Someone Caught the Magic Bug!

Posted on Apr 25, 2018 by Joey

Not Joey Pipia...

Orson Welles is not normally associated with magic. I watched a one man show Friday night about the man, and while magic was a small part of this show, a little searching reveals much about Orson that is Magical. And I don't mean just amazing movies.

Instead, Orson was smitten by what you could only call, the magic bug.

His two most memorable creations to me are the movie, Citizen Kane, and the Mercury Theatre on the Air, radio version of War of the Worlds. Both are steeped in mystery. The movie is about the quest to answer the question, “what, or who, is rosebud?” which is only revealed in the final moment. The radio play is filled with panicked Americans and terror from another world. Interestingly, both are about a secret.

Orson was prolific in his effort to perform as a magician. He claims to have learned his first piece magic from none other than Houdini himself. A few examples of “Magic Orson” follow.

The Mercury Theatre Wonder Show. This was a knock-your-socks-off extravaganza set in custom made tent seating 1500 audience members. The show ran August 3–September 9, 1943 in the heart of Hollywood. The show ran 150 minutes and starred, “Orson the Magnificent,” and many other members of his Mercury buddies, including Orson's wife, Rita Haywood.

My favorite tease from the poster is this attraction: “The Human Sewing Machine,” which, according to the poster, says must be seen to be believed. Such hyperbole!

Orson Welles appeared in Las Vegas doing a magic show and recitations of Shakespeare.

He appeared as a magical guest on Merv Griffen, hosted Copperfield's first special on CBS TV show, and made appearances on many TV shows throughout his career

An entire episode of “I love Lucy” featured Orson as a magician as well as an actor.