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. In 1945, he joined the US Navy, serving
on the USS West Virginia.
About Mr. Magic
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Dick's wife and partner of 57 years, Virginia Williams, passed away on
January 1, 2007. She was a coloratura soprano, music teacher, and his
partner on Magicland, She worked tirelessly sewing costumes, arranging
music, organizing props, and directing assistants to keep the show running
smoothly. Virginia was preceded in death by their only child, Sherry.
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 worked as a radio
announcer for several years before moving to Amarillo, TX in the 50's to become a
TV weatherman. 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 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 show on
WMC. He said yes, thinking it might be on the air for a year, and then after five years
was amazed he still had enough material. For 23 years, Magicland was a popular
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: 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).
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 magician's finger aerobics (picts here).
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 the authorized version of 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 - Excalibur.
Click here for more information on Dick Williams' published works and
remastering of several of his favorite tricks, including the Cups & Balls.