Magician’s talent no illusion

When Paul Lee got his first magic kit for Christmas at age 10, he immediately set to work trying to learn the tricks.

“It was a little difficult in the beginning, but with practice and persistence I was able to master the kit,” he said.

His parents, noticing his talent, began buying him more advanced magic kits, and soon Lee was using his family and friends as audiences.

“I used to put on shows in my garage for the neighborhood,” he said. “It kept me going.”

These days, Lee still is wowing audiences through his successful Magic and Illusions of Paul Lee and Co., putting on productions all over Illinois that include magic tricks, illusions, live animals, audience participation and music backdrops.

“I don’t know if I was born to do (magic) but I love it,” Lee said. “I don’t believe there’s a better job than doing what I’m doing.”

Lee does a few hundred shows a year, including private events, programs for schools and libraries, birthday and bat and bar mitzvah celebrations, and holiday parties.

“The only thing I haven’t performed at yet is a funeral,” he said.

Of the 200 shows Lee performed this year, about 70 were repeat customers.

The magician and illusionist moved to Carol Stream from Melrose Park more than a decade ago.
“I was looking for a new place, and I liked the laid-back atmosphere,” he said of the village. “I fell in love with the area.”

Lee made 10 appearances as a guest magician on the Bozo Show during its syndication. He got the gig after meeting Marshall Brodein, the well-known magician who used to portray Wizzo the Wizard, more than 20 years ago at a magic shop.

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Lee attributes his success to “practice, dedication and hard work.” “Nowadays, there are online classes and DVDs,” he said. “I didn’t have any of that when I started. It was reading a book and practicing. I had to create my own routine.”

Lee aims to make his audience believe in magic. “I like to give people a sense of wonder,” he said. “As adults we kind of lose that wonder as we grow older,” he said. “I like to bring wonder back to people.”

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