Inwood magician will take part in Holiday Abracadabra Matinee
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Chuck Jones had an interest in magic as a young boy.
“Like most other kids, I saw magicians on television,” Jones said, “but my story is a little different. I fell out of it after I was a teenager and I came back to it two years ago.”
Jones, now 54, of Inwood, W.Va., works for the federal government as a training developer.
“My job is so very analytical that I wanted to get in touch with my creative side again,” he said.
Jones will tap into that side at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, during the West Virginia Wizards Assembly 1 Fellowship of Family Entertainers Holiday Abracadabra Matinee at the Apollo Civic Theatre in Martinsburg, W.Va. Acts include Michael T., Robert Priest, Phil Milstead, and others. Proceeds from the show will benefit the Apollo Theatre.
Jones said it was performances on cruises, which he and his wife tend to go on about once a year, that reignited his interest in magic as an adult.
“I got one of those gnawing feelings in the back of my brain. I officially decided to get back into it on June 2, 2017,” Jones said.
As his first course of action, he headed to a store that specializes in the art.
“The very first thing I did — if you look online at the top magic shops in the world, you’ll see No. 3, Denny & Lee Magic Shop (near) Baltimore. When I knew I wanted to get back into magic, I went straight to see and to talk to Denny,” Jones said.
Denny Haney, who has been practicing magic for roughly 70 years, Jones said, is known for saying he began in magic at age five, and he wonders why he wasted the first five years.
“So I went to his shop and talked with a couple of magicians and they kind of steered me in the right direction,” Jones said.
Jones studied a series of books called “TarBell Course in Magic,” among others. He unearthed card tricks he had done over the years and joined some magic organizations for networking, including a couple of chapters of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians.
“I met a lot of contacts that way,” Jones said.
Among them was Michael T, whom he described as “a Martinsburg institution.”
“I am not originally from here. I moved here three years ago. As soon as I got back into magic, I discovered Michael T. I started hearing his name because he is just that well-known in this area,” he said.
Jones performed for the first time in his adult life during January 2018 at an International Brotherhood of Magicians show in Hancock.
“Then just for kicks and giggles, I entered the Apple Blossom’s Got Talent competition in Winchester, (Va.), and I made it to the semi-finals,” Jones said. “I had only been back at it for a few months. I have friends who have been doing magic for a long time who never made it past the quarterfinals. So I was pretty tickled with that.”
He performed in a show at a Winchester, Va., library, as well as other ensemble shows, and planned one to take place last week at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center, which was postponed due to inclement weather.
“Then, of course, the next big one,” he said, in reference to the Holiday Abracadabra Matinee.
Jones has both old and new tricks up his sleeve for the show, including one of the first new ones he picked up.
“I learned the Denny Haney version of torn and restored newspaper. I’ll tear the newspaper to shreds and with the flash of my hand, it fully restores,” he said.
He also plans to work with silk handkerchiefs, and to borrow a 20 dollar bill from an audience member and to have them sign it.
“Then I’ll make it disappear, and over on the other side of the stage, there will be a lemon inside a bag. I will slice the lemon open and the signed $20 bill will be inside of that lemon,” he said.
The audience can expect “a variety of magic appealing to everyone,” he said.
“A common misconception is that magic is just for kids. I like to perform for adults. The whole family will enjoy this show,” Jones said. “It’s a get-away, an escape. I find that when I perform magic and I think it’s equally true for everyone who watches. It’s an escape from everyday life.”
Top photo: Magician Chuck Jones of Inwood, W.Va., will take part in the West Virginia Wizards Assembly 1 Fellowship of Family Entertainers Holiday Abracadabra Matinee at the Apollo Civic Theatre in Martinsburg, W.Va. (Submitted photo)