Monday, October 22, 2018

Wayne Wissner – Theme Park Magician

Many throw-out cards have been posted here on Propelled Pasteboards of magicians from the distant past. I am now going to do a post of a more recent magician. He is still alive and kicking, and plays tennis in his spare time. He is also a longtime friend of mine, Wayne Wissner.
 
Alive and Kicking!
Wayne R. Wissner is a magician, magic collector, writer, historian, and photographer. He has also been a carpenter, restauranteur, truck driver, and is currently a producer of his grandkids’ annual magic show done for charity in his home state of Michigan.
Wayne had a very nice throw-out card made during his peak years as a professional magician. It has a Bicycle Blue Rider back as can be seen below.
Wayne got bitten by the magic bug at the age of seven, and like so many of us, it has never left. He started writing about magic as well as performing during his teen years. He even enrolled in the prestigious Chavez School of Magic and graduated at the age of seventeen. In his early days, Wayne was known as “Wizardo”.
Wayne "Wizardo" Wissner, Master Manipulator!
Being involved with magic during the sixties, gave Wayne the opportunity to have some memorable experiences and to see some great magicians of the past. At the age of fourteen, Wayne got to witness a performance of the legendary magician McDonald Birch when he appeared at an Abbott’s Magic Get-Together in Michigan.
 
A young "Wizardo" in front of Birch's trailer.
Also at an Abbott’s Get-Together, Wayne hung out with some other budding magicians around his same age. One of them he became pen pals with after the convention. The young man had come down to the convention from Canada. He later had some success as a magician. His name was Doug Henning.
Wayne Wissner and Doug Henning. Which one is which?
After Wayne got older, he “found his niche” as he has said in his writings on the subject. He worked for many years as a theme park magician, most notably at “Guntown Mountain” theme park in Cave City, Kentucky. While doing numerous shows a day, Wayne also had a magic shop at the amusement park, which he operated between shows. Because of his many years as a theme park magician, Wayne wrote the Handbook for the Theme Park Magician in 1990. It is full of tips and ideas and do’s and don’ts that Wayne learned through the years. He also included many personal anecdotes that make the book highly amusing and readable. I enjoyed it and recommend it.
Wayne in his Magic Shop.
Wayne is enjoying his retirement now with his lovely "first wife Sheila". (His words, not mine.)  The last couple of years he has helped his grandkids put on a summer magic show in his barn, with the proceeds going to charity.  He has built for them some very elaborate illusions.  The kids do a great job, and their grandfather should be very proud.  With any time left over, he is also in the process of learning from his wife... how to drive her bulldozer. 
The incomparable Wayne "Wizardo" Wissner!

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