Monthly Archives: June 2019

Soapy Smith Night – July 14th

The Magic Castle will be celebrating Soapy Smith Night on Sunday, July 14th. At this annual event, we celebrate the demise of the Klondike’s most notorious con man, Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith! Soapy Smith Night is only open to members of the Magic Castle and their guests.

Jefferson Randolph Smith–Soapy–was killed in Skagway, Alaska. Shot in the back during a gunfight on the wharves on July 8, 1898. Soapy was a legendary character who helped form the lore of our northernmost state.

He was the foremost practitioner of the Shell Game in the 19th Century, and the first true American gangster. He had an organized crime group of a hundred men, and had police and politicians in his pocket.

No one went to or from the Klondike gold fields without encountering this gantlet of confidence men and swindlers.

Soapy was a king of tricksters. We celebrate him for his cleverness, boldness and dexterity–not for his criminality, mendacity and the harm he caused in his chosen profession as a “sure thing” gambler.

We’ll have antique gaming tables, professional dealers in period dress, raffles, an auction, and who knows how many Soapy-style scams. All to provide a terrific evening for AMA members and their guests. Everyone is encouraged to dress in period garb/wardrobe and costume prizes will be awarded.

This 16th annual celebration of Soapy Smith is not one to miss and is sponsored by the AMA’s School For Scoundrels and the Soapy Smith Preservation Trust and benefits the Dai Vernon Foundation, Inc.

There is a door charge of $10 for members ($10 over the usual door charge for guests). This includes Soapy Dollars with which to start your “gambling.” At the end of the evening, there’s a prize for the biggest winner!

Photos allowed during this event and in the Inner Circle only. Period costumes are welcome in addition to standard evening AMA dress code.

Johnny Thompson Memorial

The Magic Castle memorial service for our past Board of Director member and one of the truly great and influential magicians in the world was this past Sunday.

Johnny Thompson was known as the Great Tomsoni. He had a wonderful comedy dove act with his wife Pam.

Alan Bursky served as emcee, and tributes and stories about Johnny were plentiful. Pam looked great and was very pleased with the celebration.

Johnny was a great friend and I will miss him.

The Great Tomsoni and Pop Haydn
The Great Tomsoni

The Stooge

Pop Haydn in Scandinavia!


Nancy Magill and I will be doing a magic lecture tour of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, Aug 29-Sept 10, 2019.

We are very excited about this tour, arranged by my friend Christian Langballe.

Our lecture schedule will be published here soon.

Pop Haydn in Escher drawing

Image from MC Escher by John Shimko
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