A surprise magician performing at University Place | News, Sports, Jobs
Courtesy of Dave Young
He has performed on the magicians circuit, from the Sahara and MGM Grand hotels in Las Vegas, to the famous Magic Castle in San Francisco. He opened for well-known magicians like David Copperfield. Now, by popular demand, he is performing his show at Orem.
After a 40-year hiatus, the “Dave Young presents: Grand Illusions” tour takes place July 23 at Orchard at University Place as part of its Trailblazer and Fireworks Day.
Yes, Dave Young – as in Orem Mayor Dave Young – will perform illusions and magic tricks for his hometown.
Long before Young was elected mayor, and before he was the founder and president of several companies, he was a traveling magician performing more than 300 shows in the span of three years, from 1978 to 1981.
Her love of magic, however, came long before that.
Courtesy of Dave Young
“When I was a kid, I was pretty ambitious,” Young said. “One day I was eating a bowl of cereal – Trix. On the back of the box they offered a free magic kit.
It was when Young was 8 years old. He quickly began studying magic, after all, “what else was there for a kid living in Roswell, New Mexico to do?”
Young said he would save his money and, when he came to visit his grandparents in Ogden, would hitchhike to Salt Lake City and buy magic books from Loftus Magic. It was there that he purchased the Tarbell collection of magical encyclopedias.
These books broke down magical effects and became Young’s training guides.
Young became good enough to start doing magic tricks for small parties around the age of 11. He did this until he was 16, when he also performed magic tricks at local clubs, even though he was underage.
Courtesy of Dave Young
Like other young men in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the mayor served a mission. His magical career in the United States took a break when he was called up to Australia.
“I was leaving and I had a briefcase with magic stuff,” Young said. “I took him on a mission against my mother’s wishes. I used to do magic by knocking on doors.
Young said he did about four or five magic shows for “downstairs” venues the first year.
“The second year I was sent to Tasmania. There was a lot of anti-American sentiment because of the Vietnam War. No one would talk to us,” Young said. “We were riding bikes and kids were throwing rocks at us.”
Young said that although there are 40 missionaries in Tasmania, missionary work is not happening. His mission president recognized Young’s magical talent and told him to make missionary work happen, but not to break the rules.
Young prepared for his mission and even learned to eat fire. He put on a family home evening show and strewn flyers everywhere with pictures of him eating fire. Eventually, 300 people showed up.
Tasmania also held a Magician of the Year competition, which Elder Young later entered and won.
“We started doing magic shows and we held them all over the island,” Young said. “We were known as the ‘fire-eating Mormons’.”
Young rose to fame and began doing free radio shows on the promise that the station would air 12 weeks of Mormon commercials.
“Missionary work has changed,” Young said with a smile in his voice.
The perception of his magical missionary work was purely positive until he returned to Utah and performed for two stakes in Springville. The morning after the show, he got a call.
As part of his act, Young had what he called a “Zombie Ball” and levitated it around the room.
“The stake president called the day after he said some of the sisters in the stake had talked and wanted to know if the Zombie Ball was from the devil,” Young said. “I told him it was magic.”
While Young was on an entertaining mission, his father was at home becoming his manager and booking shows for Young’s return home. The father-son duo began building travel sets, which included escape boxes and other illusion boxes. He recruited his sister to help him and they even did TV shows.
Young had a great PA system for his show, so he did a 90-minute number and then used the PA system for the disco dances.
At this time, Young was attending Brigham Young University and, over a period of time, had done half a dozen shows on campus.
He noted that after each broadcast he brought some kind of controversy to the pages of the campus newspaper, The Daily Universe. Not because of magic, but because he had school permission to wear his hair longer as a student because he was an artist – just like the Osmonds. Apparently other students felt he was taking advantage of the rule and should have been made to cut his hair short.
He and his new wife were touring the circuit and spending time together, and then they had their first child. Young continued to perform while his family remained in Utah.
He had been gone for two months and had returned to town for his daughter’s first birthday.
“She didn’t recognize me. That’s when I quit (doing magic shows) and started my own business,” Young said. “In 1986, I started Paragon so I could manage my own money.”
So now the bunny is out of the hat. Mild-mannered Mayor Dave Young led a previous life of excitement and intrigue.
Thanks to coaxing — and several requests for kindness from the folks at University Place — Young agreed and will be performing a 20-30 minute magic show as part of the July 23 festivities.
University Square’s calendar of events for July 23 begins at 5 p.m. with food, games, pie-eating contests and stick-draw contests.
At 6:00 p.m. there will be the magic show “Dave Young Presents: Grand Illusions”. At 6:45 p.m. Madilyn Page from Utah will perform, followed by the Current Band concert at 8 p.m. A fireworks display will end the night at 9:30 p.m.
Audiences are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to sit on for all performances. The whole evening is free to the public.