Magician teaches kids important life lessons
With the sounds of “Wooly Bully” pumping over loudspeakers, an eager crowd of island youngsters gathered at the Sanibel Public Library on Tuesday to see magician Scott Humston perform his family-friendly assortment of visual wizardry and slight-of-hand trickery.
And when Humston, who makes his home in Mount Dora, Fla. appeared from around a curtain, the group came alive with laughter… and remained there at full attention for the next hour.
Humston’s first sight gag, a dancing – and whimsically disobedient – handkerchief named Hank, triggered a lot of giggles from the 25 children sitting at the foot of the stage, and some genuine laughter from the dozen or so parents sitting to the rear of the room. After all, comedy – as well as magic – is ageless.
“Do you know how to get a handkerchief to dance?” Humston asked the crowd. “You put a little boogie in it.”
“They say that it might rain cats and dogs today on Sanibel. So when you go outside, make sure you don’t step in any poodle.”
During his performance, Humston said that he began his interest in magic as a youngster, when he and his father would go to the library in his hometown of Lakeland, Fla. There, he would look for any books about magic, take them home and then began practicing illusions on his own.
Humston then engaged his audience in a re-telling of a classic tale called “The Empty Pot.” During this segment of the show, through several eye-popping tricks and clever storytelling, he taught the gathered crowd an important life lesson.
“It takes courage to be honest,” he noted.
Humston, who estimated that he travels 50,000 miles every year performing a variety of magic-oriented shows – one geared towards elementary-age children (The Pro Kids Show), another geared towards middle-schoolers (Up!) and a third created with a religious message (In God’s Time) – across the country, once did a show for the President of the United States.
“Thank you for coming to the White House,” a message from President George W. Bush and Laura Bush on his Web site (www.scotthumston.com) reads. “Your engaging performance delighted everyone and helped create happy memories for thousands…”
The highlight of his act, as kids universally reported after the show, was the appearance of Puff, a puppet rabbit who lives in Humston’s magic hat. Like Hank, Puff was equally disobedient… but delivered three times the chuckles.
“I liked seeing Carson in the show,” said Susan McCallion, referring to one of the children in the audience – Carson Liebetrau – being used as an assistant. “The bunny was great, too. I wanted to take him home.”
Humston’s appearance not only marked his first time doing his act on Sanibel, but it was also the last of the library’s summer lineup of guest performances for children.
“I had never been here before, but I was very pleased. They were a really responsive group,” said Humston after the show. “This was my new act, which has been developed from hours and hours of material I’ve done over the years. Depending upon where you see me, you’re going to see a different show.”