Ralph the Great Metzler in First Person

 

Ralph the Great

The Washington Post runs a neat column featuring a first-person perspective of a local celebrity or newsmaker. This week, Ralph “The Great” Metzler took the spotlight and set out a nice narrative of his life in magic.

The article begins with his introduction to our art when he was 16. His brother-in-law taught him a few tricks and, more importantly, took him to meet Al Cohen and visit Mr. Cohen’s famous magic shop.

Mr. Metzler hit the same conundrum we all confront: should he do magic for a living? He asked Mr. Cohen.

About a year after I started, I went back to Al’s Magic Shop, and I asked Al if I should do magic full time or join the Air Force. He said, “Very few people can perform full time; it’s really hard . . . you should join the Air Force.” At the time, that was great advice.

Mr. Metzler’s column is wonderful if only for the resonance with every magician’s story. He discusses his first public magic show after completing basic training in San Antonio.

It was hot, loud, and busy on the fairground. He reports he couldn’t even tell if the audience “was clapping or laughing, or anything.” He ended the show and assumed it was not only his first but also his last.

Then a little girl came up and tugged on my vest and said, “Mr. Ralph, you were great. I loved your show.” And I just melted. I realized if that ever happened again, it would be worth everything. I decided not to sell all my magic stuff.

We have been in the same position as Mr. Metzler and maybe you have as well. We’re convinced our great patter isn’t getting past the first row — and even they aren’t laughing. The only honorable and logical thing to do is hang up the wand and hat. We gave it a go and failed miserably.

Then, as with Mr. Metzler, someone offers a word of encouragement and we are renewed. It is like the golfer who plays horribly but for one wonderful shot. After that perfect drive, putt, or chip, he returns to play terribly for the remainder of the course; but it is that one shot, that perfect-feeling, the wonderful sight of the ball going where it was intended to go, that keeps the golfer coming back each weekend to try again.

Check out Mr. Metzler’s article in today’s Washington Post and tell us if you haven’t been exactly where he was and is now. While you’re at it, check out his webpage as well. His Pro-Kids show seems like a great idea and he is clearly reaching many kids with the message of encouragement we all need.

 

Ralph the Great

The Washington Post runs a neat column featuring a first-person perspective of a local celebrity or newsmaker. This week, Ralph “The Great” Metzler took the spotlight and set out a nice narrative of his life in magic.

The article begins with his introduction to our art when he was 16. His brother-in-law taught him a few tricks and, more importantly, took him to meet Al Cohen and visit Mr. Cohen’s famous magic shop.

Mr. Metzler hit the same conundrum we all confront: should he do magic for a living? He asked Mr. Cohen.

About a year after I started, I went back to Al’s Magic Shop, and I asked Al if I should do magic full time or join the Air Force. He said, “Very few people can perform full time; it’s really hard . . . you should join the Air Force.” At the time, that was great advice.

Mr. Metzler’s column is wonderful if only for the resonance with every magician’s story. He discusses his first public magic show after completing basic training in San Antonio.

It was hot, loud, and busy on the fairground. He reports he couldn’t even tell if the audience “was clapping or laughing, or anything.” He ended the show and assumed it was not only his first but also his last.

Then a little girl came up and tugged on my vest and said, “Mr. Ralph, you were great. I loved your show.” And I just melted. I realized if that ever happened again, it would be worth everything. I decided not to sell all my magic stuff.

We have been in the same position as Mr. Metzler and maybe you have as well. We’re convinced our great patter isn’t getting past the first row — and even they aren’t laughing. The only honorable and logical thing to do is hang up the wand and hat. We gave it a go and failed miserably.

Then, as with Mr. Metzler, someone offers a word of encouragement and we are renewed. It is like the golfer who plays horribly but for one wonderful shot. After that perfect drive, putt, or chip, he returns to play terribly for the remainder of the course; but it is that one shot, that perfect-feeling, the wonderful sight of the ball going where it was intended to go, that keeps the golfer coming back each weekend to try again.

Check out Mr. Metzler’s article in today’s Washington Post and tell us if you haven’t been exactly where he was and is now. While you’re at it, check out his webpage as well. His Pro-Kids show seems like a great idea and he is clearly reaching many kids with the message of encouragement we all need.

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