Personally Speaking – May05 – Part 5

Meet the Staff: Craig Cole

Craig Cole – Photo by Anne White

Many of you already know Craig Cole as he frequently travels with us on road shows and conventions.

But for those of you who don’t, I’d like to introduce him to you.

Craig has been on of the partners in SME’s success for over 19 years. He’s a tremendous asset and friend that contributes in many ways, adding greatly to our well-rounded and excellent staff.

What you probably don’t know is how the Magic Bug bit Craig. Craig credits Ben Small – a local magician with a respectable history of magic, as his teacher in the art of magic. Ben had the rare opportunity to meet with Theo Bamberg (Okito), Dai Vernon and Dr. Tarbell; among many other icons in magic, right here in Wichita , and is one of the forefathers to magic here in Kansas .

Closing up at WMS – Time to Eat

Ben was able to see Craig unbridled enthusiasm and hunger to learn and accepted Craig as one of his students. Craig realize how lucky he was to not only learn magic, but learn it from someone as respected and knowledgeable as Ben Small, and Craig worked hard for both himself and to please his mentor too. While researching this story I contact Ben recently and asked him what type of student Craig was. Ben state that what took most his students 30 minutes to grasp, Craig could pick up in 5! In fact, many times Ben would tell Craig, “I can’t take your money for this lesson because you are picking it up too fast.” Craig (to his credit) would never accept that offer and make sure Ben got paid for the full session. After working closely under Ben’s supervision for many years, Ben introduced Craig to Joe Stevens, and from there a friendship ensued that pursues to this day. Both persons have merged their talents under the flagship Stevens Magic – and continue to explore new grounds in the industry.

Did I really win? Yes, Craig had some luck in Vegas this year!

Craig is now a professional performer (although not full-time), and was recently interviewed by Japanese television for a documentary on Magic. The program aired on Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) Feb. 25th nationwide! The Japanese film crew visited our world famous Stevens Magic Emporium headquarters, in addition.

Craig’s motif or style is one of a “western style” magician. He uses subtle comedic jesters coupled with an old west style, and this recipe has worked well for him. Craig’s versatility as a performer is supported by the fact that he can handle close-up, parlor and stage magic. While he enjoys all magic, he has an affinity for mentalism. Craig likes the challenge of marrying mentalist and comedy together – and we all know how challenging that can be. Many mentalism effects are sometime bonded by a seriousness or intensity not suitable for comedy. Craig often sees the actual effect as a mere prop, and the true magic comes from adding a creative and entertaining routine. While the prop is “just a prop” finding the right prop is crucial.

Linda and Craig Cole with Rosie and Dufus