Illusionist Franz Harary Talks About Magic And Working With Michael

Sources: South Florida – By Nick Sortal | All Things Michael

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Magic’s next frontier is predicated on technology’s next frontier, Franz Harary says.

Harary, who created magic for the Jacksons’ Victory tour in 1984, says, “Magic, by very definition, is anything outside the abilities of technology at the time.”

Electricity, he says, was once considered magic.

“They’d push it into cadavers and ‘bring back the dead,'” says Harary, who will perform Saturday, Feb. 21, as part of the Magic and Music Day street festival at Magic City Casino in Miami.

“As technology moves forward,” he continues, “we have to move forward. Now, levitation is magic, but in France, they’ve already figured out how to levitate animals. So making a girl float in the air isn’t going to mean too much anymore.”

Harary says he has been a magician-illusionist since high school, when for a marching band’s halftime show in Ann Arbor, Mich., he made the trumpet section disappear. By age 19, he had sent a tape to Michael Jackson’s people.

They called back very quickly, he says, and Harary helped plan the Jacksons’ 1984 show, which included an illusion in which Michael Jackson disappeared.

Harary says he and Jackson were friends for 26 years, and he remains upset by the way the pop star’s life ended.

“I saw his whole life take this arc, and I saw everyone around him,” he says. “I remember one time, I said, ‘You might have a problem here.’ But people close to him protected him too much.”

As a tribute, Harary’s current act includes a bit that Jackson made famous when he appeared to be penetrated by 50 spikes. Harary is now the object of the trick.

Harary, 52, has also created special effects for Cher, Usher, NSYNC and Madonna. He is popular in Asia, where a $42 million theater-and-shopping complex called Franz’s House of Magic will open in Macau in September.

He says he’ll spend about a third of this year in Macau, but he’s training six illusionists to continue his shows when he’s back home in Los Angeles.

“They’re younger, skinnier versions of me,” he says.

The schedule for Magic and Music Day also includes:

A free concert at 1 p.m. by Jefferson Starship (“Jane,” “White Rabbit” and “Count On Me”) at Sky 7-37, a small outdoor venue.

A free 5:30 p.m. concert by glam-rockers Sweet and new wavers the Romantics and Naked Eyes at the Magic City Amphitheater.

An 8 p.m. dinner show featuring Harary and 1980s pop star Sheena Easton (“Morning Train [Nine to Five],” “For Your Eyes Only” and “We’ve Got Tonight”) at Stage 305. Tickets cost $125 per person, and include a formal dinner, unlimited wine and beer, and table seating for eight. Call 305-460-6579 or go to

A street food festival, with about 25 food trucks, will be outside the casino, 450 NW 37th Ave. in Miami. from noon until 10 p.m.


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