By David Walters

An audience almost always walks into a magic show with the gauntlet already thrown before they come in the door, “Amaze me!”

Last night’s friendly, but anticipatory audience at Dixon Place was no exception to the gauntlet throwers, but what gave the evening its true flavor was an infusion of Cardone the Magician’s personal enthusiasm and wonder for life and the joy of sharing the things he thinks are magical.  Speaking for everyone there, we were all magically amazed by the time the evening ended.

In his one person show, Spook Show: The House of Ghostly Haunts, Cardone’s scooped up that thrown gauntlet, waved it in front of our faces and tantalized us with delightful mystery.

Back in the mid-twentieth century, the chills of a séance and communicating with the dead were combined with smart showmanship to entertain audiences with the mysteries of the unknown, incorporating magic, illusion, ventriloquism and dipping deep into the macabre.  They were called Spook Shows.

Taking that as a launching pad and revived with flair, fun, and a few spine-tingles, the entertainer Cardone presents this throw-back Spook Show to thrill, chill and captivate the imaginations of all ages.  He’s been doing it in some form or another for most of his life since he first stumbled upon a book called, Spooky Magic Tricks as a kid.  This is a life time of wonder and amazement compressed into a couple of hours.

Billed as, “A night of mystifying magic and death-defying acts of fearless bravery,” it fully lives up to its billing.  If you get the chance to go, prepare for an evening of Cardone entertaining, delighting, surprising and enlightening (did you know a deck of cards and the calendar are related), through the auspices of swallowing razor blades, a straight-jacket escape in front of your eyes, Elvis’ personal floating sunglasses, a carrot chopping death-defying guillotine, ghosts that appear out of thin air, transporting an audience volunteer back in time in the Time Machine of Death, mystifying card tricks and expanding skulls in an audience hypnotic visual illusion are but some of the fun and “how did he do that” moments in the time you spend in his company.

I say, “in his company,” as that’s exactly what it feels like.  He’s brought the audience together to share all these cool things that he likes and discovered through the course of his life and he wants to show us.  Were his living room big enough for the full audience of about 100, I’m sure Cardone would have preferred to have the show at his place.

The evening’s experience is also an opportunity to see some of his personal collections of the strange and macabre (Castle Dracula dirt, two-headed bat, Alcatraz cup) and learn about the inventor of x-ray glasses and sea monkeys.

As Cardone said, “Some things are fake, some things are not, and you will not know which is which, before, during or after they occur.  That’s the point.”

Although you missed it, you shouldn’t miss it.  Keep it on your radar for next year and bookmark this page:

Cardone is an award winning magician, escape artist, and ventriloquist. The first person to perform the deadly Milk Can Escape at Coney Island, he was inducted in the prestigious “Order of Merlin” from the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Cardone’s Spook Show: The House of Ghostly Haunts was presented on October 30, 2018 by Vaudevisuals at Dixon Place for one night only.