Larry Thornton
A Brief Biography

ONCE UPON A TIME, way back in the 1950's, there were no personal computers, no video games, and no multi-channel cable television. So what was a kid to do with his time? We had lots of fads: the hoola hoop, the yo yo, annual marbles season, and of course, the beginnings of rock and roll. As the pop culture of the times drifted through the background of my life, I started exploring the public library.

It seems I must have made a wrong turn down one library aisle at the age of about nine or ten. That's when I discovered the magic books. I haven't been a normal person since!

My budding interest in magic led me to ads in magazines by American mail-order magic companies. I ordered their catalogues, and began buying small tricks and showing them to my classmates at school and to friends around my neighborhood. When I turned 15, I joined a correspondence organization created by and for teenagers, called The American Magic Club. I wrote articles for the club's little monthly mimeographed newsletter, and designed magic crossword puzzles. A year later I met my first magicians, who introduced me to their local magic club.

In 1968, I joined the world's largest and most prestigious magic organization, the International Brotherhood of Magicians (the I.B.M.). This world-wide brotherhood of magic was founded by a Canadian teenager in Winnipeg over 70 years ago, along with a couple of American boys. The I.B.M. produces a monthly magazine called The Linking Ring, and it has established magic chapters (called "Rings") in cities throughout the world. This year marks my 35th consecutive year as a member the I.B.M., earning the prestigious "Order of Merlin" (for 25 years) and the now, the "Excaliber" award.

For several years I attended annual magic conventions in Alberta, British Columbia, Montana, and California. At one of these conventions, I won first prize in a contest category called "Close Up Magic" (magic with cards, coins, and other small objects).

Throughout the 1970's, before the home video camera made its appearance, I made Super 8mm colour and sound movies of some of the world's greatest professional magicians. I also filmed many amateur magicians in Canada. My film library now consists of about 16 hours of magic acts. I switched to video in the 1980's and my collection grew to over four hundred hours of magic shows, most of the tapes being televised programs. Does anyone remember the popular Canadian magician Doug Henning and his series of annual one-hour TV specials? Or perhaps some Albertans may recall Edmonton magician Dale Harney, who starred in his own weekly Calgary series, the "Magic Palace". Harney's television program ran for three years and featured some of the world's best professional magicians, and I managed to record most of it for my video library.

During the mid 1970's I started performing magic shows professionally for children and family audiences in Calgary and throughout southern Alberta, and I've been expanding my skills in that area of entertainment ever since.

Though magic is my hobby and profession, other interests include reading science books, biking the Calgary trails, and weight training.

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