Laughs and Trickery with Larry Wilson

Larry Wilson on the cover of the Union Democrat Weekender

True to his word, Larry Wilson “blew a few minds” with his amazing brand of magic that blended stand-up comedy with impressive feats of mentalism and sleight-of-hand. One of the fun things about his show is that he isn’t afraid to give away a few secrets, while keeping quite a few to himself so that he could continue to dazzle and mesmerize.

As with all our Winter Magic shows, the evening began at 7:00 as Larry roamed between tables, demonstrating his exceptional prestidigitation up close and personal to the delight of our dinner guests.

In the first trick of the stage portion of the show, he had a wine glass on a tray, made quite a show out of laying a checkered cloth over it, and then, with a loud “HEY-YUP!” the cloth was pulled away and the wine glass was gone!

Except it wasn’t. The crowd burst into laughter as Larry revealed that the glass was simply duct-taped to the lowered tray, and that he had concealed the glass between his knees while showing the back of the tray to the audience.  Some were a little slower to catch on than others, even when shown what had happened (perhaps due to a healthy dose of wine with dinner).

“It’s taped down, ma’am,” he explained carefully with a grin. This was our first lesson in misdirection that evening.

One of my favorite misdirection gags, and one that I had actually seen many years ago on television, was the hollow egg and handkerchief trick. In it, Larry seems to stuff a red silk handkerchief into his hand and then transform it into an egg after a sprinkling of “magic dust.” But aha! The trick is that the egg is hollow, and he’s actually stuffing the handkerchief into it. However, that’s not where the illusion ends. Now that we know how it’s done, he repeats the trick… except the second time,  it’s a real egg that he cracks into a nearby wine glass to prove it!

In feats of apparent mind-reading, Larry correctly named three cards chosen at random by the audience, and then played a simple game of Clue. If you’re familiar with this classic board game, there’s been a murder, and players use clues to discover the location of the murder, the weapon used, and the killer. There are limited choices for the first two, which Larry got right, of course. But the last one? He let the woman in the audience choose anyone she wanted, fictional or not. Somehow, incredibly, he guessed “Robert Downey, Jr.” correctly!

Larry Wilson’s show isn’t fast-paced and frenetic, but that’s because it doesn’t need to be. It’s an evening of classic humor and illusion that hits the perfect balance between showmanship and good company. Even though he’s played the biggest stages in Vegas, Larry loved the intimate setting of the Cellar Door Restaurant.

“I get to do all the close-up tricks here that people could never see in a huge theater,” he said with a smile. “I love the opportunity to play small venues like this.”

With a standing-room-only audience that was over capacity, chances are that we be repeating our Winter Magic series next winter, and that Larry Wilson will be a part of it.

Don’t miss your last opportunity for Winter Magic this season! Our series finale show is on Friday, February 22 with John Gardenier, exceptional sleight-of-hand artist from the California Magic Dinner Theater. Everything is magical in John’s hands, including silverware, coins, and all manner of household objects. Is his prestidigitation quicker than your eyes? Come find out! Only a $10 cover charge with dinner.

We had to turn away dozens of latecomers who called at the last minute after our Larry Wilson show was sold out. Don’t make this mistake! Call now to secure your seat for the John Gardenier show! 209-962-4000 or 800-273-3314, or email

Groveland 2013