January 5, 2007
International Society of Magicians
Mr. Harold “Alakazam!” Tomlinson
Castle Gardens Condominiums #D-306
Lauderhill, FL 33313
Dear Mr. Tomlinson,
Thank you for your recent videotape submission. While we appreciate your desire to join our esteemed society, we have decided not to grant you membership at this time. To be perfectly honest, the Membership Committee has concerns about many of your onstage tactics.
First off, your entrance. The members of this committee recognize that it takes tremendous skill to balance oneself on the backs of poodles. However, we question your decision to, quite literally, ride these two dogs onstage. Notwithstanding the fact that these little dogs lack the spinal strength to support your body weight, your choice of wearing golf shoes was blatantly irresponsible and, some might argue, cruel.
Another point of discussion among the committee was your choice of illusions. As “magic traditionalists,” we are always delighted when a magician incorporates classic illusions into his act. However, at the same time, we found your variations on these “old favorites” to be a bit unsettling. For example, when you sawed the lovely woman in half, it seemed unnecessary to spray the audience with a bloodlike substance—or, as you referred to it, “Devil Juice.” (The blood was fake, right?) And though this gruesome prop would be inappropriate for most audiences, it seems particularly unacceptable for a 5-year-old’s birthday party.
The majority of our concerns, however, revolve around your act itself—particularly the safety of those watching it. In the future, when you’re involving an audience member in a high-risk stunt, we advise either pre-selecting a qualified individual or, to best ensure safety, using a “plant.” Kudos to you for remaining calm after that unfortunate mishap during your “Let’s Juggle Some Knives!” routine, but it would have been wiser to attend to that poor child’s wounds. Your decision to not only ignore the child but to also shoo him offstage with your foot did not go unnoticed by the Membership Committee.
In all fairness, your act is very ambitious. Never before has our committee reviewed a performance that included knives, daggers, swords, homemade pyrotechnics, 47 strobe lights, 20 disco balls, an astonishing number of car batteries and jumper cables, and a Casio keyboard. Yet, despite this originality, we remain highly concerned with the safety of your act. Not to nitpick, but the audience was clearly terrified of your “Up in Flames!” illusion and the extended-reach flamethrowers. And though your cameraman did succeed in panning away after you accidentally set that poor clown on fire, the piercing screams from the terrified children were perfectly audible to everyone watching the videotape.
Mr. Tomlinson, as a magician, it is your role to entertain your audience. Now, granted, you ran into some bad luck when the police arrived and shut down the show (you really need to secure a permit before setting up a stage in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven), but your reaction to the situation was anything but entertaining. Openly weeping onstage, not to mention launching into a 10-minute monologue on how “Mommy never really loved me,” is not an effective way to entertain an audience. Neither, for that matter, is climbing up a tree and refusing to come down until you get a brown-bag lunch consisting of an apple, a cookie, a Capri Sun, and a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich with the crusts cut off.
Finally, a piece of friendly advice for you. When sending out a videotape of your performance, it is always a good idea to (a) use a brand-new tape or (b) ensure that you record over the existing content. As far as your submission goes, the 20 minutes of America’s Next Top Model that preceded your routine was the highlight of the tape.
In closing, I thank you once again for your submission, but I must request that you never contact this Committee again, inasmuch as doing so could potentially qualify us as witnesses to any number of illegal activities.
Alfred “Mister Mystic” Badminton
P.S. Just so you know, it is considered taboo for a magician to reveal to his audience an illusion’s secret immediately after he performs said illusion.
P.P.S. This would be frowned upon at any time.