Genii (January 1949)
Januay 1, 1930
|Flourished||1940s - 2000s|
|Known for||Prince Marko, Fantom Follies, Theatre of Illusion, Circus World Museum|
Richard L. "Dick" Berry (b. 1930) is a magician, collector, author and builder of illusions who performed as "Marko the Magician" in eight decades.
As with many amateur magicians in the early part of the 20th Century, Dick Berry caught the bug when he was given a Mysto Magic Set as a Christmas gift in 1937. As a youngster growing up during The Great Depression times were tough and young Dick Berry entertained himself by mastering the pocket tricks in the set and reading everything he could about the craft. In doing so he started a magic library which he continued to build over 70 years.
On September 2, 1942 Berry was among those in the audience for a matinee performance given by Harry Blackstone at the Lincoln Theatre in his hometown of Decatur, Illinois. Just before the performance began, fire broke out in a drugstore next-door. After being told of the fire, Blackstone, led Berry and the others in the audience into the street avoiding panic. That night his parents took him to the hotel to meet the Great Blackstone and thank him for saving their son's life. Berry's father told Blackstone of his interest in magic and the magician encouraged the youngster to write him. Over the next several years the two developed a correspondence as his sophistication in magic began to advance.
In the spring of 1948 he joined the Blackstone "Show of 1001 Wonders" as an assistant. Over the next three seasons he traveled with Blackstone, and in 1950 was joined by his long-time assistant and new wife Phyllis.
In the 1950s the Berrys framed a "Spook Show" titled Fantom Follies which was booked as a midnight performance following horror movies of the era. The show featured many traditional magic effects, but with a macabre twist.
In the early 1970s Dick and Phyllis Berry formed Theatre of Illusion which was a college-level theatre course which taught magic and illusion to students in colleges and universities throughout the United States. In the 1980s and 1990s the Berrys produced Theatre of Illusion as a long-running revue for the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The show was reviewed in New Tops, June 1972.
In 2016 he was living in Sanford, Florida.
- ↑ Cover: Marko The Magician (Richard Berry), Challenge Blindfold Drive Genii 1949 January
- ↑ MUM, July 1992