You would think that a magician who authored a children’s book has always been at ease performing tricks for kids.
“When I first started out, I did a children’s show at an open house for a daycare,” says Sandy Springs magician Clarence H. Pearsall III, whose stage name is C Magic. (For more information, see cmagichappen.com.)
“It unnerved me and had me sweating profusely. From that point on, I had to really hone my craft and be aware of my audience. Now children’s shows are among the best shows I do.”
Pearsall, 54, a retired firefighter who is president of the International Association of Black Magical Artists, recently talked about how he became practiced at the art of illusion.
Q: How did you get started in magic?
A: When I was in the Navy, a shipmate fried my brain with a card trick. I had to know the secret. It cost me a pack of cigarettes, a Pepsi and $20 — and I had to wait until everyone had gone to bed before he would show me. I took magic up again in 2015 when I retired and moved to Chicago. A guy there who went by “Magic Sam” took me under his wing.
Q: What did you learn from Magic Sam about performing?
A: He taught me to be patient, to be natural. You don’t try to force anything. It’s about having fun — if I do, then the audience does. It’s important to understand the audience. Some tricks work better with kids, others with adults. And I dress to impress. I wear a blazer that’s somewhat flamboyant, and people remember that.
Q: Tell us about your show.
A: I try to pack small and play big. The case I travel with contains my show, and all I need is a table or two. I can do a show that goes 15 minutes up to an hour or more. When I bring audience members into the show, they appreciate it. I’ll practice a trick anywhere from a few days up to a month. There are some tricks I’ve never put into a show because I’m not comfortable with them yet.
Q: You’ve written a children’s book, “Mama May I…Go to the Park?” How did that come about?
A: I actually wrote that before becoming a professional magician. All my children are grown and now I have grandchildren. I wanted to leave a legacy for them. “Mother May I?” was a game we played as children, and I incorporated it into a book that teaches patience, listening skills and life skills. You receive your reward after a task is done — but not before then. It’s a great read for children who are 4 to 8 years old.
Q: Any outside projects you’re working on?
A: I’ll do some consulting. I was a consultant for Clayton State University, which was doing a school play and needed help with a student’s tricks. I’ve been working on a fire safety show that uses magic to teach safety messages and awareness to children.
Q: Are you ever badgered to reveal how certain tricks work?
A: Most of the time, children are very inquisitive. I try to stay away from saying too much about my tricks. But I’d like to do a summer day camp to teach some easy ones. Magic shows are overwhelmingly put on by older people, and we need to get the younger ones involved.