Great Magic + Bad Reporting = Story We Still Like A Lot

Roger Sheppard

The Texarkana Gazette features Roger Sheppard in an article today, “Businessman Never Lost Childhood Fascination with Art of Magic.”

We
note this subtitle seems to assign the titles “businessman” and
“magician” at two different ends of the job spectrum.

This may have
been the reporter’s first real article or perhaps he has never seen a
magician before.  Read the article for yourself and see if you get
the same impression. 

One give away: the awkward
description of the props.  Not “rope” but “cotton rope,”  not
“card fan” but “the deck of spread cards in his hands.” It’s not bad,
just awkward.  We wanted to learn more about Mr. Sheppard than we
were told in the article.

In that way, the cub reporter helped us search for additional information beyond the little he provided. 

[We’re
not being critical, just expressing frustration at not getting more
about the personality behind the story. 

Okay, we are being a
little critical. 

The reporter posits that everyone knows there is
no real magic and that the illusions use some kind of “trick” or
“secret device.”  He spells Michael Ammar’s name incorrectly and
incorrectly spells the name of Mark Wilson’s ground-breaking television
show. 

He doesn’t know that the color-change and card assembly Mr.
Sheppard has performed was actually an impressive piece of sleight of
hand requiring years of practice and not simply “another card puzzle.”
]

We’re done.  Let’s get back to the story. 

Mr. Sheppard owns a advertising, sports uniform and specialty T-shirt screenprinting business Sports Magic and from the name of the store, you can tell he is obsessed. 

The
businessman has been practicing the art for 37 years.  And whilst
he does have a day job running his business — as you would expect from
a business man, he takes time out each week to perform. 

The Gazette reporter caught Mr. Sheppard’s act at the Health South Rehabilitation Center.

“Magic
is a hope and a dream come true. If a child sees a piece of candy
appear from nowhere, he’s going to be curious about how it happened and
want to see it again. For an older person. it’s a bit like recapturing
childhood feelings of fascination with magic,” Mr. Sheppard said.

The
reporter describes his subject thusly: “Dressed in black trousers, coat
and shirt, Sheppard’s gray-white beard satisfies “the look” of one who
has been blessed/cursed with what were once termed the “dark arts” of
magic.”

Mr. Sheppard tells the reporter he has little patience for those who would use camera-trickery to accomplish their effects.

“Just
ask David Blaine to do that levitation thing without the camera
present,” Mr. Sheppard said almost disdainfully. “Magic is a form of
art. I don’t believe in mind-reading, I don’t believe in predicting the
future, I don’t believe in levitation. It is the simple art of trying
to fool someone’s eyes.”

Just as the article begins with the
dichotomy between…

Roger Sheppard

The Texarkana Gazette features Roger Sheppard in an article today, “Businessman Never Lost Childhood Fascination with Art of Magic.”

We
note this subtitle seems to assign the titles “businessman” and
“magician” at two different ends of the job spectrum.

This may have
been the reporter’s first real article or perhaps he has never seen a
magician before.  Read the article for yourself and see if you get
the same impression. 

One give away: the awkward
description of the props.  Not “rope” but “cotton rope,”  not
“card fan” but “the deck of spread cards in his hands.” It’s not bad,
just awkward.  We wanted to learn more about Mr. Sheppard than we
were told in the article.

In that way, the cub reporter helped us search for additional information beyond the little he provided. 

[We’re
not being critical, just expressing frustration at not getting more
about the personality behind the story. 

Okay, we are being a
little critical. 

The reporter posits that everyone knows there is
no real magic and that the illusions use some kind of “trick” or
“secret device.”  He spells Michael Ammar’s name incorrectly and
incorrectly spells the name of Mark Wilson’s ground-breaking television
show. 

He doesn’t know that the color-change and card assembly Mr.
Sheppard has performed was actually an impressive piece of sleight of
hand requiring years of practice and not simply “another card puzzle.”
]

We’re done.  Let’s get back to the story. 

Mr. Sheppard owns a advertising, sports uniform and specialty T-shirt screenprinting business Sports Magic and from the name of the store, you can tell he is obsessed. 

The
businessman has been practicing the art for 37 years.  And whilst
he does have a day job running his business — as you would expect from
a business man, he takes time out each week to perform. 

The Gazette reporter caught Mr. Sheppard’s act at the Health South Rehabilitation Center.

“Magic
is a hope and a dream come true. If a child sees a piece of candy
appear from nowhere, he’s going to be curious about how it happened and
want to see it again. For an older person. it’s a bit like recapturing
childhood feelings of fascination with magic,” Mr. Sheppard said.

The
reporter describes his subject thusly: “Dressed in black trousers, coat
and shirt, Sheppard’s gray-white beard satisfies “the look” of one who
has been blessed/cursed with what were once termed the “dark arts” of
magic.”

Mr. Sheppard tells the reporter he has little patience for those who would use camera-trickery to accomplish their effects.

“Just
ask David Blaine to do that levitation thing without the camera
present,” Mr. Sheppard said almost disdainfully. “Magic is a form of
art. I don’t believe in mind-reading, I don’t believe in predicting the
future, I don’t believe in levitation. It is the simple art of trying
to fool someone’s eyes.”

Just as the article begins with the
dichotomy between “magician” and “businessman” it ends by showing how
the two divergent fields can actually come together.

Mr. Shepard
says magic can be used to help develop new business prospects. 
Lawyers love close-up magic.  Doctor’s can’t stand to be fooled.

Mr.
Sheppard includes among his greatest influences, “J.B. Bobo, Francis
Willard, Paul Gertner, Daryl Martinez and “the magician’s magician,”
Michael Amar (sic “Ammar”). Mr. Sheppard also recalls being a fan of “Mark Wilson’s Magic Land of Alakazam,” (sic “Allakazam”) one of the first magic programs on television.”

The subject matter is great, the writing could have been gooder.

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