I am so happy to share that after a lot of work, the paperback of The Greatest Adventure: Adventures in Magic, Show Business and Life-Long Romance, written by my husband Geoffrey Williams, is finally available on Amazon. This chronicles magic and the top magicians at the end of the twentieth century. It is an insider’s account of what it was like working at the Magic Castle, and on the It’s Magic! Show (the biggest annual magic show in the world), hanging out with some of the biggest names in show business, and doing whatever it took to make a living from magic. I love it because it’s packed with funny stories.
Two of the truly wonderful magicians in the book that Geoff worked with on It’s Magic have recently passed away recently: Marvyn Roy (April 1, 1925 – July 1, 2020) and Norm Neilsen (February 17, 1934 – April 21, 2020). Their acts were beautiful!
Watch a Youtube video of either of them performing and you will see perfection. Every move is exact. Even when you know what they are doing, you can only marvel at the skill developed over hundreds of performances. It makes it pure magic.
They were both able to develop acts that became famous. Marvyn was billed as Mr. Electric and he did magic with electricity and light bulbs. It was way ahead of its time, and eventually became a bit behind the times as newer lighting technology made some of it seem less amazing. It was also very physically taxing. So, he adapted, creating a new act he could tour with Liberace involving diamonds and gemstones. Norm did a beautiful classical manipulative act with a musical theme, and finished with a floating playing violin.
Marvyn and Norm achieved a level of perfection that I am not sure is even possible anymore. These days you need to do television, and that burns through material. I am constantly working on new stuff and I can’t imagine doing the same act for decades. That is just not where the market is anymore. The advantage though, was that you could achieve a technically flawless act.
We got to hang around with Marvyn and his lovely wife Carol on many occasions. Carol passed away in 2009. No one loved magic more than Marvyn, and his enthusiasm was infectious. That was my favorite thing about him. He also had an encyclopedic knowledge of magic. He was a skilled close-up performer too. He always encouraged young performers. His career spanned 55 years and took him all over the world.
We did not know Norm as well, but did work with him quite a bit. Norm eventually succumbed to Alzheimer’s, but was still a presence at magic conventions in his final years. He was the charming sort of person people loved to be around, and when he wife Lupe was busy at a convention table running their business, friends would happily stop by and escort him around.
He and his wife Lupe manufactured a number of magic props for magicians that were considered the best on the market. He also was involved with the preservation and restoration of magic posters, an important part of the history of magic.
Both had huge impacts on the art of magic and were highly admired by their fellow magicians. I will miss both of them. There was something in addition to kindness, talent and perseverance that Marvyn and Norm had in common. They both married very well.
Carol was an integral part of the act, and they were both performing magic, even if Mr. Electric got all the credit. They were a great team, and Carol was the business brains behind the act. He was happy to give her the credit. He often said that without Carol, there would have been no Mr. Electric. She was indispensable.
In the case of Lupe and Norm, she did not perform with him. She was a close-up and stand-up performer in her own right, and his business partner. She worked with him making magic props, and she helped him acquire one of the largest vintage magic poster collections in the world. She played to his strengths.
Besides being a talented magician, Lupe is a highly skilled woodworker. She began making props for magicians in 1993, working for the Collector’s Workshop, noted for the very high quality of their magic props. She continues with her own woodworking, and has been the go to person for creating urns for magicians. She created Johnny Thompson’s urn, a box with two mother of pearl inlaid doves, and two wads of chewed gum on the bottom. She also created the urn for magician and noted magic collector Gary Darwin in the form of a drawer box. She will also create the urn for Norm, which will be ready in time for his memorial service next year. There will be 2 celebration of life services held for Norm: one in Las Vegas, and one in Colon, Michigan
I have been working on my brand for The Magic of Love, my newest show. My love act character is pretty close to who I actually am. I love seeing long term happy marriages. Norm and Lupe were together for 25 years. Marvyn and Carol were together for 53 years. Their long loving relationships enriched their lives and enriched the world of magic, just as my husband has enriched mine. Oh, and the other thing I love about The Greatest Adventure? In reading it, you can’t help but see it’s a love story.