By Joan Candy
When good friends Nate and Jack get together anything can happen.
The two Eldersburg boys share the same interest - magic. Because of their talents, both are becoming well known in the area as entertainers.
Although the boys perform many of the same tricks, each has a different style and favorite props. While Nate enjoys bright silks, bouquets of flowers and flashy illusions, Jack prefers tricks that require manual dexterity.
Jack especially likes escape routines in the style of one of his idols, Houdini. To keep himself in top shape. Jack exercises daily and vows never to drink or smoke.
Recently he challenged members of his Health Class at school to tie him up. "They spent ten minutes hog-tying me, and I got free in two minutes," he reports.
Things have not always gone that well, however.
Jack still recalls the first time he attempted to do an escape trip in public.
He had been allotted 15 minutes for his entire act - and he spent all of it trying to get out of a box. Worst of all, nobody even knew what was happening because an assistant had closed the curtain.
Jack had built the box himself, and, as he says, " I thought it was perfectly made with a secret door that would open easily."
An assistant was supposed to bind Jack and shut him inside the box. Then the curtains would be slightly closed, leaving just the box exposed to view.
The assistant, however, closed the curtain completely, hiding the entire act from the audience.
Meanwhile, inside the homemade box, the young magician pushed frantically on the door which had jammed shut. "I kicked. I banged. But nothing happened," he says.
Finally he got free and crawled out onto the dark stage... in sight of only a couple of amused stage hands.
"When I walked out, the audience clapped, but I think they had gotten a little bored waiting for something to happen," he reports.
"The only thing that had kept them amused," he adds, "was my assistant. While he was killing time in front of the curtain, somehow his costume fell off."
Jack says that he learned a lot from this unfortunate experience. Most importantly, he has learned never to attempt any trick in public that he hasn't rehearsed until it is perfect.
He also learned the value of humor in overcoming a difficult situation.
Jack's favorite trick is "the linking rings" and Nate enjoys performing the "Zombie."
In the Zombie, Nate is able to make a silver ball dance in midair and stand on edge on a silk square. As a finale, he whisks away the silk to show that the mysterious ball has changed into a large bouquet of flowers.
Nate made his first Zombie from a Christmas tree ornament, but later purchased a professional set of props. The entire illusion cost over $100, making it his most expensive trick.
Nate is the son of Robert and Marian Beveridge of South Carroll Estates. Jack lives with his aunt and uncle, Anne and Bob Haase, in Carroll Square. Both boys are in the ninth grade at South Carroll High School.
Jack has enjoyed magic for about four years, but had his interest renewed by a magician who performed at Sykesville Middle School, while he was in the sixth grade. Also influenced by the magician was another student, Nate.
Soon the two boys were experimenting with tricks of their own.
Although their first step was purchasing a magic kit, they soon went on to more professional equipment. Jack read every book he could find on magic.
Each boy has his own idol. Besides Houdini, Jack greatly respects Doug (mark) Henning, whose act he first saw on television. Nate praised a local magician Ray-Mond Corbin, who has given him advice and taught him many of his tricks.
Both boys would like someday to become professional magicians.
For now, however, both keep busy entertaining at community activities, club meetings and parties. Sometimes, as at a recent Mt. Airy Lions Club meeting, they perform together, but usually they act individually. Sometimes Jack is assisted by his 11-year-old foster brother, Robert.
When costumes are needed, it is Jack's aunt who comes to the rescue. "she can always come up with something to fit the occasion," says Jack.
Among the places Jack has performed are a special magic program sponsored by the library at the Eldersburg Community Center, a convention of Allstate Insurance salesmen at the Hunt Valley Inn, for the Boy Scouts, for the 4-H, at South Carroll and Westminster High Schools, and at numerous private parties.
Nate specialized in children's parties, but also enjoys entertaining senior citizens. He has performed at the Sykesville Bazaarnival and the Mt. Airy Kiwanis. On May 7, he will perform before the Eldersburg School PTA.
Both boys can also be seen in the S.C. Key Club Follies on Apr. 12.
Although Nate enjoys performing for children, he says that adults usually make a much better audience. "They come to enjoy the act," he says. "Children want to find out how everything is done."
"While I was performing at the Sykesville School Bazaarnival, one little boy walked up and began examining my things. He upset water all over some of my tricks."
"I began to get nervous. Then some flowers I had under my coat started to work their way up and soon flowers were popping out."
If anyone in the audience discovers how a trick is done, the boy magicians offer the same advice "keep it to yourself."
Magic requires a lot of practice, both boys agree. Jack often gets up as early as 5 a.m. to practice a trick or read one of his magic books before going to school. Nate has stayed up as late as midnight practicing a new trick over and over. Both boys carry equipment to school and practice whenever they have a break.