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Dick Cavett

     Many of us (perhaps older) magicians know of Dick Cavett because of his long career in television. Dick Cavett was a writer for the Tonight Show starting with Jack Paar and later for Johnny Carson and of course he went on to host his own program, The Dick Cavett Show.


     Cavett's program was celebrated for the quality of his guests and his deep, probing, and entertaining style of interviews. As a result, many of his viewers were treated to a plethora of artists including rock stars, movie stars, authors, poets, comedians, athletes, pundits, and politicians. Among those appearing during the years were people such as John Lennon, Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, Norman Mailer, Muhammad Ali, Joe Namath, Groucho Marx, Shelby Foote, Mel Brooks, Jacques Cousteau, Woody Allen, Barry Goldwater, Lady Bird Johnson, Fred Astaire, Lillian Gish, and literally many, many others. His first program began with ABC. Later it had a long run on PBS, then you could find it on the USA channel, then ABC Late Night, and finally CNBC.


     So from 1968 to 1995 Dick Cavett offered fascinating viewing not only because of Cavett’s ability to engage in meaningful conversations with such an eclectic group of individuals, but also because they were often seated next to one another and able to contribute and interact. Other times, entire shows were devoted to specific individuals and on several occasions, Dick Cavett shared one his earliest passions with his audience.


    Richard Alva Cavett has been a magician for most of his life. He holds I.B.M. number 1825 and when he was ten years old, he competed at the St. Louis I.B.M. Convention and was awarded the prize for Best New Performer. Cavett grew up in Nebraska and notes that one of the magicians who impressed him when he was a young man was none other than Johnny Carson. Carson, a fellow Nebraskan, was equally enthralled with magic and started out performing in his early years. The fact that they both went on to incredibly successful careers in television and comedy is a remarkable coincidence. But what is equally impressive is the fact that both men never lost sight of their roots in magic.


     In Cavett's case, he devoted several of his own shows to one-on-one interviews with magicians who were not household names when you consider all of the big name celebrities that appeared on the program. Below is a list of many of the magicians and the dates of their appearances. (You can find some on YouTube.)


  • Tony Slydini (11/9/77, 3/20/78)

  • Frank Garcia (5/8/79, 4/1/80)

  • Orson Welles (7/27/70, 9/14/70, 1/25/73)

  • Doug Henning, Derrick Dingle, Dai Vernon (10/3/74)

  • Ricky Jay (11/19/86)

  • Harry Lorayne (5/18/89)

  • Darwin Ortiz (8/1/89)

  • Penn and Teller (10/10/89, 4/5/91)

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