Sometimes we wish we had a magic wand that would make our problems disappear. But real life doesn’t work that way, and that’s why local magicians this weekend are holding a fund-raiser — though they really don’t want to use that word — for Dick Williams, host of WMC-TV’s Magicland show for 23 years.
“A Tribute to Mr. Magic, Dick Williams” will take place Saturday, August 29th at 6 p.m. and Sunday, August 30th, at 3 p.m. at the Germantown Performing Arts Centre. Proceeds from both shows will help defray medical costs for Williams, who has been hospitalized with hip and head injuries after suffering a fall.
“Ask anyone who was around the Mid-South from 1966 to 1989 about Dick Williams’ magic show, and you will immediately see a smile on their faces,” says Memphis magician Tim Rappel. “He inspired many children and adults — including me — to take up the art of magic.”
Williams began his career as a radio announcer in Wichita, Kansas, at the age of 17. In 1965, he moved to Memphis to work for WMC as an announcer and weatherman. When station officials here learned he was a magician — a skill he picked up after receiving a magic set as a Christmas gift — they offered him his own show. Magicland premiered in 1966, and the half-hour Sunday-morning show left its mark in the Guinness Book of World Records for remaining on the air for 23 years, making it the longest-running magic show in television history. Williams retired from the show 20 years ago this year.
“A Tribute to Mr. Magic” will feature professional magicians and never-before-seen clips from his show. “It will be two days of magic and memories,” Rappel says. — Michael Finger