MAGIC MENTOR MONDAY: “Think-a-Drink” Hoffman


Welcome to MAGIC MENTOR MONDAY. In this weekly series, I introduce you to my magic mentors – people who have inspired me to become a better magician. Each Monday you’ll meet someone who has offered advice, or acted by example, to help steer my career.

Some of these people are alive, others no longer with us. Some are famous, others not so much. The beauty of mentorship is that you don’t necessarily have to meet your mentor face-to-face, nor even live during the same time in history. Many of the people who motivated me were alive a century before I was born! By reading classic books, old newspapers, and magazine articles, I’ve tracked down stories about their lives and work that continue to inspire me to become a better entertainer.

My “big three” mentors are Max Malini, Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser, and Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin. Each of these giants is being featured in this series. You’ll also read about more contemporary figures like Harry Lorayne and Albert Goshman, non-magicians Danny Kaye and Sammy Davis, Jr. and even fictional characters like Willy Wonka.

How do mentors inspire? They set examples, helping us imagine how we too might solve a particular problem. By seeing the world through a mentor’s lens, we can learn more about them, and about ourselves, at the same time.

This week, let’s turn our attention to a forgotten master: CHARLES “THINK-A-DRINK” HOFFMAN (1896-1966)

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Magic at TEDxBroadway

Immediately after my recent appearance at TEDxBroadway, the following quote appeared on Twitter:

“This magician at #TEDxBroadway just made a Mai Tai out of think air. JESUS LIVES.”

I appreciate the enthusiastic response, but I assure you there was no divine intervention!

In fact, this was not even the first time that my favorite routine, Think-A-Drink, was performed on Broadway. My hero “Think-a-Drink” Hoffman himself performed the any-drink-called-for act in 1939 at the Broadhurst Theater’s original production of “Streets of Paris.” The show starred Carmen Miranda, and also featured Gower Champion, and Abbott & Costello (before they made their first movie).

I was happy to perform my version of Think-a-Drink on the Broadway stage once again, albeit 74 years later!

Another attendee Tweeted a take-away idea […]

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