Watching these political debates makes me realize that I’ve had some very interesting political experiences being a magician…
In Houston I have performed fundraising events for Mayor Bill White and fundraising events with First Lady Barbara Bush. On the national stage I presented exclusive dinner entertainment for Vice President Walter Mondale’s Presidential fundraiser. After one particularly surprising trick, he smiled at me and said “Hey — We need more of your Magic in Washington!
While performing for six months in Bal Harbour, Florida, the Mayor of Miami Beach surprised me by presenting me with “The Key to the City of Miami Beach” which hangs proudly in my office right now. One night during that six month run, Speaker of the House “Tip” O’Neill was in the theater audience and after the show he wanted to meet me and the big, fun guy that he is gave me a good slap on the back while we laughed about the show.
But my favorite memory was on a very exclusive cruise ship in Europe when President and Betty Ford were sailing with us.
They came complete with a contingent of very serious Secret Service men who strategically positioned themselves to limit access to the couple during their cruise – in fact, at dinner, the Fords’ table was positioned in the corner of the dining room and the secret service men were positioned between them and the dining room door.
The night after my show, Carol-Ann and I walked into the dining room for dinner and people started applauding (we did a really good show the night before). One of the tricks I presented was a trick where I borrow three wedding rings from gentlemen in the audience and I link them together – I am very proud of that trick and it took me two years developing that routine. (When I present it onstage we even zoom in on camera so the illusion can be seen from every seat in the house!)
As we followed the Matre’D to our table, the Secret Service men – rather than keeping us away — called us over to their table. I wasn’t sure what they wanted, but they said, “What do you want us to give you for the secret to that ring trick… guns… bullets… what do you want?”
We laughed and I politely told them I couldn’t tell them – I had to the keep the secret. They asked for my card and I gave it to them.
Weeks later, a package arrived in the mail from the “U.S. Treasury Department”. Concerned, Carol-Ann opened it and inside was a framed, signed picture of President Ford saying; “To Harry and Carol Ann Maurer – Congrats on a great show! Best Wishes, Gerald R. Ford”
What a wonderful memory!