by R. Pikser
major difference among illusionists, mentalists, or what we, the uninitiated,
used to call magicians, is their presentation. Some are self-effacing, almost
diffident. Some, like the magicians of old, are overwhelming. Eric Walton
throws us off from the beginning of his presentation. He is two things at
once: He is formal in his gray suit with vest, but his persona is engaging.
He makes jokes, though he is clearly in control of the situation, even when
there are technical glitches as there are bound to be when adjusting to a new
medium, even when he apologizes.
one may recognize some illusions, they always appear impossible and never fail
to enchant. There is having an audience member choose a card and then having
an giant version of it turn up inside a sealed envelope produced by the
magician. There is the one in which a card is chosen at random by an audience
member, replaced in the deck, yet appears on cue after the cards have been cut
and recut, then spread out. Another audience member chooses a number at
random; that many cards are counted; and that number leads us to the very
card. Mr. Walton has developed other variants adapted to the small screen. He
has all the virtual audience members hold pages from a book to their cameras.
He then reads out some of the words and a selected audience member chooses one
and writes it down. But then Mr. Walton guesses that word letter by letter
(complete with an error, to titillate), and again produces a pre-made card with
the word written on it. Of course there is some technique. There must be.
However, it is more fun to think of it as magic or, if we wish to appear more
modern, as extra sensory perception. Mr. Walton informs us the CIA spent 17
years investigating some of these techniques as possibly useful to spy
are other skills of mental discipline in this hour show, and Mr. Walton does
well adapting his skills to the small screen. He makes even virtual audience
members feel including as he gets them to interact with him and with each
other. This is no small feat: Working on a small screen without the benefit
of real, warm human energy is difficult.
Mr. Walton is so successful at what he does because he really does, as he
maintains, have extra sensory perception. And isnīt it more fun to believe
that than not?
Contact: Ron Lasko