Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Magic Club prepares for annual competition on Saturday

LARGO — You see the Merlin statues and a crystal ball in the front yard. You check out the magic wand on display in the living room. When you venture into the guest room, you lose track of the number of boxes labeled "magic instructions.''

As if you still need a clue that Bob Klase of Largo has something up his sleeve, he shows you a piece of furniture in his living room.

The table is floating.

As his buddy Alan Zunich watches, Klase stands next to a table that is in the air. There are no strings. No mirrors.

"This is my newest trick,'' Klase says, as the table hovers next to his shoulders. "It was an expensive (trick), $1,000, but I can even travel with it because I can break it down into pieces.''

Klase and Zunich, a Dunedin resident, were preparing last week for the fourth annual Tampa Bay Magic Club Competition, scheduled for Saturday at the Largo Cultural Center.

Zunich, 69, a retired police officer from Michigan, is one of the five scheduled performers. Klase, 59, a former president of the club, is coordinating the program and will not perform.

Both men consider magic a lifelong passion.

"I remember starting magic when I was 10, but I really became interested years later,'' Zunich said. "In about 1980, it helped with stress relief from my job, and I became inspired by the magician, Harry Blackstone Jr. I loved his style. His nonchalance.''

Klase got hooked when he was 8, he said.

"One Christmas, my father bought me three tricks at the Martinelz Magic Mart in St. Pete. That's what did it,'' he said.

The magic club has members from Pinellas and Hillsborough counties ranging in age from 13 to 90. The club provides a forum for its members to learn and perfect techniques, performing for one another as well as at local events.

"The funny thing is that when we get together, we show off,'' Klase said. "But the seriousness of the club is that we are always on a quest to find something different, and the club meetings help with that.''

The public interest in magic rises and falls, Klase said.

"It's influenced by a lot of things," he said. "When Harry Potter books were bestsellers, it was very popular, although when I'd visit kids they might get disappointed when they couldn't learn how to go through walls or disappear like they do in the books.

"And now, there's an interest because of magicians like Criss Angel. I know my niece's son started doing magic because of him.''

What advice do they give people who are starting the hobby?

"The most important thing is to remember that magic is entertainment," Klase said. "Of course, some people believe in black magic, but that's not us. We are entertainers.

"When I visit students to perform magic, I advise those who want to get started in it to take drama classes.''

Added Zunich, "Although you can buy a trick that comes with directions, it's only you who can give it your patter. That means you need to give your tricks your own story line.''

If you go

What: The fourth annual Tampa Bay Magic Club Competition. The competition will feature five magicians from throughout Florida.

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive

Tickets: $20 in advance; $25 day of show; $16 for groups; $18 for students (19 and under). For tickets, call the box office at (727) 587-6793.

Tampa Bay Magic Club prepares for annual competition on Saturday 11/16/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 2:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Once targeted by the Bucs, Dalvin Cook thrills for the Vikings


    How good would the Bucs be with running back Dalvin Cook?

    Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) slips a tackle by Steelers strong safety Sean Davis (28) to score a touchdown Sunday in Pittsburgh. [AP photo]
  2. Review: More than 20 years later, 'RENT' still matters


    TAMPA — Two decades after RENT shook up Broadway with a starkly joyous musical that demanded to be recognized, a nostalgic tour is taking audiences back.

    The 20th anniversary tour of RENT, shown in 2016, comes to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts Sept. 19-24, 2017. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
  3. Dennis Miller, headed to Tampa with Bill O'Reilly: 'We don't know each other that well'


    Dennis Miller often gets cast as the odd comic out these days.

    Dennis Miller will perform with Bill O'Reilly at the Spin Stops Here Tour at Amalie Arena in Tampa. [Spuffy Productions]
  4. Tampa Bay among top 25 metro areas with fastest growing economies

    Economic Development

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy among 382 metro areas in the country for 2016. According to an analysis by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Tampa Bay's gross domestic product, or GDP, increased 4.2 percent from 2015 to 2016 to hit $126.2 billion.

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy in the country for 2016. Rentals were one of the areas that contributed to Tampa Bay's GDP growth. Pictured is attorney David Eaton in front of his rental home. 
  5. Top 5 at noon: Interactive story: Why Hurricane Irma turned when it did; former champion boxer Jake LaMotta dies; and more


    Top 5 at noon:

    Here are the latest headlines and updates on

    In this geocolor image GOES-16 satellite image taken Sept. 8, sunlight, from the right, illuminates Hurricane Irma as the storm approaches Cuba and Florida. [NOAA via AP]