Dick "Mr. Magic" Williams started learning magic at age 7 from a Christmas gift: a Gilbert magic set. He wanted to
join the Wizards of Wichita (KS) but membership was limited to those who were at least 18 years old. After seeing a
performance, they were delighted to make an exception and granted Dick charter membership when he was 13. He
performed with the club at military bases during World War II (scroll down for 1944 photos). In 1945, he joined the U.S.
Navy, serving on the U.S.S. West Virginia. He was one month shy of being 18 years old, not uncommon during the
turmoil after Pearl Harbor.
About Mr. Magic
© Dick Williams and MagiclandTV.com.
Hosted by family of Mr Magic.
All Rights Reserved.
Dick's wife and partner of 57 years, Virginia Williams, passed away on January 1, 2007, due to
Alzheimer's (about one month shy of her 87th birthday). She was a coloratura soprano, music
teacher, and his partner on Magicland. Virginia worked tirelessly sewing costumes, arranging
music, organizing props, and directing assistants to keep the show running smoothly. She
was preceded in death by their only child, Sherry, who died in 1981 at the age of 29...leaving
behind two small children.
Dick started his career in radio when he was only 17 years old, after winning a contest for having the best voice out of nearly 200 people (he won
$50!). In Wichita, he finished college (B.A. in Liberal Arts, major: Political Science, Wichita State University) and worked as a KAKE radio announcer
for several years before transferring to KEDD-TV in 1955 (photo). Before that, in 1947, he met his future wife, Virginia, when he announced her live
singing on KAKE radio. They married in 1949. In 1956, Dick and his wife and daughter moved to Amarillo, TX. It was there that he started a
television magic show that was the beginning of his later success. Dick performed over 300 magic shows on KGNC (now KAMR) TV channel 4
(NBC) in Amarillo, TX, starting in 1963, in addition to being a weatherman. Before his KGNC gig, Dick tried selling insurance and taught history to
high school students. But, his true passion was broadcasting...and magic!
In 1965 Dick joined WMC-TV, Channel 5, the NBC affiliate in Memphis, TN, as a staff announcer and weatherman (over 7000 weathercasts by
1989). After hearing about his TV magic show in TX, he was asked if he would like to start a family magic show on WMC-TV. After talking with wife,
Virginia, he agreed, thinking it might be on the air for a year. After five years was amazed he still had enough material. Dick read many magic books
to come up with ideas and received feedback on tricks and patter from wife, Virginia. There was a lot of preparation, behind-the-scenes.
Dick was the star of WMC-TV5's "Dick Williams' Magicland," a half-hour weekly show in Memphis, TN (Jan. 1966-1989).
Dick performed tricks and illusions, juggled clubs and scarves, and is often remembered for his signature finger moves
(Magician's Finger Exercises photos).
Dick was featured in the 2005 Guinness World Records book on pg. 182 in a "Magic & Illusions"
section as well as pg. 154 in the 2006 book for having the longest running magic show in
television history, with 1200 broadcasts (1500 TV shows total, if you include his shows on NBC
in TX). He was the first to perform an authorized version of Robert Harbin's Zig-Zag illusion on
American TV (April 4th, 1971). He is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magician's
Order of Merlin - Excelsior; past member of Society of American Magicians.
Dick and his wife Virginia wrote a book, primarily for magicians,
entitled Lights! Cameras! Magic! (1994).
Click here for more information on Dick Williams' published
works and remastering of several of his favorite tricks, including
the Cups & Balls, as well as some info on the Zig-Zag and Light
Cabinet illusions. Also, magicians that influenced Dick.
Published works & trick development:
|Dick Williams was on the cover of the
International Brotherhood of Magicians'
Linking Ring magazine in June 1989. He
also appeared on the cover of another
magic periodical: The New TOPS,
November 1974. See images, here.
Dick is a charter & life
member of the Wizards of
Wichita IBM Ring #47, in KS.
He is also a life member and
past president of the Society
of Memphis Magicians IBM
Ring #16 in Memphis, TN.
Juggling Indian clubs
(taught by "Buster" Barnard)
For 23 years, Magicland was a popular family TV show in Memphis, with as many adults watching as children. Dick had a natural knack for coming up with genuine and relevant
patter that enhanced the magic. Guest stars on Magicland included: Harmon Baker, Blackstone, Jr., Zaney Blaney, Ali Bongo, John Booth, John Calvert, Ricki Dunn, Frank Everhart,
David Ginn, Mercer Helms, George Johnstone, Bob & Nikki Kenney, Jay Marshall, The Memphis Magicians, Charlie Miller, Tom Ogden, Col. Seymour, Ben Small, Joe White, and
Mark Wilson (source: Who's Who in Magic by Whaley).
|Wizards of Wichita USO Tour (circa 1944)