SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 24, 2014

Show-stopper

Magic company auction marks end of era

(Continued)

“We were happy with the results,” Kaminski said.

The highest-selling item, according to Bull, was a bronze sculpture showing Marco the Magi levitating Le Grand David. The sculpture, which was made by Bull’s father and had been showcased in the theater’s upper lobby since 1984, sold for $8,000. Kaminski had started off the bidding by asking for $35,000.

Asked afterward if it was difficult to sell off such items, Bull said, “Look, I did this for 35 years. I can walk away with no regrets. I and those of us remaining with the company are ready for the next chapter in our lives.”

Bull said there are “seven or eight” members of the original company who are shareholders and will benefit from the auction’s proceeds.

“Nobody got rich doing magic shows,” he said.

The auction attracted professional magicians, former members of the Le Grand David company and fans of the show, which is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running stage magic show in the world.

James Essensa of Beverly walked out of the theater with a 6-foot-tall painting by Rick Heath, a member of the company whose artwork comprised a significant portion of the items. Essensa paid $450 for the painting, which commemorates the show’s 700th performance in 1982.

“This was a big deal to me because my grandfather used to take me here on Sundays,” Essensa said. “Who knows what they’re going to do with the theater after this? This is a piece of history. Shows like this are dying out.”

At least two former members of the magic show cast purchased items. Seth Bartlett, who played “Seth the Sensational” from ages 4 to 18, bought Heath’s “The Clowns” painting for $450. Alex Burger, who played a variety of roles as a youngster and now lives in South Africa, bought a “finger pointing” illusion for $700.

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