Throughout the 1920s, Dai Vernon was living high on the hog, as they used to say. Vernon is now considered the best technical magician of the 20th century, and during those years, he was living in New York City, where there were lots of wealthy people with money to burn. Booking agents were billing Vernon as a great young magician and clients were virtually throwing money at him.
But the Crash of ’29 changed all that. People in New York no longer threw parties at the drop of a hat. Left with little money and a family to support, Vernon had to resort to taking a job cutting silhouettes in a Wichita department store. Wichita was one of the few cities that was booming, due to the discovery of oil.
In 2008, work for magicians in Los Angeles dropped off precipitously, as well. And five years after the Crash of ’08, companies still have their belts tightly cinched. I’m not the best salesman, but this year, my attempts at selling my show have been even less remunerative than normal.
“We’ve cut back this year.”
“We’re just going to all go out for lunch.”
“They haven’t given us a budget, sorry.”
But people need magic. Especially in tough times, they need to be inspired by the impossible. So if you or someone you know needs entertainment, consider magic. We need to perform, and you need to be inspired.