Eugene Burger is a master magician--voted one of the 100 most influential magicians of the past century by MAGIC Magazine. He responded by email to the Mini-Wizard in 1998.
Mini-Wizard: What magicians have influenced you to perform the way you do today?
Burger: When I was 8 years old, I saw Jack Gwynne at the Oriental Theater in Chicago. He taught me that, if I was going to be a magician, I would then choose to look like one. When I was about 14 years old, I spent time with Don Alan who taught me that every magic effect needs a well thought out presentation. I also learned that knowing how large numbers of tricks work is rather pointless in the big picture of being an entertainer with magic. The real task is learning to master a few tricks. (Perhaps we should put the word “master” in bold face type. It’s a magic word!)
Mini-Wizard:How did you come up with your character and what influences you to perform magic the way you do?
Burger: Actually, I don’t think that I “came up with it.” I didn’t invent my character, rather, I uncovered it. I uncovered the character that was always me; it was already there. And so my “character” that you experience during one of my performances is basically me -- though a more theatrical version of me that stresses some things about me (my look, my voice) and hopefully minimizes other things (which I won’t even mention!)
Mini-Wizard:Do you have any advice for young magicians, or magicians in general?
Burger: Yes, since I have magic students when I am here in Chicago, I think a great deal about how we can best learn magic. Check out my column, “Beginner’s Corner,” in Genii magazine. I deal with some aspect of this fascinating question each month.
You can read his column and other essays on his website www.magicbeard.com
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