I.B.M. Member Profile

Dr Ken Magician

About Ken Salzman

The 7th grade assistant to a 7th grade stage magician, I was introduced to magic and its forms, but not inclined to perform, due to childhood traumas. At the end of 7th grade, we parted ways, but I retained an appearing cane, a disappearing cane, and a rabbit/hat paddle.  Over the years, the disappearing cane disappeared and the appearing cane was likely vanished by my mother since I used it mostly to shoot things off my shelves. The paddle got lost somewhere, but the method was never forgotten, and served only for my own amusement.

As I approached my 50th birthday, a friend showed me a videotape of a close-up magician working on the street. I realized that my phobia about performing didn't really apply with one-on-one situations, since I had been a practicing clinical psychologist for decades by that time. When asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, I said I wanted to do magic, and my wife got me magic lessons from a local magician. Two hours of lessons and it was like a junkie on crack. I watched hours and hours of borrowed tapes of magic tricks, recording methods of the effects I thought I could do.  I crammed as much watching as I could before we embarked on a planned cruise.

On the cruise ship, I wandered around doing magic for anyone that seemed receptive. Late at night, I was in the computer room (where the extent of the sole computer was to play Freecell), and there was an attractive blonde woman playing at the computer. I pulled out my silks and, before I began, she said I might be interested to know who she was. She introduced herself as the wife of the magician hired for this cruise. I put the silks away as she said, "No, please, show me. You probably do it better than I do." I did not perform, but we did talk and she suggested I locate her during the cruise and she'd introduce me to her husband. I spent the entire week on the cruise looking for her, and performing for people, not finding her anywhere. On the final night, the magician did his act, after which I immediately afterward dragged my wife backstage to find him. We finally located him in one of the bars, sitting with his wife, the chief chef of the ship and his wife. The magician and I spent the next several hours trading tricks, mostly with him watching what I did and showing me something even more incredible. He, it turns out, had been doing magic since he was 16. The next day, before we left the ship, he told me I should join one of the magic societies.

Upon coming home, I discovered IBM Ring 54, and have been hooked on magic ever since. A number of years later, a young Ring member decided I needed to get over my phobia of public performances in front of groups, and set up a show for both of us. I decided to agree with him about the timing, but realized I needed rules to go by. I came up with three: 1. Go slow enough that you can remember how the trick works. 2. Enjoy yourself... if you aren't they can't.  3. If you screw up, screw up spectacularly. If you drop a card, drop the whole deck.

The rules worked, and I have been willing to work any room, any time, any size since. My favorite, though, is still doing close up work with a few people at a time, strolling tables, events, or just doing what my wife calls "drive-by magic" on the street.