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Master magician Johnny Thompson talks about illustrious career (Includes interview)

“I started out as a boy of eight, that saw a movie about a Mississippi River boat gambler, and that’s what I wanted to be, and my mother took me to a used book store and got a book called ‘The Expert at the Card Table,’ which is the bible of card cheaters and also magical card experts. Most magicians who read it thought it was an academic at the time,” he said. “I spent four years learning everything I could, only to come to the rude awakening that there weren’t a lot of places where a 12-year-old spectator could work. I looked in the back of the book and it showed me how to take these gambling moves and apply them to magic, and that’s how I got into magic.”

He is working with magicians Penn & Teller behind-the-scenes for their forthcoming Broadway show. “We started four or five weeks ago, and we put it in the show room, so they have been working on it until Wednesday. I’m sure everything is going well. I will be in New York while we put it in rehearsals,” he said.

His accomplishments and accolades in the art of magic have been too many to count. “I have been doing magic for quite some time,” he said. “I did magic and played harmonica and made a living doing both.”

Throughout his respected career, he has worked with such acclaimed magicians as Penn & Teller, David Blaine and of course, Criss Angel, making many appearances on his “Mindfreak” television series. “I kind of played Criss Angel’s sidekick on his shows,” he said.

Out of all of his achievements in his profession, his Masters Fellowship from the Academy of Magical Arts in 1999 was the most prestigious one. “The Masters Fellowship was the most important one. Every great magician that I looked up to had won them. Most of them were pretty old when they got it, and I was the second youngest to earn it. Also, my wife Pamela is the second woman to ever receive this Fellowship. There have only been two women,” he said.

Thompson shared that he visited Greece, while he was doing cruise ships. “We would travel from Istanbul to Rome, but we went to the Greek island and we would stop in Greece itself. It was great,” he said. “I was raised with two guys who were a comedy team.”

He added, “I have been a sleight of hand performer since I was a kid. You can call me the last ‘general practitioner’ in magic cause I made my living as a bar magician and trade show performer, pitching products with a deck of cards and some coins. I’ve done stage, serious and comedy acts. I’ve designed and built illusions. I have done just about everything except sing and dance and do magic, and that I can’t do at all.”

Thompson defined the word success as “Doing everything that was out there to do.”

For more information on world renowned magician Johnny Thompson, check out his official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 19,000 original articles over the past 16 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a seven-time consecutive "Best of Long Island" winner, and in the past three years, he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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