Magic City Casino is a perfectly named spot for illusionist Franz Harary. The world-renowned showman promises to bring the awe factor to guests 8 p.m. Saturday as part of the venue’s all-day lineup that includes a street fair and musical acts.
How and when did you know what you wanted to do as a career?
When I turned 13, I got a magic set for my birthday, and I was hooked. I was able to do something which was beyond the abilities of my parents or teachers. With that comes a lot of power. I wanted to understand how the illusions worked, but I was more interested in the psychology of it all. The idea that a simple little trick could fool and control intelligent adults, I guess that’s still what fascinates me today. What I have discovered is that all over the world, we all want the same thing: to believe that there is something more out there, something bigger than us. My magic allows me to create illusions that allow my audience to experience genuine wonder that we had when we were young and that got knocked out of us pretty early.
Any advice for wannabe magicians?
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If there’s anything else in the world that makes you happy, anything at all, then do that. To make a life and a career in magic requires full-time dedication, literally every waking moment of your life. It becomes who you are. For me, this sacrifice has paid off. For those of you who just enjoy magic and want to explore it as a hobby, it has never been easier. Go online, and if you really truly make an effort, the answers are all there.
Who is your inspiration?
Three of the greatest magicians of our time are Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and James Cameron. They create these fantastic worlds and show us the power of ordinary people in extraordinary situations. I’ve always found myself inspired by movies and other art forms outside of magic. Of course, I was a big Doug Henning fan, but I always made it a point not to copy or emulate any other magicians.
We’ve heard you were dear friends with Michael Jackson. How did you first meet him?
In 1984, I was a 20-year-old magician from Michigan, and I had invented a way to make things appear without the illusion being detected, outdoors, surrounded and in daylight. I sent his manager a videotape of myself making a car appear in a parking lot and said I could do this for Michael. A few days later, I was on an airplane flying to L.A. to meet my idol. We were about the same age and made friends immediately. After the Victory Tour, I went on to create magic for all of his concerts, as well as his home and many other cool personal projects. We remained friends for 26 years.
What trick are you most proud of thus far?
As an artist, you are always developing and growing. If you asked Paul McCartney what his favorite song was, I’d be interested to see if he could answer. If I had to pick a single illusion as my favorite, it would probably be teleportation. Over the years I have literally “transported” celebrities instantly all over the world.
Tickets for the Harary dinner performance, capped by a Sheena Easton concert, at www.magiccitycasino.com or 305-460-6579.