A Few Minutes with Magician Timothy James

Magician Timothy JamesMagician Timothy James sat down with us last weekend to chitchat before the show. He's one of the original magicians to perform at our dinner theater when it opened on April 1st, 2004. We are always so happy to see him on stage – James is crowd favorite! He has appeared on cruise ships, at corporate events, colleges, comedy clubs -- he's even performed for Hollywood celebrities Geena Davis and Shia LaBeof.


How did you get into magic? I was always into comedy variety entertainment. I'm a big Dick Van Dyke fan – he was always doing different crazy stunts and magic tricks. Then I saw David Copperfield on television, and I fell in love with that. I was always more into the jugglers, the comedians, and watching Johnny Carson even though I wasn't suppose to stay up that late. Magic just fell into that perfectly. I was on and off with magic for years until I borrowed a friend's magic kit and I didn't want to give it back. I finally got my own and it took off from there.


Are there any magicians that inspire you? There is a gentleman named John Carney, and I like him because he does really funny comedy with amazing magic. Usually you see a comedy magic show done in a tongue and cheek sort of way, but when John Carney is doing comedy magic, he's genuinely funny and the magic is amazing and skillful. The other magician is Eric Buss. He's incredibly creative, and I'd love to step inside his brain for five minutes and walk around.


What part of your show means the most to you? Probably the raccoon. A lot of people do the Rocky bit but I have my own way of doing it that is completely different. There's other stuff I am more proud of like bending spoons with my mind, which is a lot more difficult and I've spent more time working on it, but I've done Rocky for a long time. It's really evolved and I've added a lot to it. I am working on a couple other things I am really excited about.


Do you have a favorite California Magic Dinner Theatre memory? Yah, I do! One night there was a group patrons that spoke Japanese, and I pulled one girl up on stage for a trick that didn't really speak English. I know a little Japanese, not a lot, but I've been working on it, and I've been told that what I do know, I speak fluently. So, I started speaking to her in Japanese, and it became a whole new trick for everyone in the room! That was a really cool moment.


How did you meet Gerry? He sold me my first set of multiplying billiard balls which is still one of my favorites. That was at his old magic shop in Pleasant Hill, and I was probably twelve years old. He's been a great mentor.


Is there something about magic you'd like the public to know? Don't think so hard. I get so much joy out of seeing magic performed well, and it's less about the secret or how it's done. It's about the experience of being astonished. So many people are hung up on how it's done, but the secret is such a small part of that. Sit back and enjoy the experience of it.

Gerry Griffin