Magicians in the Philippines can regale listeners with horror stories. If you’d care to listen, they would do it for hours on end.
These are stories of bloopers and blunders that happened during performances. Some incidents have comedic effects worthy of being joked about after the show. Some don’t lead to something serious, say, a dove accidentally killed in the load chambers before being produced. However, a good number also end in accidents (burned hands during fire magic) serious enough to require the hospitalization of the performer.
Perhaps the most infamously famous horror story was the one involving illusionists Siegfried and Roy and the Bengal tiger that ended their careers.
It happened in October 2003. During a live performance, the tiger sank its teeth into Roy Horn’s neck and dragged him offstage in front of a horrified audience. The attack partially paralyzed Roy after he suffered a damaged neck artery and crushed windpipe.
Well, let me share with you today another horror story. This time it happened to the birthday parents, not to the magician.
We cannot fault parents for looking for performers whose services cost the least. Some parents, especially those who are organizing parties for the first time, think all magicians are created alike. It seems a good judgment on their part to hire an entertainer who charges the lowest fee.’
And so it happened that this daddy did not hire Leodini. Instead he contracted three clowns to entertain at his child’s party. The clowns did party hosting, comedy, balloon twisting and magic. The package they offered seemed to be the best that money could buy, since everything they offered to do cost only P1,200.
Good deal, right?
First of all, the three clowns didn’t bring their own sound system. So three days before the party, the birthday dad bought a new Karaoke machine complete with a microphone to liven up his child’s party with music.
Second of all, the three clowns were greener than the greenest greenhorns. They just had a few parties chalked up to their experience. Their repertoire of balloon sculpting and magic entertainment was basic. Not only that, they had not mastered their act. They were a bundle of audacity, not of joy.
At the party, the three clowns promptly bored the children with their inexperience. Most of the audience did not find their funny antics funny. At meal time, the clowns were the first to eat. Not only that, they drank beer and smoke cigarettes after they had eaten their food.
The guests thought they had seen all the bad sides of the three clowns. Not so. The worst was yet to come.
During the magic show, one of the clowns attempted to perform a fire-eating act. Obviously, he had not yet acquired the skill to do it. When the heat became unbearable, he spat out the burning lighter fluid from his mouth and into the Karaoke machine. Immediately the Karaoke machine burst into flames, resulting in a pandemonium as the dad and some guests tried to extinguish the fire.
They succeeded in putting out the flames and saved the house—but not the Karaoke machine.
After the party, the daddy counted his losses—P1,200 for the three clowns plus his brand-new Karaoke. His consolation was that the fire-eating clown did not spit out the flaming lighter fluid toward the birthday boy. Otherwise, the child would have finished his birthday celebration in a hospital bed.