subscribe: Posts | Comments

RIP John Moehring

2 comments

John Moehring was a giant in the magic world. He was born in Houston, Texas on July 19, 1942 and he passed away July 9, 2017 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

John Moehring was well known as “The Texan Trixter,” a moniker bestowed on him in 1960 by Dai Vernon. John began his career when he was a teenage magician in Rockdale, Texas and rose to magical prominence with an award winning manipulative act featuring cards, canes and doves. He learned Cardini’s method of producing playing cards from the fingertips from John Northern Hilliard’s book Greater Magic and he mastered the skill through years of practice. John didn’t know any magicians when he was growing up so he was heavily influenced by the magicians he saw on the Ed Sullivan television show. At that time, The Ed Sullivan Show was the highest rated television variety show, broadcast live from New York each Sunday evening. This was when John set a goal to perform his act on that show. He also watched Cardini perform on the 1957 NBC special Festival of Magic and since there was no home video recording back then, he recorded the music from Cardini’s act. When listening to that recording, he found that he could replay the Master’s act in his head.

Moehring got to meet Cardini, Fred Kapps and may of his other magical heroes at the 1959 IBM-SAM Combined Convention in Chicago. The next year he would enter the Texas Association of Magicians Junior competition and took home a First Place Trophy. People that saw that show recall being impressed with the skill and the style the young magician demonstrated. He honed his act to perfection while in college at North Texas State University. He did this by performing eight shows a day, seven days a week at Six Flags Over Texas every summer. In 1964 the founder of the Six Flags franchise, Angus Wynne built the Texas State Pavilion at the World’s Fair in New York and tapped John to perform his act. Needless to say, John took off a semester at NTSU to take advantage of this opportunity.

Mark Leddy, who was one of the biggest agents of the day, saw John perform at the World’s Fair and told him that if he wanted to be booked on The Ed Sullivan Show, he would have to eliminate the doves from his act. After completing college, Moehring returned to New York and Leddy sent him on club and cruise dates to polish the act and wait for an opening on the Sullivan show. His call came in March 1966 while working a cruise, telling him he had been booked to appear on the Sullivan Show on April 24th of that year. At the dress rehearsal Sunday afternoon, Moehring was asked to cut his tightly polished six minute act in half just a few hours before the live broadcast. Working with a stopwatch in his dressing room, he was able to trim the act to the needed time. You can see that performance here.

Thanks to his successful Sullivan appearance, Leddy was able to book Moehring at top nightclubs throughout Europe and back home in the States. Moehring eventually accepted a steady contract at the newly opened Astroworld in Houston and quickly moved up the theme park corporate ladder, producing shows throughout the US and abroad, rather than performing in them himself.

His resume includes Director of Live Shows for Astroworld, Houston, TX – 1968-70, Operations Manager for Carowinds, Charlotte, NC – 1970-73, Director of Development for Magic Harbor, Myrtle Beach, SC – 1974-75 and the Live Shows Production Consultant for Marriott’s Great America, Gurnee, IL and Santa Clara, CA – 1976-80. From 1978 through 1990 John owned and operated Panorama Productions Inc., an audiovisual production company in Charlotte, NC. From 1990 through 1996 John was employed by Showtek Corporation, Arlington, Texas, where he scripted, produced and directed shows for theme parks and casinos in Atlantic City, NJ, Las Vegas, NV, and Seoul, Korea. One of the well-known shows he produced was the Wizard’s Secret Magic show at the MGM Grand where he taught and mentored many young magicians upon their arrival in Las Vegas.

In 1991 Moehring helped put together an evening performance at the IBM convention in Baltimore featuring only acts that had appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. This allowed him to do the full six minute act and was also the last time he performed it. After this last performance, John began contributing freelance articles to MAGIC Magazine and was eventually appointed Associate Editor in 1996. John would go on to serve as Editor of MAGIC from 2001 through 2005. From 2006 through 2008 John served as editor of M-U-M, a monthly magazine for the members of The Society of American Magicians. During John’s three-year tenure as editor there was a marked growth in S.A.M. membership and circulation of the organization’s magazine.

In addition to all of this, John also wrote A Texan Trixter in 1986, The Magical Life of Marshall Brodien; Creator of TV Magic Cards and Wizzo the Wizard in 2007 and in 2010 John wrote Del Ray; America’s Foremost Magician for His Time.

John was the guest of Honor at the 2014 Dallas Super Session. The afternoon flew by as attendees at the invitational one-day convention took part in the traditional round-robin of close-up magic. (Everyone registered must perform a trick.) After dinner at a nearby barbecue joint, it was back to the hotel for the feature presentation, A screening of John’s audiovisual scrapbook titled “IT WAS ALL ABOUT TESS”. This presentation drew a prolonged standing ovation.

A surprise reel of tribute and congratulatory videos submitted by some of John’s friends who couldn’t be there provided the perfect capper for the evening.

For the past six decades John Moehring has been at the forefront of the art of magic as a performer, director, producer and a writer. Most of all, for many of us, he has been our friend. He never lost the love for the art that he developed as a young boy in East Texas. He will surely be missed.

  1. Ed Henderson says:

    John,

    You have been a dear friend for 50 years and I
    will truly miss you more than I can explain.

    We’ve worked on many projects since we met at
    Houston’s Astroworld in 1967. You were a great and creative person to work with and enjoy our fun times together. God bless you.

    person

  2. I found him to be a “gentle GIANT” in the World of Magic. He will be sadly missed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *