The rare performers once welcome at both night clubs and kids' birthday parties, professional magicians -- like traveling salesmen or novelists not specializing in Swedish murders -- today find themselves facing a dispiriting truth: That their time of cultural prominence is not at all like some endless, ribbon-like hanky pulled and pulled from the great fist of creation.
No, that time of prominence has ended, making life ever tougher for those dedicated to hocus and/or pocus. Whither the world of secretive illusion, of doves up the sleeve, of audiences eager to be tricked, of distracting patter about women drivers? Sadly, that world is gone.
Here's how great that world was:
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