The always innovative Peter Samelson.

Peter SamelsonThe first time I worked with Peter was probably thirty five years ago when he was the host of a television show filmed at the Magic Cellar in San Francisco. The show aired on PBS and was called ‘Magic, Magic, Magic.’ I really don’t remember much about the material Peter performed during that taping. I do remember that he performed all the magic wearing a pair of white gloves that gave him a most distinctive appearance. I also remember being very impressed with the unusual and thoughtful presentation of the various effects he used.

Thirty odd years later I was once again highly appreciative of his carefully planned and presented magic when we worked together on the East Coast.. The theatrical spirit that Samelson infuses into his work is individual and highly effective. Peter performed some very strong magic that he made all his own by adding this secret ingredient. All the effects featured in Peter’s show were treated like minor theatrical presentations. Each one was a self-contained three-act play that had an emotional arc and a specific mood. Best of all there wasn’t any evidence of that kind of thinking worn on his sleeve to be admired by the audience. It was rather subtle and all the more powerful for being so.

I suspect that the Snowstorm In China is the single most overexposed trick in magic at this time and has been turned into a sentimental exercise by many magicians.IMG_7906 These performers should all sit down and watch the way Peter achieves the reaction that they are working for. He doesn’t do it by using enough extra paper to constitute an ecological disaster or enough saccharin to raise your blood sugar level. He does it with something you don’t see enough of in the magic world; a little bit of good acting! Bravo.

If space permitted I would like to tell you about his handling of the Mutilated Parasol and the Gypsy Thread, as they were superb. However Peter can be seen frequently in “Monday Night Magic” which is New York’s longest running Off-Broadway magic show. If you are visiting the Big Apple why not do yourself a favor and catch him live. The ticket information for Monday Night Magic is available through their website

For me the weekly magic show they provide is one of the best to be found.

~ by Nick Lewin on May 30, 2013.

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