By Jane Keller Gordon, Contributing Writer
Millbury – Larry Parker may be retired, but he’s a very busy man — a very busy magician. Parker, who calls himself “Mr. Magic”, puts on about 10 to 12 shows a month, mostly at senior centers throughout New England.
His fascination with parlor tricks and close-up magic began when he was a child, putting on puppet shows for 10 cents in the hallway of his family’s three-decker in Worcester. At the time, his local library was a wonderful resource for him, filled with information on rope, coin and card tricks.
He expanded his repertoire by buying tricks from catalogues. He honed his art by performing in front of a mirror.
Parker graduated from a high school called Worcester Trades Boys’ High School, which is now called Worcester Technical High School. After high school, he took classes at Worcester Junior College, and electrical and mechanical seminars at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
“When I was in the Air Force, I performed at the officer’s club in Greenland. There was a competition like ‘America’s Got Talent.’ If you won, you got to go back to the states. I almost did!” said Parker.
During his career as a machine designer, including 32 years as an engineering manager at Security Engineered Machinery in Westborough, magic was always close to his heart.
He is a member of the Society of American Magicians, which holds monthly meetings in central Massachusetts. Magicians present tricks and then charge others to learn the technique.
During National Magic Week, the last week of October, Parker does shows for free. Otherwise, “I charge a small amount to retirement places, because I’m also retired.”
Parker has four shows that he presents.
“Being a magician is like being a comedian,” he noted. “You have to track the audience and get them involved.”
Recently Parker performed his Chinese rice to water trick at Heritage at Framingham, an assisted living center.
“That one is difficult,” he said.
He used the power of the wand to do card tricks.
“My bifocal lenses are so powerful I can read cards from a distance,” Parker joked.
Parker pulled on four ends of ropes, tied them in a knot, cut them and restored the rope.
He poured milk into a cone of newspaper, and, with a wand, made it disappear.
Parker pulled a shoelace through a steel ring.
Balls, scarves, and coins appear to move through space.
Parker puts back together shredded currency.
“I saw that trick on the Ed Sullivan show,” he recalled. “Sometimes the smallest tricks are the hardest to believe.”
Lori Delgado, director of sales and marketing at Heritage at Framingham, said Mr. Magic is very engaging and keeps the crowd entertained.
In addition to senior events, Parker said that he performs at bank openings.
“I’ll produce half dollars and give them to people to open accounts,” he said.
Parker tried to get a spot on the television show “What’s My Line?” He didn’t make it, but throughout New England, audiences – mostly seniors – are enjoying his talents every week.
To contact Parker, call 508-865-3047.