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Topic: How old is too old?
Message: Posted by: Jim Poor (Dec 27, 2005 06:02PM)
As I mentioned in my introduction a couple weeks ago, I was medically discharged from the Army in Feb of 05. My 'condition' is debilitating (though I'm determined to fight that part of it). As much as I have enjoyed it, I never really considered magic as a career/money maker for me. It turns out that since I have started actually learning instead of watchin only,it might be an alternative to consider now. I'm not sure that a 35 year old man can become good enough quickly enough to actually make some money in the future. I love my current job (teaching of sorts) and plan to incorporate some magic there too, but I work 12-15 hour days. That leaves little time for practice.
Message: Posted by: thumbslinger (Dec 27, 2005 06:18PM)
Yes. You can start at 35 and start making money at magic if you rehearse and practice and focus on one area and work at the markets for that area.

If Jerry Andrus can still be doing it at 93, you can certainly start at 35!
Message: Posted by: Dawai (Dec 27, 2005 10:32PM)
Ive seen many people of all ages making money. Its how much you are looking for. You can do it. Age don't matter.
Message: Posted by: Justin R (Dec 27, 2005 10:38PM)
I think I read on here somewhere that Bert Allerton didn't start magic till he was 50(ish). Can somebody confirm or deny this for me?

The good thing about magic is that unlike baseball,basketball,football etc... you're not an old man at 40 that has to retire.

Didn't people also say that Marlo was in his prime during his 50's ?
Message: Posted by: Paolo Venturini (Dec 27, 2005 11:35PM)
The best thing in magic is that an old magician (I mean an old man doing magic) looks good (instead of many jobs), looks experience, and people paid more attention to them. First at all you should think about doing tricks with passion, feel the tricks like you like them not for doing money... this will came later, when you'll be really sure what you're doing. Take you time, practiced them and learn the psicology of entertain people. And alls above say that you'll havn't problem.
Don't forget to ask for any advices you are looking for: this is a great site for help.

Paolo Venturini
Message: Posted by: LostSoul (Dec 28, 2005 07:25AM)
Boy I hope 35 isn't too old...I'm just starting at looking to make money doing magic and I'm over 50 :). I don't think you're ever too old to learn to do something, once you stop learning, you die. My goal is to learn at least 1 thing every day, most days I learn much more.

Dave
Message: Posted by: Anabelle (Dec 28, 2005 07:42AM)
I think Eugene Burger was 40 when he started.

Anabelle
Message: Posted by: Brad Burt (Mar 6, 2006 11:19PM)
Dear Jim:

35 is nothing. I've had students all the way into their 70's who took magic up as a hobby and actually did get good enough to do shows on a part time basis. There is so much available now that if you really applied yourself there is no reason not to go forward. Best,
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Mar 7, 2006 10:01AM)
I personaly find my ability to focus (esential to learn magic well) improves with age, and I'm the same age as you. Starting at 35 will give you a real edge is missing out on all the remedial garbage we have to learn as kids, because we are kids. Things like understanding that executing an effect is the least important part of performing it.
Message: Posted by: Edith (Mar 7, 2006 11:40AM)
Ha so there is still hope for me.

I am 18 right now. :)


Actually this thread kinda makes me feel relieved because I always seem to hear that everybody started like when they were in kindergarten or elementary school.
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Mar 7, 2006 12:04PM)
As long as you don't feel a need to start learning how to ride a unicycle, you're OK. Now THAT'S something you have to start before you are 16 or forget about it! But magic isn't like sitting on a stick that's mounted on a wheel, fortunately, and when you fall, it's not as painful to get up again.

Spellbinder (in his 70's) just announced to me he is going to take up Contact Juggling to work it in with his Wizard magic. This, I'll have to see!
Message: Posted by: pkg (Mar 7, 2006 05:12PM)
Too old would be when you forget to unzip ur flyer when you go to the loo....till you reach that it's never too old! good luck!
Message: Posted by: thebodster (Mar 8, 2006 02:53PM)
This thread has brightened my day!

I thought I was too old starting out at 32. Nice to know that I am not the only one starting "late".

I have found that as I got older my patience has increased exponentially and that can only be good as you battle with that new killer move :)
Message: Posted by: jdbach (Mar 8, 2006 09:16PM)
Yikes!
I'm 56 and I find that magic is ageless. Next time you get the opportunity to perform a bit of magic, watch the faces of the spectators. Your age has little to do with anything my friend.

Best of luck to you.
Message: Posted by: milamber (Mar 10, 2006 01:42AM)
I took a 12 year hiatus and got back into magic at age 32 (I'll be turning 35 this year). Although, I haven't performed for money, I feel I'm more than ready to do this if I chose to... But, I prefer to baffle unsuspecting people instead... for free. :D
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Mar 11, 2006 09:09AM)
35 is when I got back in to it. It doesn't work. Abandon all hope.

Now Rusty is another story.

By the way, Recently I saw a man who'd been performing for 45 years. If you 1/3 as good as I think you are (from your posts), you'd be 20 times better than him.
Message: Posted by: Gonzo (Mar 11, 2006 10:45AM)
35 is not to old, that's when I got into magic, it's been 8 years, I've learned a lot and have performed many paid shows. My advice is to pick what type of performer you would like to be (kid shows, closeup, stage, comedy) and devote your time developing that type of show. I've seen many magicians that performed pretty simple tricks but were big hits because of their personality. Remember, it doesn't have to be a technically challenging routine to be entertaining.
Message: Posted by: whizzomagic (Mar 13, 2006 09:34AM)
I agree with a lot of these posts. I'm 28, but I started in magic at the tender age of 8, so I've been an off/on again practicing magician for 20 years now. But some of my friends have just gotten into magic over the last couple of years and they are all pushing 30 like me. I also had a great friend and teacher by the name of Mike Davis who had only begun magic in his mid to late 30's, but became good enough by his 40's to command a pretty penny for childrens parties and stage shows.

Just remember, magic is like fine wine- it gets better with age.


Good Luck!
Message: Posted by: pdmedic (Mar 13, 2006 01:02PM)
I think that as long as you are physicaly capable of performing the routines you are never to old or to young to learn this art.
Message: Posted by: rowdymagi5 (Mar 14, 2006 05:05PM)
You would be surprised how many accomplished Magicians started in their 30's. Bob Kohler comes to mind right away. Age is just a mindset. Ask Big George Foreman!
Message: Posted by: Stanyon (Mar 15, 2006 03:21PM)
As long as you have not become a drooler you should be okay!

Cheers! ;)
Message: Posted by: Talarspeed (Mar 15, 2006 04:08PM)
I'm 40 and getting back into it. My career kept me busy so I took a break. I'm just concentrating on bringing back my skill level for the first year.
Message: Posted by: Howdydoodat (Mar 17, 2006 07:16AM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-07 13:04, jimgerrish wrote:
As long as you don't feel a need to start learning how to ride a unicycle, you're OK. Now THAT'S something you have to start before you are 16 or forget about it! But magic isn't like sitting on a stick that's mounted on a wheel, fortunately, and when you fall, it's not as painful to get up again.

[/quote]
I learned to ride a unicycle at 32 so that's not true either. I agree though age should not be a barrier. Dedication is what is required which, I guess, is true of anything you want to learn in life.
Message: Posted by: Mike.Shots (Mar 17, 2006 01:45PM)
Shoot ogawa's friend started in magic when he was 40, and became a professional at 42. It's just a random story he told during a lecture.
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Mar 17, 2006 02:23PM)
A buddy of mine tried to learn the unicycle at 51. It didn't work.
Message: Posted by: GaryW (Mar 17, 2006 10:30PM)
I know practice is an important part of it... but more important is: are you a performer? If you are you could hit the streets with a couple of gimmicks and woo the masses.. (OK, the few that stop to watch) :)

I know people that spend years mastering the craft that can't perform for a dog's birthday party, they just don't have that necessary talent. A performer with a little skill can make some decent coin with good marketing skills...It's the total package, and magic skill is only one step.

You mentioned you were discharged from the Army. I just want to say Thank You for being there.
Message: Posted by: ALEXANDRE (Mar 21, 2006 10:27AM)
Really, you're never too old.
Message: Posted by: gollymrscience (Mar 21, 2006 06:18PM)
I find that as I get older my definition of "old guy" has become a moving target. Honestly there is no upper age. There are effects that anyone can do at any age but do they have the showmanship to make it magic.
Stanyon makes the point that as long as you aren't a drooler then you should be ok. I agree, but you COULD be a drooler if you make it part of the act.
Its not like you have to do anything terribly athletic to be a good magician unless you want to. Magic is very adaptable as long as you are.
Message: Posted by: vincentmusician (Feb 6, 2021 08:54AM)
I did not start magic until I was 35. I saw John Calvert give a lecture and performed a short excellent Magic Show for us at the Toronto Magic Club. He was 99!
Age really is just a number. I know many Magicians who perform full time in their seventies. So it gives me inspiration in my 50's to keep going for many years to come.
Just design your show to include Magic and routines suited to your ability and age and audience. Magic is the one thing that keeps me young and has brought me joy. My message to all of you. Keep going and keep having FUN!
Message: Posted by: mightytimbo (Feb 6, 2021 11:57AM)
I love this thread. I have been interested in magic since I was a kid and learned occasional trick but started to get serious about it this year. I'm 37. I envy my 10 year old who is getting into some serious concepts along with me and by the time he is a teenager wiil have strong foundation. But when you look at Dai Vernon who was amazing audiences when he was very old, or even Penn and Teller who have reached the peak of their fame now in thir 70s, I think we have plenty of room. Thanks for the encouragement!
Message: Posted by: mightytimbo (Feb 6, 2021 11:58AM)
I love this thread. I have been interested in magic since I was a kid and learned occasional trick but started to get serious about it this year. I'm 37. I envy my 10 year old who is getting into some serious concepts along with me and by the time he is a teenager wiil have strong foundation. But when you look at Dai Vernon who was amazing audiences when he was very old, or even Penn and Teller who have reached the peak of their fame now in thir 70s, I think we have plenty of room. Thanks for the encouragement!
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Feb 6, 2021 02:41PM)
I wonder if OP ever stuck with magic... He hasn't posted since 2008 :no:

Addressing the subject of this 13 year old thread: There are thousands upon thousands of brilliant magic tricks that don't rely on the reflexes of a young man.

Building a commercially viable repertoire that you can sell isn't about wowing other magicians with your technical skill, it's about connecting with an audience in a meaningful way. What form that connection takes is up to you!
Funny, serious, mysterious, folksy, sophisticated... all of these are valid possibilities. None of them imply an entry level of sleight of hand skill.

OP mentioned "good enough, quick enough, to actually make some money" ... Well that's a different question altogether, isn't it?

I don't know about anyone else, but when I was called upon to do a renaissance faire act in short notice, on a whim I decided to to throw in The Buddha Papers. I used an old newspaper in an old-style German font, which I just happened to have lying around, that looked very "Ye Oldye Tymie" and was just exotic enough to pique the imagination of a typical American ren-faire audience. It really doesn't get any quicker or easier than the buddha papers now, does it?

Imagine my surprise when that trick got some of my best reactions... I was almost INSULTED that this little piece of "throw away" magic got as good, if not better, reactions than some of my genuine "knuckle busters".

So, was this good enough/ quick enough? It took me all of an hour or two to construct the trick, and another hour or two to rehearse the patter. Of course, I also had years of performing experience under my belt. I also had the talent to script a "garbage" trick into something that people could enjoy, and the "wisdom" (if I may be so bold...) to understand that the strength of the magic wasn't as important as how the magic makes people feel...

"Good enough/ quick enough to make money" is a strange question to ask in general. It used to be that you could, if you were brave enough, just throw together 3-4 of your favorite tricks and go down to the local farmer's market, pass your hat around, and see what comes back to you. Obviously that's not happening anytime in the immediate future, but the principle stands!
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Feb 6, 2021 11:23PM)
There are battery powered unicycles, referring to Josh #b's post from 2006. 15 years ago
I just saw one today!

How hard did you have to dig to get that far back?
Message: Posted by: wulfiesmith (Mar 3, 2021 02:44PM)
Hi Jim ...
goodness, you are not too old to start a magic side-career.
I am 70 years old, and still earn $$$ from it.

What are your potential performance options?
bar guests, friends?

Wulfie
Message: Posted by: TeddyBoy (Mar 4, 2021 03:30PM)
[quote]On Mar 3, 2021, wulfiesmith wrote:
Hi Jim ...
goodness, you are not too old to start a magic side-career.
I am 70 years old, and still earn $$$ from it.

What are your potential performance options?
bar guests, friends?

Wulfie [/quote]

Finally, someone of my vintage. However, I have no intention to maKe money doing it, just a hobby so maybe my post does not count. But anyway, I started in my 60s.
Message: Posted by: Forza Azzurri (Mar 22, 2021 01:58PM)
[quote]On Mar 8, 2006, thebodster wrote:
This thread has brightened my day!

I thought I was too old starting out at 32. Nice to know that I am not the only one starting "late".

I have found that as I got older my patience has increased exponentially and that can only be good as you battle with that new killer move :) [/quote]

Um. I'm 64 and just got seriously started. Feh. Might even check out juggling on a unicycle. Why not? And y'all are right about the patience aspect. Throw in the "I'm too old to be ashamed if I screw up" and Bob's your uncle!
Message: Posted by: Forza Azzurri (Mar 22, 2021 02:03PM)
[quote]On Mar 3, 2021, wulfiesmith wrote:
Hi Jim ...
goodness, you are not too old to start a magic side-career.
I am 70 years old, and still earn $$$ from it.

What are your potential performance options?
bar guests, friends?

Wulfie [/quote]

Sorry Wulfie, you've only got about 30 or 40 years left. Give up now!
Message: Posted by: Forza Azzurri (Mar 22, 2021 02:04PM)
[quote]On Mar 15, 2006, Stanyon wrote:
As long as you have not become a drooler you should be okay!

Cheers! ;) [/quote]

A challenge! I look forward to creating a routine where drooling is a part of the effect.
Message: Posted by: Russo (Mar 22, 2021 02:22PM)
I'm 84 - don't drool and busy in Magic - hope you're kidding. Maybe it's because I started when I was 12 (as a welfare child and family could use the $$), and it keeps me young. If not kidding, you're insulting.
Message: Posted by: Roberto Juan (Mar 28, 2021 02:01PM)
[quote]On Feb 6, 2021, gaddy wrote:

Imagine my surprise when that trick got some of my best reactions... I was almost INSULTED that this little piece of "throw away" magic got as good, if not better, reactions than some of my genuine "knuckle busters".[/quote]

Great post. This part reminds me of something. I've meditated regularly for many years and sometimes read books about psychology and Buddhism. In Zen Buddhism, there's a concept called beginner's mind, which refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions. It's challenging to let go of preconceptions about what we THINK will be received well and what won't, but I believe it's a critical part of evolving. The more I assume I know the exact recipe for success, the more narrow my mind becomes.

As the famous quote goes - In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few.
Message: Posted by: Forza Azzurri (Mar 29, 2021 10:45AM)
Definitely not insulting. The whole drooling comment is meant as self deprecating. So definitely kidding by all of us. Except for those kids on my lawn. They most DEFINITELLY have to get off my lawn.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Mar 29, 2021 03:56PM)
At 76 I am still trying to find the time to sort through all the magic effect I have collected or made.
I might even perform again despite arthritis and mobility problems.

But each year I have less time. Why? Because I can't hire anybody reliable to do work for me.
Either they don't show up on time or won't follow instructions - all the time wanting far too much money for doing little and knowing less.
So, I have to do things myself. Just finished a 200sqft deck - holes, concrete, posts, joists, deck boards - everything. Railing too.
And I had to load the lumber myself at the Home Depot.

No time for magic at my age.
Message: Posted by: Tmbrunk225 (Apr 1, 2021 08:24PM)
I retired from teaching. I'm 65. I had an interest as a teen. I'm full-on studying magic now. Hobby. Passion. Books. Books. Books. So much to learn. Tested some tricks on family and kids with good results. Never too old! NEVER too old!
Message: Posted by: Forza Azzurri (Apr 24, 2021 06:41AM)
On last night's Penn & Teller's FOOL US (Friday, April 23, 2021) 70 year old magician Chris Capehart performed. Not too old to fool Penn & Teller! Though, for the specific performance, I wasn't blown away. That DOES happen on the show since performers perform for such a limited time and in that specific environment which isn't the best for all types of magic. I think sometimes they don't choose their best routine for TV.

Note also that Penn is 66 years old and Teller is 73 years old. Magicians age well.
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Apr 27, 2021 02:36PM)
[quote]
Note also that Penn is 66 years old and Teller is 73 years old. Magicians age well. [/quote]

It's a fairly well established factoid that magic keeps you young. It also keeps you spry when you're old
;)