I'm proud to consider Howie Schwarzman a very good friend. He is literally a living legend in the world of card magic, and we are very lucky to have him right here in Baltimore.

Most non-magicians probably never heard of him, but Dai Vernon, "The Man Who Fooled Houdini," was known as "The Professor," first in New York and then all across America and then the world. Vernon fooled Harry Houdini three times with the same card trick. In 1961, Vernon wrote Howie a very nice introduction when Howie started lecturing on card magic.

Vernon said of Howie, "In the last few years, you have certainly taken your place among the top flight card men in New York ... I think I'm familiar with the work of almost everyone interested in card handling, both professional and amateur, in this country. I unhesitatingly assert you can hold your own in the fastest company."

Great praise indeed from the man considered to be the greatest close-up magician of the 20th century.

 

By Brian Wendell Morton, photo by Jefferson Jackson Steele

"Magic Man."

Baltimore magazine, August 2001

Voices ­ Howard Schwarzman, magician

"When I was a little boy, I had an uncle who was a very fine magician, a member of the Society of American Magicians, his name was Solo Goldsmith. Whenever he came to the house, he had a suitcase full of magic tricks and he'd set up a table in the living room and do magic for my brother and myself. After seeing the same tricks several times, I began to develop my own ways of doing the tricks, and eventually, when I was about five, he showed me the right way of doing some of those tricks.

I was a charter member of a magic club ­ Future American Magical Entertainers ­ in New York City under the auspices of the Department of Parks. The head of the club and the official magician for New York under Mayor LaGuardia was Professor Abe Hurwitz. And he had a daughter who was about eight or nine years old at the time whose name was Phyllis. And through the magic club, she came down and learned magic. She also studied ballet and tap, piano, and ventriloquism, changed her name to Shari Lewis, and became quite famous.

Back in the 1940s, the magician and popular society bandleader Richard Himber was having a newspaper feud with the famous mentalist Joe Dunninger. And he said he could teach any 12-year-old to do Dunninger's mindreading act. And he did; he hired the Barbizon Plaza theatre and he taught me to do Dunninger's act, although I was fourteen, but I looked twelve. Many, many years later I met Dunninger but I never told him it was me.

I began to fly airplanes, I took flying lessons when I was 25, starting in about 1952. When I moved to Baltimore in 1963, I lived near Rutherford Airpark and bought my first airplane at the time and we flew it all over the country. I would fly it to the magic conventions, and then when I started lecturing on magic, I increased my rating ­ I got a commercial pilot's rating, a multi-engine rating, a seaplane rating and an instrument rating, so it helped facilitate the travel.

I'd still fly up to New York to visit. At Tannen's Magic Shop, there was one kid about 13 or 14, who used to hang around on Saturdays, and he would watch the older guys doing their stuff in the corners. Then he was Davino the boy magician ­ he's now known as David Copperfield. And now every time he comes to town he leaves me complimentary tickets.

Back in 1976 I became a magic dealer. I specialized in importing tricks that nobody else had. So it all came together; being a pilot, a magician, a salesperson, and a performer. And I did that up until 1993, when I decided to retire.

Now that I'm retired, I don't practice anymore, I just go to conventions and I nod knowingly. So if you do a few things very well, and don't upset people, you can become a legend!