Longtime magician ready to pass along his tricks

Messenger photo by Kristy ZurbrickDr. Jack Starr holds up a couple of props from his large collection of magic tricks. The London resident is looking to pass along part of his collection to another magic enthusiast.

(Posted Feb. 9, 2023)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

For 76 of his 88 years on this planet, Dr. Jack Starr has held dear a love for entertaining others through magic. In those seven decades, he has accumulated quite a collection of tricks, props, and equipment. Now, he is looking to pass along part or all of his collection to someone who’s eyes twinkle as brightly as his do at the thought of making people wonder and laugh.

The retired doctor from London invites anyone with a serious interest in performing magic to sit down and talk with him at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 18 at London Public Library.

“This isn’t going to be a show. Anyone who comes, we’ll just sit and talk about their interest in magic. I’ll share some stories and my philosophy of magic,” Starr said. “I want to find someone who is really interested to give some of my collection to.”

Starr’s foray into magic dates back to his eighth-grade year. At the time, “Catholic Boy” magazine published a magic trick of the month. Hooked instantly, Starr quenched his thirst to learn more by checking out books from the library. He also ordered catalogues from ads in the comic books he read.

“I knew those catalogues front to back,” he said. “I had a paper route, making $5 a week. I would put aside a little of it each week to buy tricks. I spent hours in my bedroom practicing.”

Starr’s father encouraged his son’s interest by taking him to Columbus to purchase tricks created by U.F. Grant, a magic dealer and inventor who got his start in Massachusetts, later moved to New York City, then settled in Ohio and established U.F. Grant Magic.

Before long, Starr was performing tricks for his family and friends. Sometimes, those performances went well; sometimes, they did not.

“I had this trick where you break an egg into a newspaper and the egg disappears,” Starr recalled. “My mom had friends over. She had just cleaned the carpet. Well, I turned the trick the wrong way. Let’s just say, my mom tolerated a lot.”

As Starr got the hang of things, he picked up paying gigs. Most of the time, he made about $10 and, on rare occasions, $50. Even as a teenager, it wasn’t about the money for him.

“It was all about entertaining people,” he said.

In the years since then, Starr’s interest in magic has never waned. He has performed at countless birthday parties, school assemblies, and civic organization meetings. He once shared the stage with Flippo the Clown of local television fame at a Madison-Plains Local Schools variety show. He never failed to perform a magic trick for the young patients he saw at his family medical practice.

Ten years ago, Starr suffered a stroke that brought his performing days to an end, but he has remained connected to the scene, attending magic conventions to see what’s new with his fellow enthusiasts.

“I like to see how other magicians present their tricks. Sometimes, I know how they do them; sometimes, I don’t. But, for me, it’s more about how they present them,” he said.

Starr said he is forever grateful for what magic has brought to his life. It pulled him out of his shell as a shy teenager. He enjoyed lots of good experiences and met lots of good people. And it gave him the opportunity to make people smile.

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