“Celebracadabra.” Say it three times fast. It still sounds kind of funny, doesn’t it. It’s the kind of coined word that sounds patently silly, but once it’s in your head it just won’t leave. Easy to make fun of, yes, but the word ‘prestidigitator’ has a similar Frankensteinian birthright.
At any rate, the word ‘Celebracadabra’ did not exist on the day I first met Chris Martin and Karla Hidalgo, producers of a proposed magic-themed reality show pilot for VH1 that was to be shot in the Los Angeles area. We met at a tony West Side hotel far from my suburban home in Burbank. Chris, a bearded wry young man with an amateur’s enthusiasm for magic, and Karla, a beautiful and businesslike young woman, greeted me with the kind of drawn weathered faces that can only have been preceded by meeting hundreds of other magicians. And what was exactly the case. As we sat and they explained their project to me, it became clear they they had already met every magician I knew, heard of, or saw in photographic form as I flicked through The Magic Castle’s complete file of Genii. I think they even met with Vernon.
Their idea was, on the surface, simple. To my mind it sounded like Dancing with the Stars, but with magic. In other words, several ‘magic coaches’ would train an equal number of celebrities in our mystical art, with eliminations and winners in the manner of any number of reality shows. We talked about the show, my background in television and magic, their vision, and then something happened that I can’t explain. It has happened before, but always without warning, catching me by surprise as much as those around me and affecting my livelihood in both positive and negative ways.
I was suddenly, inexplicably honest.
There’s more where that came from, but in order to read it you’ll need to own a copy of the April 2008 issue of Genii to finish part 1, and May 2008 to finish the article.
Excerpt reprinted with permission from Genii Magazine (Copyright 2008 The Genii Corporation)
Original article written by David Regal