A short time ago, my wife and I went to see a performance by the illusionist, Rick Thomas. Thomas performed on The Strip in Las Vegas for over fifteen years and is currently in residence at the Andy Williams Theater in Branson, Missouri from April through December. He takes his troupe on the road from December to April; we saw him at Harrah’s in Laughlin, Nevada.
Thomas performed one mind-boggling feat after another that defies comprehension or explanation. For one of his tricks, he asked for volunteers from the audience to come on stage to witness the action close up and to verify that there were no wires, mirrors, pulleys, levers, or smoke involved. More than a dozen people jumped from their seats and almost ran over each other to get in on their fifteen seconds of fame. My wife and I prefer to be part of the audience rather than part of the show, so we stayed put in our seats, about fifteen rows from the front of the auditorium
Toward the end of the show, Thomas came wanderng up the aisle looking for a married couple to join him on stage. My wife and I avoided making eye contact with him, hoping it would signal to him that we weren’t interested. It didn’t work. With some coaxing from Thomas, and applause from the audience, we reluctantly followed Thomas to the stage.
Thomas asked me to remove my wrist watch and hand it to him. (It became apparent at that moment that he didn’t want my wife and me on the stage – he wanted my watch, and we just came along with the deal.) He handed my watch to my wife and asked her to read the time on the dial. It was 9:15. He then asked me to give him any time of the day and I said, “12:01.”
Thomas’s assistant brought out a tray and had my wife place the watch in a cloth bag and put the bag on the tray. It was a trick tray and it collapsed and pieces flew all over. Thomas sent my wife back to her seat and kept me on stage.
About fifteen minutes prior to Thomas coming down the aisle to pick my wife and me to help with the wrist watch trick, he had placed a padlocked wooden box on a small table in the aisle and asked a woman seated near it to keep her eye on it for him. The box was in plain view of the audience at all times.
Thomas asked the woman to bring the wood box to the stage and he placed it on a table. He had me unlock the padlock. He opened the lid and there was a sealed can, about the size of a soup can, and a manual can opener in the box.
Thomas used the can opener to open the can and asked me to open the lid. Inside was my watch.
“Is that your watch?” Thomas asked.
“No,” I replied, “mine was a Rolex.”
The audience loved it and even Thomas laughed, but I’m sure he was thinking to himself, “How did I get stuck with this smart alec.”
I quickly admited that it was, in fact, my watch. Thomas asked me to read the time on the dial. It was 12:01.
I have no idea how Thomas did the trick with my watch, but it was a good one.
If my wife and I ever go to another illusionist show again, you can bet we won’t sit anywhere near the aisle and I definitely won’t wear a wrist watch.
Cynthia’s Note: Enjoy Peter’s glimpse into the world of illusion and amazement in this true life story. The photograph is from Unsplash.