A magic morning at Morgan library!

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

For children, summertime is a few months of rest, relaxation, and no worries whatsoever. Just a time to hang out with friends and stay up past 9 p.m. every single night; no need to get up early the next morning!

Unfortunately, it’s not usually a time for reading either. &uot;Summer is probably the biggest gap for kids and reading,&uot; magician Michael Chamberlin said. &uot;Sometimes, they get lazy and don’t read. It’s important to find an activity to get them into the library.&uot; That wasn’t a problem for Chamberlin on Wednesday morning; his magic show brought over 100 children into the Morgan Memorial Library.

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&uot;What’s my favorite holiday?&uot; Chamberlin asked a jammed room. Most children guessed Christmas, but the answer was a bit more recent. &uot;It’s the Fourth of July!&uot; he said. &uot;I know we just celebrated it a few weeks again, but I’m going to do it again! After all, it is MY show!&uot; The crowd laughed.

&uot;I want to create the perfect American flag,&uot; he said, bringing volunteers Cedric Knight and Callie Looney up front. &uot;I’m going to fuse together these three hankies.&uot; He took out red, white, and blue pieces of cloth.

Chamberlin stuffed all three hankies inside a long, thin container, but inadvertently dropped the blue cloth. He asked Callie to wave her hand above it, but the experiment didn’t work; when the flag came out, it was missing the blue areas!

&uot;This was pathetic!&uot; he wailed. &uot;This is the worst flag ever. I hope I don’t get kicked out of town.&uot; Not to worry, his second attempt (helped along by the children’s magic words of &uot;Crocodile Casserole!&uot;) created a true flag. Afterward, he opened the container to show that it was empty; obviously, the hankies had truly become one!

But Chamberlin wasn’t alone at the library; he’d brought a special hairy friend along. &uot;My big shot celebrity friend King Kong, the mighty monkey, is going to come here and check out all the books!&uot; he said. &uot;But when he gets here, he’s going to be tired, sleepy, and FULL of attitude.&uot;

Chamberlin brought local youth Gary Evans to the front. Because every primate’s favorite meal is a first-class banana, Chamberlin brought out a batch of the long, yellow fruit to give to the youngster.

After Gary put the bananas back into the bag, Chamberlin asked him to wave his hand over it. Gary did so, and Chamberlin showed the audience the inside of the bag. It was empty, and, Chamberlin said, Gary would have some serious explaining to do once the gorilla showed his shaggy face. &uot;King Kong is going to be MAD at you!&uot; he said to the confused child.

&uot;We’d better hide!&uot; Chamberlin told his assistant. &uot;Put this on, so he doesn’t recognize you.&uot; He placed a hat over Gary’s entire head, and the audience howled.

Chamberlin brought out a piece of memorabilia for the screen legend who once terrified Far Wray and the Empire State Building. &uot;Like a lot of celebrities, King Kong is so into himself that he likes to say, ‘Hey, they have a statue of me!’&uot; he said, holding up a small figurine of the giant ape.

When Chamberlin laid the statue on a table, however, its head came off in his hand! Thinking quickly, he wrapped it up in a handkerchief and handed it to Gary.

The magician quickly blew up a balloon, and tied it over where Kong’s head had been. But when Gary handed him back the handkerchief, the head had vanished!

The team had once chance left, and it required the help of the entire audience. &uot;Count 1-2-3, and say our password!&uot; Chamberlin told the young listeners. On the count, the magic words came and the balloon popped, revealing Kong’s head behind it. &uot;I guess you’re off the hook,&uot; Chamberlin told a relieved Gary.

His next trick combined hypnotism, telepathy, and, of course, the supernatural. Selecting Deme Diggs and Kyle Bradshaw from the audience, Chamberlin &uot;borrowed&uot; Deme’s ring, and stretched a jump rope between the two youths. He hid the ring inside a handkerchief, and handed it to Kyle.

&uot;I’m going to hypnotize your ring,&uot; Chamberlin told Deme. &uot;I’m going to make it a tap-dancing ring, and it’s going to boo-ga-loo down the rope and do the Electric Slide back onto your hand!

&uot;You are now the incredible tap-dancing ring!&uot; he told the object in a cryptic voice. &uot;If you don’t do the magic, you’re not going to be able to check out any books or go see ‘Seabiscuit!’

&uot;Is it back on your hand?&uot; he asked. Deme shook her head.

His trick failed, a downcast Chamberlin sent his volunteers back to the crowd. There was just one problem; Deme’s jewelry was still missing.

&uot;Oh, your ring’s gone,&uot; Chamberlin told her. &uot;Do you want to go to Target and get another one?&uot;

He brought out a large box. &uot;This is what I call my Ring House,&uot; he explained. &uot;This is my kitchen.&uot; He took a smaller box out of the House.

&uot;Here’s my refrigerator.&uot; Out of the kitchen came a smaller box.

Chamberlin handed Deme the box, and a key. &uot;Unlock the box, and then hand me the key,&uot; he instructed her. Deme did so, and then opened the box.

Surprise, surprise! Her hand-worn ornament was inside!

Being a magician may be fun, but it’s not Chamberlin’s only area of expertise. &uot;I’m also a doctor,&uot; he said. &uot;This is the scary part of the show. I need a victim…I mean, a volunteer to come up here.&uot; Maggie McKean was the (un)lucky chosen one.

&uot;I can take someone’s voice out and change it!&uot; Chamberlin proclaimed. &uot;I’m going to shift her vocal cords one-thirty-second of an inch to the right.&uot;

Maggie sat down, and a pair of black objects were fastened around her neck. Chamberlin brought out a large scarf, and tied it near the objects. &uot;This scarf may be red,&uot; he said, &uot;but it used to be white!&uot;

Chamberlin brought out his most effective piece of surgical equipment: a sword. &uot;Are you ready?&uot; he asked the nervous young woman. He stood behind her, and prepared to do the dirty work.

&uot;Once, I was doing this to a child in a mall,&uot; he suddenly said. &uot;He was nervous and shaky, which made me nervous and shaky, and he turned his head just as I pushed the sword. I cut off his ear. I said I was sorry, but he didn’t hear me!&uot;

After the laughter died down, Chamberlin plunged the sharp object through Maggie’s neck. But he must have injected some invisible painkiller beforehand, because she was able to stand up with the sword straight through her gullet!

Chamberlin pulled the sabre out, and invited Maggie to join him in a rendition of Britney Spears’ &uot;Oops, I Did It Again.&uot; And lo and behold, Maggie sounded exactly like the pop princess.

&uot;It was a total success!&uot; crowed Chamberlin. &uot;When you go on ‘American Idol,’ tell them you started here!&uot;

Want to see more of Chamberlin’s magic? He’ll be at the East Suffolk library on 6th Street at 11 a.m. today