Thyme and Again with Florida's Mister Magic!
One of my fondest memories was seeing my dear friend Harry Wise perform magic on a Halloween weekend night in 2007 at the former Eberweib's cafe on 417 Sanford Avenue in Sanford, Florida. Although he was in a lot of pain during the performance, he was a true showman and did not let on to his audience the anguish he was enduring while we were laughing and amazed at his antics Not long afterward Harry was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It has always been a magic moment for me to spend time with Harry, whether on the phone or in person, but after this diagnosis, each visit with Harry meant even more. Adding to this was the increasing rarity of my trips to Sanford. I used to see Harry on a monthly basis, but ever since my on-going house crises trips were reduced to twice a year.
Florida's Mister Magic is caught between acts at the Taste of Thyme Cafe on July 25, 2009 with the author's reflection caught on the storefront glass.|
You may recall that in Issue #491 of PCR, I had attended the Airliners International 2009 convention in nearby Orlando of Saturday July 25th. The day before that Harry had called me to tell that he would be performing magic live again! It would be the first time since his diagnosis and he had reservations that he would be able to perform as the venue was outdoors in the Florida summer heat. I reassured Harry that I get the same dread prior to my tree plantings thinking of everything in the world that can go wrong, but somehow once you're out there on that stage of life, the things that you love to do most somehow have a way of coming together at the last minute (with a little improv here and there of course!). I knew he'd rise to the occasion and I was willing to do anything to see my brother of a different mother perform live again.
Harry Wise is seen performing one of his many rope tricks.|
Harry put on not just one show at the Taste of Thyme Cafe at 108 S. Magnolia Avenue in Sanford, Florida, but four on that hot July day! I was at his third show during the high heat of the day at 3:00 P.M. My dear friends Brendan and Anna McWilliams of Orlando attended Harry's first two shows that day and after I left to head back home to Plant City, Harry would perform yet the last show of he day later that evening. As I had not seen Harry since November of 2008, I made it a point to spend the next day with him, so I drove back to Sanford and kibitzed and jack-potted with one of America's foremost ghost shows masters Dr. Jekyl, who also lived the personas of Mr. Old Stag, the mysterious magician Ray Darkvale, mentalist Hans Voglar and circus ring master Wise the Wizard, Florida Television's Original Mr. Magic!
Harry was exhausted most of the Sunday of July 26th that I saw him, but like the showman that he is and always will be, he made the fourth and final Taste of Thyme magic show the evening before. One of the most touching and bittersweet moments of the show that I had attended the afternoon before occurred when a homeless man asked Harry to repeat one of his rope tricks. Harry was very accommodating and professional, showing no sign of disregard or lack of respect toward the poor luckless fellow. The homeless man then said he was a native of Sanford and that his father, who as a policeman there, had talked often of Harry Wise the magician and ghostmaster back in the day. The homeless man appeared to stare in childlike awe as Harry gave a show for this one otherwise neglected man. Even after rains and clouds dogged Harry and I most of the next day in our travels, we still managed to catch a gorgeous sunset and double rainbow over Lake Jesup!
An unwitting member of the audience prepares to get "bagged" by Mister Magic during one of his magic acts.|
There is always magic wherever there is Harry Wise...
On this Friday October 30, 2009, Harry Wise will have professionally entertained, mystified, awed and delighted untold thousands across our great country for 56 years! Rumor has it that he has been requested to perform Halloween magic at the Taste of Thyme cafe again on Saturday October 31, 2009! And although I will have a tree planting that morning in Temple Terrace, I will be sure to get my "reservation" for any afternoon or evening show in order to assure that my Thyme and Again with Florida's Mister Magic goes on as long as the Good Lord will allow!
Harry seen posing on July 26, 2009 beneath a tree planted in his honor in October 2005.|
Heroes and Heroines, a Comic-Inspired Art Party, Saturday September 12, 2009
ARTpool Presents Heroes and Heroines, a comic-inspired art party on Saturday September 12, 2009 from 6 PM to 12 AM at 919 1st Avenue North in downtown St. Petersburg. Admission is $10.00 at the door and covers hors d'ourves and complimentary drink. Link to: http://www.artpoolrules.com/
for more information.
The Tulip Poplar tree now towering over Harry was not much taller than him when planted almost four years ago at George Touhy Park, across the street from Harry's Sanford Sanctorum.|
T.R.E.E Inc. now in Wikipedia
I am pleased to announce that my non-profit volunteer tree planting organization is now listed in the on-line encyclopedia, Wikipedia at:
"La Floridiana" is ©2009 by William Moriaty. Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.