Master Magician Lance Burton gained national prominence with his appearance on the Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson in October 1982. Mr. Carson was a magician of considerable ability who translated his talents into being the king late night television. But he never forgot his magic roots or lost his enjoyment of our wonderful craft.
We bring this up because we just read that a new set of Tonight Show DVDs are being released by Time-Life. The collection is called The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series and part of that collection includes Lance Burton’s appearances on the iconic show.
The article promoting the DVDs has a great interview with Lance Burton. He talks about how he appeared on Tonight just one week after moving to Los Angeles from Kentucky. He went on to appear on the show 20 times (10 with Johnny Carson and 10 with Jay Leno).
“I grew up in Louisville and was doing magic shows all through school. When I was 20 in 1980, I entered a contest sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Magicians, won their Gold Medal contest and as a result was booked for two weeks in L.A. to do what’s known as The Magic Show in a theater there … And I somehow got picked after the talent coordinator came to our preview show on Oct. 28, 1981.
“The next day I’m standing next to the stage manager at “The Tonight Show,” and I see a hand coming toward me. Instinctively, I turned to shake it and I found I was shaking Johnny Carson’s hand. He was very nice and complimentary … They rearranged to put me on first, ahead of Dick Cavett. They both had interest in magic, and they talked about magic, and me and my act. It really was the greatest launching pad ever for a career in show business. Johnny worked as a magician as a young man, then did comedy and show hosting … I realized that when Johnny saw me the first time, he saw himself in this Midwestern kid doing sleight of hand really well. I think that was the basis of our relationship: He saw himself.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do anything without Johnny intervening personally. I can trace 15,000 Vegas shows back to that first ‘Tonight Show.'”
Check out the full interview here.
This just in from the International Brotherhood of Magicians!
Just Announced! Suzanne will join Shawn Farquhar and Oscar Munoz as a Special Guest Instructor at the 11th Lance Burton Teen Seminar to be held at the I.B.M. 87th Annual Convention in Jacksonville, FL. The Lance Burton Teen Seminar is THE #1 magic seminar for young magicians. Join Eugene Burger, Larry Hass, Suzanne, Shawn Farquhar and Oscar Munoz for a life changing experience.
WAIT – That’s not all! The I.B.M. Endowment and Development Fund has agreed to fund TWO registrations to Sorcerer’s Safari Magic Camp to be given away to one boy and one girl attending the Lance Burton Teen Seminar. Sorcerer’s Safari is the premier magic camp in Canada. Take a look at this video to see some of the fun at the 2014 camp.
WAIT –There is still more! The McBride Magic and Mystery School will be selecting ONE Teen Magician at the Lance Burton Teen Seminar to receive the McBride Magic and Mystery School Faculty Award. Founded in 1991, the McBride Magic an Mystery School’s goal is to provide a safe, supportive, and inspiring place for magic enthusiasts (both amateur and professional) to work on their magic. They work with students of all skill levels and interests. At the McBride Magic and Mystery School the unparalleled faculty members are there to answer your questions, help you become a better magician and, most importantly, have fun. One lucky teen magician will receive the opportunity of a lifetime!
So join us at the 11th Lance Burton Teen Seminar. If you are between the ages of 13-19 AND registered to attend the I.B.M. Convention in Jacksonville, you can attend the Lance Burton Teen Seminar ABSOLUTELY FREE. Dates for the Seminar are July 13-15, 2015. To register go to http://www.magician.org/convention/upcoming-convention TODAY! Jacksonville HERE WE COME!
In our effort to learn as much as we can about Billy Topit: Master Magician — Lance Burton’s recently wrapped film — we found a site established last year with some behind the scenes shots that may be of interest to like-minded magic lovers.
We will keep you apprised on anything else we find as we obsessively dig through the internet for clues on release date and plot details.
Inside Magic Favorite and Master Magician Lance Burton retweeted and favorited a tweet about our article this morning.
We wrote about his new film and expressed our unmitigated and real excitement about the movie. Our joy was even less mitigated and excitement more real when we learned he so honored us and this humble, virtual rag.
We have taken screen prints of the Twitter notifications and are still doing our Snoopy “Happy Dance.”
It is distracting to the other passengers on bus but it was the only place we could find wifi in a pinch since they kicked us out of Starbucks for “borrowing” their wooden stirrers to practice a trick we saw on YouTube.
It is not our fault that we like to practice our tricks until we feel they are perfect and that each time we perform the “Broken and Restored Stirrer of Wood” we need two stirrers.
It is also not our fault that we don’t like coffee that much and have never bought a thing from our local Starbucks location as we sit in the air-conditioned comfort of their old leather chairs, stare out onto Santa Monica Boulevard and absently practice the illusion that will no doubt put us over the top.
Maybe they should think about stocking things that everyone likes — Diet Coke, Tang, Funyun and pork rinds. We did find some beef jerky there this morning but it wasn’t for sale and we’re not sure it was beef jerky proper. It may have been something other than beef jerky and because anything that looks like beef jerky but is not beef jerky is something you should not put into your own mouth, we passed up the opportunity.
Our stop is coming up now so we need to sign off.
Hey, what are the odds? We just saw more of something that looks like beef jerky on the seat next to us.
Thank you, Mr. Burton. You have made our month, year and decade.
Inside Magic Favorite Lance Burton just put the finishing touches on his new film, Billy Topit: Master Magician and we cannot wait to see it.
It is a comedy about a magical love affair written by Mr. Burton and the incredibly funny and talented Michael Goudeau. Mr. Goudeau performed his juggling act as a part of Mr. Burton’s long-running Las Vegas magic show and can be heard each week as part of Penn Jillette’s Penn’s Sunday School.
The plot seems straightforward and full of possibilities: Master Magician Billy Topit (inside joke for us magical types) is being pursued by unsavory organized crime members while he tries to convince his dream girl to be his assistant.
“It’s been lot of fun,” Mr. Burton told Norm Clarke of The Las Vegas Review-Journal. “There’s a lot of magic in it and cool stuff.”
As we learn more about the film, its release date and publicity plan, we will let you know. Billy Topit, classic!