the Air Force. He served in Vietnam in 1966-1970 as an airborne radio operator. After seven years in the service he went to The Western Mass Precision Tool & Die Institute and became a machinist/toolmaker. In 1979. He moved to Bradenton Florida with his wife Doris and two daughters Betsy & Amy. Here he worked for American Beryllium Co. until In the summer of 1981 when he started The Magic Shop. After having the shop for 23 years, in 5 different locations in Bradenton and Sarasota, he closed the doors on May 30th of 2004. Ed is now back to being a machinist at Harmar Mobility in Sarasota, Florida.

During the Magic Shop Day’s, Ed was privileged to meet a lot of great people in magic, too numerous to mention. A memorable visit was from the crew from the Presidents plane. One of them was into magic so they all came in to say hello. Tommy Chong (Cheech & Chong Fame) visited with his wife and spent a couple hours. (bought a vent figure for his teenage son). Ken Klosterman, Past IBM President came and spent a bunch of money on collectibles and then came back a few days later and bought some more. Each day when Ed opened the magic shop, he never knew who was going to show up. Most of the time it was business as usual but about once a month something special happened.

Like being over-run by tiger cubs, incredible. People coming in with huge birds on their shoulder. Famous and not so famous magicians coming in all the time and sharing their magic and stories of their own with other magicians.

Ed joined Ring 81 in 1981 (+/-) and during those years was honored to know Inez Kitchen Blackstone. Inez would attend formal functions that the Ring had or when she was invited. She was always accompanied by Bill Preston, also a past IBM President and a Kentucky Colonel.

Ed was Ring 81 Secretary for 4 years and ring president for 5 years.

Michael Kent


Michael’s interest in magic began in 1968 at the age of 10 in Wichita Kansas when he met Ben and Rene Small, professionally known as “The Benjamins”. Ben was a magician, clown, juggler and ventriloquist. Rene assisted Ben and also sang and played guitar on their full evening variety show. Michael was tutored by Ben and Rene in life and in show business skills.

He joined the Wizards of Wichita Ring 47 and performed his first public magic show at age 12 as “Hoky the Clown”. Michael became interested in theatre and learned set construction with the Crown Players Community Theatre. This interest led him to building his own props and illusions for his own show. Not satisfied with doing just clown make-up, he began to learn about special effects make-up and at the age of 12 made a foam latex “Planet of the Apes” foam latex mask.

By age 15 Michael was performing illusions and clowning with the Noel Bros. Circus in Mulvane KS. He made many TV appearances on KAKE-TV for the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethons as well as some kids shows.

Moving to Winter Haven FL in 1986, he worked for Newmark Scenic Productions as a scenic artist and prop builder. He also worked on TV commercials for Heinz, MasterCard, GNC, Pontiac and Winn-Dixie as well as on two motion pictures.

Michael served as President of the Wizards of Winter Haven, an independent magic club where he produced the annual “Summer Splash” fund raiser and the Annual Banquet Awards show. He also worked for Paul Osborne “Illusion Systems” building puppets and making costumes for his Amusement Park shows.

Michael wrote an “Everything You Need To Know” book on Feather Flower magic and he manufactures and restores feather flower bouquets and magic props.

When Nickelodeon Studios opened up at Universal Studios FL Michael worked in the art department for such shows as “Family Double Dare”, “Total Panic” and “Make the Grade”. Moving to Palmetto in 2006, he was employed as a scenic artist for Field Entertainment, producers of the Siegfried and Roy Vegas stage show, Disney Live stage and ice shows as well as the Ringling Bros. Circus.

Michael is now freelancing as a scenic designer for Manatee Players Theatre in Bradenton. As an actor he has appeared in “Ragtime” as Harry Houdini, “Will Rogers Follies” and “Willie Wonka”.

Gale Molovinsky


I taught high school history in the Phila. area in the early 1960's.....then went to law school 1965-1968. Following graduation, I got an offer to work as a Government procurement attorney in DC, purchasing ships for the Navy, and other assorted federal contracting matters. My office was located directly across the street from Al's (Cohen) Magic Shop!

I had performed magic in high school, dropped it during college & law school, and then got the bug again as I spent my lunch hours in Al's shop. Started doing birthday shows and performed weekends for the next 40+ years. Along the way I developed the GAMOLO LEVITATION which has become the standard levi prop for the magic community. I stopped performing ca.1998 and continued to collect apparatus & vintage stone litho posters.

During the 1970's/1980's I was very active in the local DC IBM & SAM clubs, holding every office, and had the privilege of our local IBM RING hosting the national convention in 1977. I am active in the magic collecting organizations and am also a member of the Magic Castle in LA and the Magic Circle in London.

For most of the last decade my day job was that of a legal recruiter for the major national corporate law firms......prior to that I was a general practitioner. In June, 2010, my wife Arlene retired from teaching school and I retired from recruiting. We decided to downsize and relocate to Sarasota. Upon selling the house we moved here earlier this year. We have two sons and one granddaughter.


David Pitchford



Dave is one of those odd people we run into once in a while "a Florida native." Since his father was a military man David was born on Eglin Air Force Base, Ft. Walton Beach. Being part of a military family, He was very fortunate to be able to travel the world till his teen years.

He has lived in Sarasota ever since starting Ringling School of Art in 1967. Upon attaining his BFA degree he became a laborer, bartender, and property appraiser and has now started his own furniture design business.
He and his wife, Polly, have just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. David is a very proud father of 2 teenage boys, Steve, 15, and Sam, 13.

When David shows an interest in something he tends to go all out and immerse himself fully into it. His magic is no different. His wife can attest to the very late nights he's stayed up practicing, practicing, practicing....and his poor children are forced into watching countless card sleights.

Thanks to the Magic Shop and Ed Kaczmereks' persistence, he joined Ring 81 in 2002 and since then his new found favorite hobby has really taken off. According to him "I never thought that I would actually get to the point of performing in front of an audience."

He's always been fascinated with magic and chose card magic as his primary interest because of the ease of transport, cost and the fact that he owns 39 videos on card magic. It was an easy choice. His dislikes some forms of magic after he learns their secrets. He would much rather be fooled and amazed.

His wish is to continue to improve his close-up skills, to provide enjoyment to others and to keep it fun for himself. He looks forward to many more years of exchanging and sharing with the many great members of Ring 81, and anybody else who is careless enough to say "Show me a card trick."


Robert Scekeres



Oh yes, like so many magicians I had an interest in magic at an early age, and purchased my first 25 cent trick at age nine. My magic interest wasn't a lasting one, as I looked in new directions and more hobbies were coming alive: woodworking, golf, oil painting, and most of all becoming an airplane pilot.

After marrying my wife Dru, and the arrival of our two daughters, I once again dabbled with several card and string tricks; again that was short lived. Between hobbies I did have a work career, and it was in Sales and Marketing with two major rubber companies. In 1978 my entrepreneurial dreams became a reality, when I purchased the Indiana Tire Company, Indiana, Pa. I owned and operated the company through 1990, and then had the opportunity to sell it.

In 1991, Dru and I moved to Paradise (Sarasota), and haven't looked back as we thoroughly enjoy the area. About five years ago my second childhood reared, and here I am back in magic, and enjoying every morsel, and this time it has me hooked. I also enjoy the camaraderie, and friendships that have developed within this great brotherhood of magic.

Windy & Sunny
I.B.M. Order of Merlin Shield



Windy and Sunny have been married for 56 years and have been doing shows together all that time. They were "on the road", living on wheels for almost 30 years doing their comedy magic shows at Fairs, Malls, Department Stores and School Assemblies from Maine to Miami.

They have worked most cities in all states on the east coast -also cruise ships for a while.

Since they retired from the road they have been busy all around the Tampa Bay area with Mobile home parks, Corporate shows, Restaurants, Schools and kids shows.

They say that they will retire when one of us forgets our name.

To visit their website : www.tampabaymagic.com

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