MS. DEANA MURRAY
By Joe Stevens
ONE OF MAJA’S (GODDESS OF MAGIC) PRINCESSES
For those of us who started early in the love and fascination of magic, take yourself back to the time when and what was it that started your love affair with the art?
For me, it was the performance of Harry Blackstone, Sr. here in Wichita in the year of 1946, after World War Two, when I was ten years old. For Princess Deana Murray, it was when she was eleven years old and visited her first magic shop in Beverly Hills, California. She was mesmerized by the demonstrator, by name, Mort Saul. Mystery after mystery dazzled her senses and she purchased her first magic trick. It was the Sponge Ball to Square effect. Being so thrilled to learn the secret, she practiced it before she showed it to her great grandfather.
He was amazed and fooled! Viola! She finally had something she could do to fool him as a young girl. Needless to say, this was the time frame when the famous Magic Bug inoculated her and we all know that once this happens, all of us “magi” know that there is no vaccine to cure it!
Back to the magic shop again, to buy more magic to do as her great grandfather continued to be amazed at her ability to fool him.
As little Ms. Murray continued through her early school years, she loved doing magic for her school friends and getting the attention that the magic art afforded her. It was more than inspiration for her.
But unlike most females, as they grow older, they become interested in many other things in the world and early year hobbies have a way of disappearing.
Deana has had a love affair for over 40 years with her love of magic and while doing so has:
raised a family, become a devoted wife, a mother, a grandmother, a philanthropist, humanitarian, business lady, performer, poet, artist, writer, musician, composer, investor, supporter of the magic world, and a judge for many years at the World Magic Seminar for the Lance Burton Teen program, where along with Joanie Spina and Nick St. Erne, judged the finalist for Lance’s program. This program kicked off the first high profile teen program in the country to bring interested teen magicians, both boys and girls, into the art and teach them the values of showmanship, entertainment, and competition.
Many of those teen-agers have gone off into full time work as professional magicians as a result of what they learned there.
(Editors note: Deana also donated each year the sum of $500.00 cash just for the teens.)
When pressed to tell her “highest moments” being in magic, she replied;
Being an assistant with the famous Omar Pasha (the world’s foremost Black Art magic act) When asked if she was nervous, she replied; “No, I ,wasn’t at all because no one could see me!! ”
Also at the top of the list was helping the famous act of Kohl & Co., one of the best comedy acts of all time in magic, where nothing seemed to work for the great magician.
She does her performing for fun and love in private party scenarios, charity shows, friends, and ladies groups as well as for magicians when they come to town and also at the local magic club, the Wizards of Wichita, who meet monthly.
Her heroes in magic are:
Lance Burton and Siegfried & Roy as they are so unselfish.
Jeff McBride and Eugene Burger for the same reasons as they, too, give back to the art they love.
Her appreciation that is shown to her from all of the “magi” who have given her time and guidance at magic conventions and meetings to share the secrets and teachings has seasoned her magic knowledge.
THE ENCHANTED PALACE
Al Murray, Deana’s husband, has helped her with one of her dreams in having built for her, on the lower level of their lovely home, a most fabulous stage area, resplendent with historical photos, posters, memorabilia, magic artifacts that embellish her stage area, along with curtains, sound system, and yes, those secret compartments which allow many illusions to be performed! The stage area also has a bar with seating up to 25 and standing room as well. It is indeed a magical dream come true for her and is probably the only one of a kind in the middle of the country. Visiting magicians are given the rare opportunity to visit the Enchanted Palace, when Deana and Al are in town to showcase the theatre.
Right outside the theatre, Deana has her secret room that contains hundreds of her memories in magic with rare collectibles, antique props, history, letters, and memorabilia from way back when. Especially featured is Dell O’ Dell, the leading female performer of her time period in the 1940-1950’s. Dell O’ Dell is another inspiration to Deana.
Quote; Bill Trotter, well know magician in Des Moines, Iowa; “Deana and Al have extended their warmth and hospitality to me on a number of occasions when I visited their “Enchanted Palace.” And what an appropriate title for such a magical room! I have even performed on her stage (a trick in itself) and I was treated like a star! With each visit, I always have some piece of Dell O’ Dell memorabilia to add to Deana’s collection, just as a token of my appreciation for her. She, in turn, has given me some very magical gifts including original artwork. It is her gift of friendship that I treasure the most.”
DEANA’S MAGICAL PERFORMANCES
Deana loves to script magic acts with themes which consist of color, silks, flowers, butterflies, streamers, etc. She routines her effects to flow from one finish into another effect…in other words, if she produces silks, she changes them into confetti. There must be more than one reason for what she does with an effect.
She loves to routine her shows and that is her forte and it has to have a theme! Yes, she can do mentalism also, and just ask her to show you a card trick as well, as she loves close up magic also.
Quote; Martha Stevens; “It would be easy to be jealous of a person who excels in everything, but it’s impossible because Deana is so caring, giving and unselfish. She is really a pure person inside and out. She’s one of a kind”
In closing I personally have been proud to write up this story on Ms. Deana Murray, as I have watched her passion grow for our art and to see her face light up when she sees beautiful magic or an effect that fools her, as she fooled her grandfather years ago. Martha and I, and all who know her in the magic world, are pleased to have her as a part of our magic life as she has the passion for magic and magicians. We thank her for sharing her magic life with all of us.
“Maja” is indeed pleased that Ms. Deana Murray is one of her Princesess!
– Joe Stevens