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Norm Nielsen, Born February 17, 1934 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, his interest in magic started at a young age after watching his barber perform a few cigarette tricks. Later he had the opportunity to go to his first magic convention in White Water, Wisconsin, were he saw Neil Foster perform. Seeing this magician was such an inspiration that he soon went to Los Angeles and applied to the Chavez School of Magic. It was there that students practiced and perfected sleights and routines with cigarettes, thimbles, balls, cards and anything that the course prescribed. He finally graduated in 1953.
An agent in Hollywood advised him to “Develop something of your own.” in order to be a success in Magic. This indeed was the best piece of advice anyone had given him.
One of his first ideas was to make a trumpet toot as it floated in thin air. He eventually rejected it, as the audience would not be able to see the keys move as they played the magical instrument. This led to the creation of the floating violin, whose moving bow was sure to be seen. He made several prototypes, and it took almost two years before it was ready. It took several more years to perfect the illusion to its current state. This illusion one of the most memorable effects in magic and Nielsens’ trademark.
Most of his Musical Magic Act is described by John Fisher in the book Paul Daniels and the Story of Magic: “This warm, engaging performer weaves a very special spell of wonder as first a flute disintegrates into silver dust the moment it touches his lips. Coins appear mysteriously at his fingertips, to be dropped melodically upon what resembles a vertical xylophone, down which they tinkle with a distinctive melody of their own, faster and faster until his hands are overflowing. The whole sequence has that Cartier stamp of dazzle and class. Nielsen’s speciality, however, is his floating violin, rightly considered to be one of the most beautiful illusions in magic. The instrument takes on a bewitching life of its own as it soars, spins, and plays hide-and-seek behind a silk scarf in Nielsen’s hands. Balanced precariously across the strings, the bow moves tantalizingly to and fro to play hauntingly of their own accord. In a last attempt to tame the instrument, the magician throws the scarf high into the air. In less than a second, the violin literally melts away. Nielsen walks forward to acknowledge his applause; from the wings the violin enters at ground level and makes its way to his side. As Nielsen takes his bow, the violin dips the head of his fingerboard as its own cheeky mark of respect. Seldom has a magician endowed a supposedly inanimate object with such telling personality.”
Nielsen’s act has been on of the most sought after variety acts in Europe. Mr. Nielsen has worked in London, Helsinki, Istanbul, Tokyo, Caracas, Santiago, Las Vegas, Sydney, Monte Carlo, etc. Indeed, he has worked in almost every top nightclub in the world, including the Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris, where he performed on and off for six years.
Apart from his performing career, he is the owner of Nielsen Magic, his magic business since 1956. In the early years, he learned how to make magic props from Theo Bamberg, also known as Okito. He was given permission by Okito to manufacture all items of his line, including the beautiful Okito Checker Cabinet. He is also the manufacturer of the high-quality Nielsen line of products, which include among others, Vanishing Bottles, Rubber Doves and Manipulation Cards.
Stage Magician of the Year - Magic Castle (1970), Magician of the Year - Magic Castle (1978), Jack Gwynne Award (1977, 1988), Chavez Award 1991, Golden Mandrake Award - Paris (1991), Performing Fellowship - Magic Castle (1994), Magician’s Favorite Magician CBS-TV (1995), D.R.A.G.O.N Award (2005)
Norm Nielsen Website
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Categories: American magicians | 1934 births | Living people