In 1969 Richard M. Nixon was president of the United States, man first landed on the moon, and 16-year-old magician BJ Hickman joined The International Brotherhood of Magicians. Some 41 years later The I.B.M. honored Hickman in a cover story in their journal, The Linking Ring. The feature article, "BJ Hickman - Magician of Many Talents" by Bobby Warren, reviewed Hickman's milestones in magic, and included Hickman photos from the 1960s to present. "I can't tell you how excited I am to be on "THE COVER," remarked Hickman, who grew up in Manchester and lives with his family in Dover. "I've been getting this magazine every month for 41 years and this is the first time I've asked for an extra copy. It is something. I've heard from magician friends from all over the country and as far away as Sweden."So, the cover of The Linking Ring, eh? Is that like a magician's version of getting on the cover of Rolling Stone? It is. It's the largest, circulation-wise, of any trade magazine for magicians. When I attended a magic convention as a college student in the '70s, they did a spoof of "The Cover of The Rolling Stone" song by Dr. Hook and showed a montage of cover magicians. I never thought I'd be one.Tell the truth, how many extra copies did you ask for? They mailed me a few copies when I asked. At the International Brotherhood of Magicians convention in San Diego the next month, I got a "few" more.Your act is mostly geared to kids. Is that because you started performing magic at a young age yourself? Makes sense to me. Probably the first dozen shows I did as a kid were for younger kids. I love to watch kids laugh.Who are your idols in the magic world? There are lots of names that wouldn't be recognizable to most people. Nationally, I admired Mark Wilson and the late Doug Henning and Harry Blackstone Jr. The late Billy McComb kindly wrote the foreword to my book, "Magic Speaks Louder Than Words."What's the best venue for magic in New Hampshire? I must say, I can't think of a venue in New Hampshire that I have not loved. I appreciate the audiences at fairs and always meet so many old friends at Deerfield. Nobody can remember how many times I've worked the Sea Shell Stage at Hampton Beach.Do you see magicians perform tricks where you don't have a clue how they do it? Yes, but I'm in the right circle that I usually find out. Even the newest tricks are based on methods that have been used for years.In our age of digital effects, stage magic sometimes seems quaint and out of date. What will keep it fresh and relevant? Same as a singer, a band or a play. The magician makes a connection, earns rapport and entertains. A good magician can dazzle an audience with the oldest tricks because the audience gets caught up in the excitement, wonder and often comedy.
This article appears in the November 2010 issue of New Hampshire Magazine