T.A. Hamilton recently invited me into his home for another exclusive peek behind the curtain. Mr. Hamilton was genuinely warm and gracious offering me a cup of tea to drink as we settled in next to his fireplace for our magical fireside chat.
Mr. Hamilton’s home is filled with movie and magic memorabilia from old vaudeville shows and movie posters to handcuffs, leg irons and a studded strait jacket hanging on the wall that once belonged to Harry Houdini. His home definitely reflects that it is inhabited by a serious magician and movie buff. His walls look like that of a great museum, whispering out history to the eyes, about magic and movies down through the ages. In the beginning, it was the magicians who had the magic lantern shows and the first projectors, the first motion picture cameras and understood how to make movie magic with the equipment.
There were photos of a much younger T.A. Hamilton escaping from various contraptions including his many battles with the dreaded Houdini Water Torture Cell, an escape so terrifying that it is attempted by very few and spoken of, even today in hushed tones, by professional magicians worldwide. T.A. has successfully escaped that death trap 126 times and has stated publicly that he will never again enter the Houdini Torture Cell. He said, “I left a respectable mark for the younger guys to shoot for if they wish, but I have hung up my handcuffs for good.”
As we talked he told me about various magic and movie posters and what some of his favorite movies have been. I was surprised to learn that this magician is fan of Turner Classic Movies because they broadcast some of his very favorite movies. No real surprise that this celebrity magician’s movie favorites were all spotlighted on magic.
So what are this celebrity magician’s favorites? This is Mr. Hamilton’s quintessential list of cinema magic greats: Houdini (1953 film) Starring Tony Curtis, Magic (1978 film) Starring Anthony Hopkins, The Mad Magician (1954 film) Starring Vincent Price, The Illusionist (2006 film) Starring Edward Norton and Eternally Yours (1939 film) Starring David Niven.
So as a magician that has conquered the stage and screen, with four movies to his credit, what is his next big dream to accomplish? “Meeting Mr. Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies would be a thrill for me”, T.A. Hamilton replied. “I can just visualize sitting next to him on his set sharing my thoughts on my favorite classic movies and the magic explored within them. Now that would be an amazing night for me.”
T.A. Hamilton, a twenty year seasoned magician, has brought joy, wonderment and the childlike faith in magic back to both children and adults alike. He appeared himself to have a childlike excitement and enthusiasm in his voice, along with a sparkle in his eyes, as he shared with me his own personal dream. “I love talking about the art of magic and sharing the enchantment it has brought me for a lifetime. Movies and the theater have always been a big part of my life”, said Hamilton.
This magician shared with me stories of having been a youngster and being awestruck by the images he saw on the movie screen. Hamilton said, “I can remember spending every Saturday at the movies eating my popcorn, my all day sucker and a coke… mesmerized by the magic of the silver screen. It was like been transported to a world of adventure, a magical somewhere else place, for a time, and I just treasured every moment of being in that theater. I was sure that magic lived there.”
Hamilton went on to share: “It was truly the movies that inspired me to become a magician because I wanted to carry people away with me to a different place and time for a while that would be filled with laughter, joy, wonder and excitement. I knew at eight years old what I was going to be when I grew up, a magician. My sister was my first assistant and my mother sold tickets for the neighborhood kids to come watch us perform in the garage. All this thanks to the magic of the movies.”
As I departed from Mr. Hamilton’s home and closed our interview he said this to me, “Love life’s magic, for it is all around us, all the time. You find it in our families and our communities. All we must do to experience it, is to simply open our hearts and our minds… Then we can know the magic that life truly is.” As the door slowly closed behind me, I turned to walk down the shaded walk. As I did I realized that maybe, just maybe… T.A. Hamilton has it right. The magic is in each of us and is what makes life worthwhile after all. May your day be magical.