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Lance Burton's achievement is a quintessential American success story. He was born into a secure and loving farm family in Kentucky on March 10, 1960. His introduction to the world of magic began before his sixth birthday as a result of being taken to a Christmas party where the featured performer was a magician. He asked for a volunteer and an eager Lance bolted up onto the stage. The maestro performed a trick known as "The Miser's Dream" and (seemingly) pulled silver dollars out of his bewildered, impressionable assistant's ear. "Wow!" Was Lance's thought, "What a great way to make money and people like you too."
Lance Burton entered his first competition as a junior magician at a convention in 1977 and walked away with first prize. His maturity as a performer was becoming evident. It was no longer a matter of "if", but when, his "big break" would come. The recognition from his peers continued. In 1980, shortly after his 20th birthday, Lance Burton became the first winner of the coveted, "Gold Medal for Excellence" from the International Brotherhood of Magicians. Lance decided that the time was right, to leave home and move to Southern California. Bill and Milt Larsen immediately signed him up for their annual "It's Magic" show and used their contacts to have him introduced to all of America. This led to his first appearance on "The Tonight Show" hosted by Johnny Carson. This one appearance put Lance Burton permanently into the pages of magic history.
It was a well-accepted fact that the most time any unknown performer could hope for on "The Tonight Show" was eight minutes -- at best! Johnny, who loves magic, watched Lance's dress rehearsal and told his staff to rearrange the taping so that Lance could present his full 12-minute act. When Johnny Carson led a standing ovation and proclaimed to both his studio audience and his millions of viewers, that Lance Burton was "A beautiful classy act, the best I've ever seen!" A new professional performer entered the scene.
Lance wisely accepted an eight-week trial engagement at the prestigious "Folies Bergere" in Las Vegas. His contract broke all records after he performed in the show for nine years. Lance decided to put his professional career on the line and asked the management if he could take a week off to enter the competition at "F.I.S.M." (Federation International Societe de Magic) in Lausanne, Switzerland. He honored his country on July 10, 1982, by winning the "Grand Prix" that recognized him as a "World Champion Magician." Lance Burton was both the first American and the youngest performer to be so honored. The star continued to ascend.
* Lance appeared on "The Tonight Show" a total of 15 times, 10 appearances with Johnny Carson and 5 appearances with Jay Leno.
* Hailed by Dai Vernon, the universally acknowledged Patriarch of Magic as "The most brilliant magician of this century."
* Twice awarded "Magician of the Year" by the Academy of Magical Arts.
* Guest starred in a major television series, "Knight Rider."
* Produced the "Stars of Magic" concert for hunger in Africa.
* Performed for former President Reagan, (during his presidency and Mrs. Reagan in Washington, DC.)
* Presented to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, after a Royal Command Performance at London's venerable Palladium Theatre.
* Produced, directed and wrote his own show, which opened at the Hacienda Hotel in mid-1991 and played to a packed house for its' entire run.
* On May 12, 1994, Lance Burton was given the honor of having the Mantle of Magic passed to him from Master Magician Lee Grabel which made Lance the new member of what has been called "The Royal Dynasty of Magic." This honor, which can be neither bought nor sold, has been passed in an unbroken line from Kellar to Thurston in 1908, to Dante in 1936, to Lee Grabel in 1955 and now to Lance Burton in 1994 who is now charged to take his classically conceived art boldly into the 21st century!
* On Feb. 5, 1996, "Lance Burton Master Magician the Legend Begins" aired nationwide as an NBC special. This was the first of many specials to come starring Lance Burton.
* The best is yet to come!
On April 21, 1996, Lance Burton gave his last performance and concluded his fifth and final year in the Fiesta Theater at the Hacienda Hotel, in Las Vegas, Nevada. A fete, that confounds the pundits who stated, "It cannot be done!" They had reasoned that a true, classically conceived magic show could not make it in a city where only larger than life illusions and high tech gimmickry had become the norm. Fortunately, for both Lance Burton and the art of magic, they had predicted wrongly. His show proved to be the most successful attraction in the 35-year history of the Hacienda broke every record for attendance. Ticket agencies report that Lance Burton drew the highest rate of repeat ticket buyers in recent memory.
It is important to Lance that his show be in a continuous state of flux, as he dreams up and brings to reality his latest creations for generations of audiences to enjoy. His magical art provides him with a vast canvas on which to portray his skills and imagination. It has been truly stated that, "Lance Burton has sought out, found and brought back the lost classical soul of magic, and made it uniquely his own., And in this, he has no peers."
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