Ken’s interest in magic began when he was about 11 years old when he saw a magician on the old Ed Sullivan Show. He told his mother, “I wish I could do that”. She replied, I know where you can buy magic”. That took me to an ad for Johnson Smith & Co. Those days you could send for their catalog for a dime or send two 5 cent stamps (yes, stamps were 5 cents in those days). And so it began.
His first magic trick was the ball and vase. A small pink vase with a white ball with a face on the ball for 50 cents. He still has it. He then discovered other mail order magic dealers by looking at ads in the classified section of Popular Science.
He was unaware of any other magic enthusiasts or clubs, so soon discovered the local library had several books on the subject not only how to do tricks, but the history as well. He checked them out countless times! Ken’s public performances started with a lady’s club that his mother belonged to at the local YWCA. He got paid with a roll of nickels ($2.00)!
Later on, Ken met a man through his older brother. He “produced” variety shows for various groups and asked him to be a part of his “troupe”. Each show was different, it all depended on what talent was available. At times there was a baton twirler, dancer, piano player, singers and of course, the magician. Ken never considered a professional
name, so at times newspaper articles referred to him as ‘Marlin the Great’ (Ken comments that is a stretch of the imagination by anybody’s standard!).
Several times Ken put magic on the back burner. Through high school, college and off and on while helping to raise two sons and maintaining a career working security in a prison. But he never gave up my love of magic. Ken is a 50 year plus member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
Ken still performs on occasion (stage magic) and loves his association with the shop. Helping customers is paramount with Ken, particularly the youngsters. Who knows who will be the next David Copperfield, David Blaine, Lance Burton or Mac King?
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