How I Got Started in Magic... By Gerry Griffin

My interest in magic started back in the late 60s. While my father and I were watching television, we saw an advertisement for “TV Magic Cards.” The trick blew me away, and I was hooked. Later on, I saw a fellow at the county fair selling the “Svengali Deck” of cards. As he performs, I realize this is just like the TV Magic Cards – must have watched the guy for two hours straight! I finally bought one of those decks, and have been in love with magic ever since.

Not too long after that, a television series called “The Magician” starring Bill Bixby aired. Much to my disappointment, this show ended after only 23 episodes, but it was a blast while it lasted. During this same time, Mark Wilson had his series of television specials called “The Magic Circus.” I was on magic overload by this point in time.

In 1975 my father passed on. He had always encouraged me to pursue magic, and now I was on my own. I had worked up a pretty good repertoire of magic, spending most of my Friday and Saturday nights at a nightclub in San Francisco called “The Magic Cellar” where I became acquainted with professional magicians – Slydini, Albert Goshman and Martin Lewis to name a few. I also got to know a gentleman named Vic Kirk, who later became a close friend and mentor.

I spent all my spare time pouring over magic books, and in those days there wasn't video tape, internet or anything like the resources we have today. Only the occasional television special. Fortunately, people like Dick Cavett, Merv Griffin and Mike Douglas all had shows with time devoted to magicians. That's where I saw performers like Dai Vernon, Derek Dingle and a bunch of others too long to list here.

Later in 1975, I went on a cross country trip. While stopped in Dallas, Texas, I visited a small nightclub where a magician named Derek Dingle was performing. Derek was, and still is, another legendary figure in the world of magic. I was lucky to have spent the afternoon with him, and for about three hours I saw some of the greatest card magic in the world. That was a pivotal moment for me, and from that point on, card magic was my greatest interest.

To be continued...

Gerry Griffin