Piatt Part 5

Ray: I did a couple of things with those pads. The spectator-I call them the S/S — sitter or spectator–should be able to handle them like they were their own. When you can’t hand somebody on stage a prop, you’re doing nothing. What you’re trying to do is create a thought in your audience’s mind. You don’t what them to say, “How did he do that?” because then you’re a magician. You want them to say, “How did he know that?” Because then you’re a psychic. Somebody walks out of the theater and says, gee that was good. Do you know how he did any of those things? They were watching magic. They were watching a guy with a lot of magic props. Like the thing with the sliding panel? What was that called? Mental Epic. How can anybody that’s a psychic walk on the stage with Mental Epic? I don’t care for anything that they can’t handle.

SM: It’s not enough that they not know how it’s done, but that they not even suspect. It sounds like your level of development with these products goes beyond the average magic prop. You work toward props that are innocent and can be examined. The psychic’s main prop is himself, his mind.

Ray: Right.

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SM: Something we’d all like to know… What was your first magic experience?

Ray: I’d like to get you the MUM interview. It goes back to 1985, twenty years ago. It goes all the way back to my first magic tricks. So you want to know the first effect I witnessed or what?

SM: For me it goes back to Mark Wilson and his TV show. There was a woman named Sally Star. She did some magic. She had people come on and do little tricks.

Ray: When I was thirteen, I was doing the pass and some card tricks. The guy across the street from me in Phillipsburg, New Jersey-you couldn’t ask for a better last name. His name was Marko. Bill Marko. He was known as Marko the Magician. It wasn’t a stage name-it was his real name. He would show me a card trick on Saturday, no school, and then I would have all week to figure out how he did it. When I saw him the following Saturday I would have to show him how I thought it was done. If I was correct he would say very good and then he would show me how he did it. In those days, there was nobody into magic. It was baseball and such. You didn’t tell any body your were doing magic. You’d be laughed at. And that’s how I got into magic.

SM: I can’t believe you lived in Phillipsburg.

Ray: Why’s that?

SM: Because I was from Riegelsville, just down the river.

Ray: From there I went into the army. I was twenty-one. Spent nine months driving a tank and stuff. I don’t think I did any magic in the States. But when I did my tour, I did cigarette magic and card stuff and they called me the Swami. Here comes Swami, blah, blah, and blah.

SM: So my next question was about formal training in magic. But I guess the Marko period answered that. So Marko was your education and your first experience. Do you remember Scalzo?

Ray: Oh yeah! I have a picture from him. He had a cleaning business.

SM: He came to Easton High School and did a show. I remember he did the floating balloon. You know, with the fan.

Ray: That used to go over really great, I saw it was for sale for $150. That was a lot in those days.

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SM: What jobs have you held that gave special training that led to your profession?

Ray: There was no training anywhere. My brother was the same way. My father was the same way. I guess it rubbed off from my father. He was always building something. When he had his first heart attack he used to sit in his chair and he wouldn’t move. I would tease him and ask, are you waiting for your beard to grow? He was like in a depression. I would say, let me show you something and he would say, nah, I don’t want to see it. I showed him something I had made. It was the thing where the eyes tell you you’ve gone over. He wanted to see it again and I showed it to him again. Son of a gun, he got up out of that chair. He had an idea right away. He went downstairs and he made up a trick. From there on in I had him hooked on magic. He was in his sixties at the time.

SM: So your dad made magic props too?