Murray SawChuck and the Lamborghini Spider

From Vancouver to Vegas, magician, actor, comedian, Murray SawChuck in his tall electric blue suit, his black designer glasses and blond, color-changing hair, has literally tricked his way into the hearts of North Americans. In April of this year, Murray will star on Celebracadabra, to be aired on VH1, in which he and other professional magicians will train celebs to do a magic trick. Each week focuses on a different genre of magic and each week a celeb and a magician will be eliminated. Murray's big trick - to produce a $200,000.000 Lamborghini Spider on the empty roof of the MGM Grand in one unedited, continuous shot. Sound simple?

I spoke with Murray on the telephone in Los Angeles as he was on his way to Tahiti for a week's work. As a kid growing up in Vancouver, “the first trick I perfected,” he tells me, “was how to make my parent's money disappear. But seriously, coming up with an idea and then figuring out how to do it, is much harder than the trick itself. For instance, the trick in which an audience member selects a card that subsequently appears in a sealed beer bottle took only six months to perfect."

Only?

“What's it like," I ask, "to break into the American Entertainment Business?”

Murray reminds me that the population of Canada is similar to that of California, around 39 million. “It's easier to get known in Canada but harder to get accepted.” The local boy wonder became known quickly in Canada. Then he had to do it all over again in America. “But it's easier to get accepted in America,” he said. “Americans support the arts and there are so many of them. Once you get accepted here, the Canadians will accept you on your own turf. It happened to Celine Dion, Jim Carrey and 'Bare Naked Ladies.' Canadians are more skeptical.”

“What is magical about Canadians?” I ask. “Canadians are magical because they are down to earth and real,” he says. “Canadians are friendly. You don't have to be famous for a Canadian to just sit down on the bus and talk to the person beside them. They'll look you in the eye and say, 'Hello.'”

Murray draws inspiration from other people in everyday life. Once he had to perform for a tired audience. It gave him an idea. “What would people do if they had a remote control and could change their world.” So he gave them one and when they pressed it, the theater went black.

“My style of magic is very down to earth,” he continues. “Frank Sinatra described himself as a saloon singer. Well, I'm just a guy who does tricks.”

“What makes magic so cool?” my nine-year-old son and aspiring magician wanted me to ask. “Magic is cool because of other people's reactions,” Murray says. “You take them on a roller coaster for one hour. It's great - people can come into the theater and all their problems, issues or worries can be forgotten for an hour or two.”

Murray looks forward to his trip to Tahiti. “People love magic there,” he says, “It's an island. When you arrive they really appreciate you there.” He loves to sit on the beach after the show and watch the guys rowing the outrigger canoes. “It's like the America Cup - it's a proud thing. The boats have stickers, like Nascar racers.”

“The first time I was in Tahiti,” he tells me, “I thought about getting a tattoo and when I left I thought, 'if I ever go back I'm going to get one.'” “It's small, on my right ankle. The manta ray stands for freedom and independence because they swim smoothly in the water; the turtle is for wisdom and prosperity because they are slow and thoughtful; the shell is a Tiki mask and is for security and protection. It's my first and only tattoo.”

I ask Murray whether he lives in the real world or the world of imagination. “The real world is the world of imagination,” he tells me. “If you don't have imagination, you miss some of the excitement the world has to offer. I'm never bored, that's just me. It's a mindset. There's excitement in everything you do.”

Copyright 2008 Tracy Wren

Photo above: Murray SawChuck

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