Going mental at the Vilar
Kreskin, Liberace, Madonna, Houdini, Hildegarde – one-name wonders all. With the advent of extreme scrutiny in airports, Kreskin has acquiesced to pressure and added two initials. He is legally T.A. Kreskin, short for The Amazing Kreskin.
The famous mindreader and mentalist returns to the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek Monday at 7:30 p.m.
“As a thought reader, my life deals with the mind and reading people’s minds,” he said. “I’m not a psychic, I don’t talk to the dead. But I do deal with human thinking – reading people’s thoughts and perceiving what’s in their mind.”
His particular talents for discerning what a person is thinking have taken him all over the world. So far, he’s logged more than 3,000,000 miles in airplanes, which is more than any commercial pilot in North America, he said. His audiences range in size from auditoriums of 18,000 to private living rooms with 18.
“People seem to be fascinated with the mind,” he said. “A lot of the stuff Jules Verne wrote about is being done now, in terms of space exploration. The last frontier for discovery is the mind.”
But he doesn’t believe the mind will ever be fully understood.
“With all our theories,” he explained, “we’re still not able to predict or judge who’s going to be successful, who’s going to commit violent acts.”
The mentalist picked up “The Amazing” part of his moniker from Johnny Carson, who hosted him on the The Tonight Show often. The name’s outlasted even Carson’s career.
Kreskin always begins his public shows the same way. He takes his fee for the night and asks people in the audience to hide it when he leaves the room. After hiding it, they have to think about where they hid it. If he doesn’t find it, he doesn’t get to leave with it.
Folks have come up with fairly strange hiding places – baked into the stuffing in a turkey (Bob Hope’s party), in a man’s mouth, down the barrel of the gun of a private security officer.
“People always ask if I ever fail,” he said. “I have failed nine times out of close to 6,000 times. One of (the failures) was in New Zealand, and I lost 51,000 dollars in one night.”
Luckily for his pocketbook, it doesn’t happen often.
During the second half of his performances, he deals with the power of suggestion. Though he uses hypnotic techniques, he doesn’t consider himself a hypnotist.
“For many years I’ve promulgated my theory that hypnosis doesn’t exist,” he said. “Nobody is ever in a trance, but their imagination is aroused.”
He likes to gather anywhere from 30 to 60 people on stage, and make them behave according to his dictum. While they’re wide awake, he said, as a group they can’t remember their names or even walk across the stage. He doesn’t embarrass people, otherwise he’d eventually be out of a job.
“It’s interactive,” he said. “My show can’t work without the people. I don’t have magical equipment, I’m reading the thoughts of the audience. They have to be there in the room.”
Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.