"Psychologist Doubles with
in the Town Crossings
Written by Gale Batsimm
July 2, 2000
Not many adults get to make
a profession out of a childhood hobby. Bob Moverman is an
"I still can't believe I'm
a professional magician. It's the kind of thing kids dream
about," he said. After nine years entertaining audiences,
this North Andover psychologist and father of three still
enjoys performing magic tricks as much as he did growing up.
"It's a really nice feeling
to know you can make people happy and entertain them," he
said. He estimates he has done about 500 shows since 1991
when he first entertained at his then four-year old daughter,
Carla's, birthday party.
The success of that party,
and the interest it generated, spurred Dr. Moverman to turn
"Mr. Magic" into a part-time business. "I wanted to see if
there was some potential," he said. "I made business cards,
joined a local magicians assembly (The
Society of American Magicians), and bought some new tricks."
He also left business cards at toy stores, placed some advertisements
and became listed in the phone book.
Watching as he turns three
ropes of different lengths into three of the same size, it's
easy to see how captivating magic can be. He carefully weaves
stories and jokes around his tricks.
"The humor is the thing that
makes it, rather than just doing the tricks," he said. "You
want to make an interesting storyline and add some comedy
to it. You have to mix it in with your personality.'
As funny as he is, Mr. Magic
takes his tricks seriously, and he isn't divulging his secrets.
"They're not there to learn the trick," he said of the audiences
he entertains. "Once you know the secret usually people groan
or say it's clever. People will tell others and there will
be no magic left in the world."
Growing up in Rhode Island,
Bob Moverman frequented novelty shops for new magic tricks.
He delighted in the tricks his father would bring home from
business trips to New York City. In high school he was nearly
punched out for not telling the secret to a trick. He finally
made something up to pacify the other teenager.
Although part of the lure
of magic is that "it's nice to fool people and know something
they didn't", he emphasizes that magic should not belittle
an audience or make them feel inferior.
"First of all, kids don't
want to be put down," he said. "You want to get them involved
and make them be part of the magic."
His own children sometimes
like to get into the act as well. "The middle one begs me
to take her along as my beautiful assistant," he said of his
10-year old daughter, Hannah. "My youngest daughter (five-year
old Sadie) just likes to get her hands on all the magic and
do it herself. This includes making her dad close his eyes
while she causes a coin to "disappear".
He finds a natural balance
between his two careers, using one to help the other. By day
Mr. Magic is a clinical psychologist at New England Neurological
Associates on Sutton Street and at Northeast Rehabilitation
Hospital in Salem, New Hampshire. At times he performs magic
tricks to break the ice with a new client and build rapport.
He even shares his secrets
with some patients, such as individuals who have suffered
a stroke and can benefit from learning a trick and trying
to later remember it.
On the other hand, he also
uses psychology and stress management in his magic act. "There's
a lot of perceptual psychology in trying to get them to focus
their attention where you want it to go," he said. During
one of his tricks, where he inserts a needle through a balloon,
he instructs his audience to relax so that the balloon does
not pop. "It's one of the best parts of the show," Dr. Moverman
said. "It gets very quiet and the kids learn how to control
of his most satisfying performances was for a group of children
with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). At the end of the show
the father of the birthday child thanked Mr. Magic and said,
"the teacher will never believe the kids sat still and paid
attention for 45 minutes!"
Dr. Moverman said the attraction
of magic is that "it's colorful,
it's novel, it's very different from the routine experience
in peoples' lives. It's a very special kind of escape - a
trip away from reality as we know it."
While Mr. Magic performs
for adult audiences as well, the majority of his shows are
for four to seven-year olds. He also entertained at First
Night 2000 at the Square One Mall, and has been a strolling
magician at Smolak Farm festivals.
For the past several years
he has donated his talents for the Make-A-Wish holiday party
on a cruise ship. He has even lined up other magicians from
the assembly to join him. "It's one of the most gratifying
things we do," he said.
His appreciation for children
has also brought him into his daughter's classroom at the
Sargent School to discuss magic. Naturally, he also still
provides the entertainment at some of his own children's parties.
"That's a special treat because I know the kids," he said.
Bob Moverman also draws his
wife, Barbara, into the act. She hand-designs a playing card
with the birthday child's name and age on it, which he incorporates
into a card trick. His wife also serves as his initial audience
while he perfects a new trick.
He has been working on one
of the more difficult tricks, involving linking rings, for
several years. "Most of magic is not very technical," he said.
"It doesn't require a lot of sleight of hand in terms of entertainment
value. Most of the value of magic is its presentation."
The cost of new magic tricks
can vary. "Some of the best tricks are 50 years old," he said.
"People can make something out of rope and it can be as successful
as a trick somebody pays $300 for."
According to Dr. Moverman,
the essentials for a good magician are patience, a love of
mystery, a sense of humor, and a desire to be the center of
attention. He learned by reading books, talking to other magicians,
buying tricks and reading the instructions, and experience.
What magic does the future hold? "I would like to get into
more school shows to reach a broader audience and do magic
with an educational theme," he said.
more information about Mr. Magic, call 978.682.6065.
Gale Batsimm is a North
Andover resident and freelance writer. You can share information
about your North Andover community by calling Town Crossings
at 978.475.5300 or Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org