Oreo… Unlock the Magic

In 1991 the Nabisco Company put together a promotion titled “Oreo… Unlock the Magic”.  They hired world renowned magician Harry Blackstone Jr. to put a nationwide promotion together.  This promotion would be on TV, radio, in newspapers and stores across the USA.  The Society of American Magicians was asked to send a letter to all members telling them of the open auditions being held in major cities throughout the USA.  The NY audition was held at Grand Central Station.  It was a large event and huge turnout.  Travelers and passerby were treated to some great original magic.  Knowing this was a great opportunity I made sure to work hard on original material that would be best suited for this audition.  Once I had the act together I practiced my routine till it was perfect.  The day of the audition I was filled with nervous anticipation.  The whole ride there I reviewed my material over and over again in my mind. Lucky for me my great friend Vic was there to audition as well.  Having him there as a mentor and friend was a comfort.  Upon arriving and entering the beautiful and iconic Grand Central station I saw a large stage and gathering at one end of the immense terminal.  We headed over and saw other magicians we knew.  After chatting a bit about how this day would play out the auditions were underway.  Once signed in we were given a number.  Mine was 53.  We waited and watched others head up on to the large stage to show their stuff.  There were several judges made up of people from Nabisco, marketing, advertising companies and even a magician named Mario Gonzalez.  Mario owned a magic shop for many years in the 70s & 80s.  I visited the shop many times as a child and purchased many tricks as well.  It was nice to see a familiar face on the panel but also made me a bit nervous.  Mario was an excellent magician and had seen and been around the world’s greatest magicians. It had been many years since I had seen him so I didn’t know if he even remembered me.  I certainly knew I wasn’t going to get any special treatment especially since the competition was tough.  When it was my turn to audition I showed my stuff I had been working on for months. The routine involved several vanishing Oreos, a glass of milk that turned into the vanishing Oreos.  The highlight was a mysterious floating Oreo cookie.  It floated out of a box of Oreos into a glass of milk and into my mouth where I took a bite out of it.  After stepping off the stage I was given a pat on the back by my peers for doing a good job.  Ahhh the relief that the audition was over felt good but the day’s magic wasn’t over yet.  Seeing some activity I headed over to the other side of the staging area. Could it be?! Blackstone?! That is correct the man of the hour was there in person.  Once on line I received an autographed photo from Harry Blackstone Jr. himself.  It turns out he was there for the entire audition. Walking away after meeting the celebrity magician and looking at the photo I received made the day come together.  Now what’s happening?  The Daily News was on location and was looking for a great photo to use for the article about the audition.  Hey where is that guy that had the floating Oreo?  That’s me!!!  Next thing I knew I was being pulled by my friend Vic and other magicians. The newspaper grabbed Blackstone and myself for what turned out to be an impromptu photo shoot.  I was having the time of my life!  Unfortunately my photos never made it into the story, however my friend Vic and two other great magicians did! Upon the close of the Audition Harry Blackstone took to the stage and thanked everyone for there performance.  He went on to say how after traveling across the country and visiting all the auditions he was so impressed with the quality of the performers in NY.  He honestly mentioned that out of all the performers he saw thought the country we impressed him the most.  Whether you believe that to be true or not it was a great way to end the day.

Now we play the waiting game…  a couple of weeks later I received a letter from Blackstone Jr. himself congratulating me that I was chosen to be the Oreo Magician!  WOW!!! I was chosen out of thousands of magicians to represent America’s cookie the Oreo!  This was so cool and the opportunity I was looking for.  I got to tour around performing my art publically all while working for the Nabisco company and Harry Blackstone Jr.   After a meeting with Nabisco and their marketing company I received special magic equipment to perform the show that Blackstone Jr. had put together.  It was a real thrill and honor to have taken part in this marketing campaign.  Looking back it all seems like it happened yesterday,  I of course know it was a long time ago… however when I am out on the road I sometimes still see a Nabisco truck with the “Oreo… Unlock the Magic” promotion on it and it puts a smile on my face. 🙂