SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 24, 2014

Show-stopper

Magic company auction marks end of era

(Continued)

“It’s an emotional experience,” Bartlett said. “It’s mostly positive, but it’s tough to see. You don’t necessarily envision how something is going to end. But I’m very happy to see the appreciation people have for it. You can see that the show has been an important part of the community.”

David Oliver, a professional magician from Weymouth, said the Le Grand David show inspired generations of magicians, the same way David Copperfield, Harry Blackstone, and Siegfried & Roy have done.

“It’s the end of an era,” Oliver said. “They changed the course of magic history. Not just in Beverly, not just in Massachusetts, but around the world.”

Oliver bought an illusion in which a person appears to be levitating atop a broom. He first saw the trick when he attended Le Grand David as a 10-year-old boy. He declined to say how much he paid.

“It still works,” he said. “I may very well use it in one of my shows, or it might be a keepsake. It’s like getting one of Eric Clapton’s guitars. Do you play it or do you hang it on the wall?”

Bull and the magic company are in the process of trying to sell the Cabot Street Theatre, which has been on the market since May. They still own the nearby Larcom Theatre, which has been hosting music and comedy shows.

Bull, who came on stage occasionally to explain some of the items as they came up for bid, said some items sold for less than he expected, but others sold for more. He described the five-hour auction as a “whirlwind tour.”

“Several people came up to me and were so happy to have gotten a piece of apparatus or artwork,” he said. “They had seen the show, and they just wanted something to remember the show by. It was a great run, 35 years. There were no regrets.”

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