Once Upon a Magic Show is the inspiring, funny, and sometimes poignant story of how a self-styled “ordinary Joe” from Ann Arbor, Michigan, grew up to become an accomplished “Magic Man” who for decades, brought joy and amazement to audiences of all ages as a magician.
From the moment his third-grade magic routine came to its hilarious conclusion, Daryl Hurst was certain his vocation was to be a magician, someone whose innate talent was destined to cement his hometown reputation. Indeed, Daryl’s school years were marked by the steady acquisition of the tools and experience he needed to successfully perform his self-styled routines in a wide variety of settings.
As a young married couple, Daryl and his wife, Kay, acted on a bold dream, opening what became a series of stores that offered would-be magicians their own path to becoming established in the field. However, being an entrepreneur was far more challenging than Daryl could have ever imagined. His succeeding years in retail taught him valuable lessons about his strengths and weaknesses.
Anyone looking for an unvarnished account of a magician’s life, as he juggled being both a professional and a local hero, will appreciate Once Upon a Magic Show.
“Daryl Hurst’s memoir is delightful, well-written, and very engaging. His passion for a life of/in magic comes through in very personal, honest, and moving ways. His memoir provides a wonderful addition to Ann Arbor’s cultural lore.” — Frank E. Beaver, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus of Communication and Screen Arts and Cultures, University of Michigan
“Daryl Hurst is the perfect prototype of the homegrown magician. Based in the college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan, his region stretches throughout the Midwest. He is an established performer, business operator, lecturer, and author. His advice is hard earned and valuable. This is a great book for the young performer and seasoned performer.” — Greg Bordner, President, Abbott’s Magic Co.
“‘The child is father of the man,’ the poet said. I have known the child and the man for almost 50 years and the poet rings true. There is humor and insight, compassion and joy in this memoir. Enrich yourself by reading this book.” — Bill Browning, Ann Arbor Public Schools Outdoor Education Director, 1968 – 1996, Daryl’s 6th Grade Teacher, 1965 – 1966
Just finished your insightful book. I am pleased to say that what started out as a pleasure read became much more. Thank-you for your honest and at times, riveting recollection of the back scenes in the life of a "Hometown Hero.” The tug and pull for recognition placed against the ever present struggle for financial balance and domestic tranquility resonated with me and several of my artist friends who shared the read with me. We feel honestly as though we have been fellow travelers on the road you so truthfully described. You captured the very meaning of this need to be both seen and understood by sharing the phrase of Sawubona, Yebo Sawubona.
Individually, as an artist who had achieved some measure of fame in her own life, and has had to make choices that have placed me farther into the background fabric in the tapestry of life, I resonated with the idea of a golden thread woven amongst the others. As a reading group of artists we say thanks for this book. We all agreed that somewhere in the middle of this writing we felt a real shift from a showman trying to hawk his wares; to a writer whose keen insights and honest life appraisals made us all glad we came along for this literary ride.
Keep writing from THAT voice. As artists, we have always struggled with the commerce of our work. When the market becomes the largest determining factor for what we produce, our creativity suffers a decline. it is far better to reach THE audience of YOUR work than to sprinkle yourself thinly over everything in the hope that someone will detect your unique flavor among all the other offerings. Your creation and personification of Daryl Hurst Magic Man will be the legend Ann Arbor's own Hometown Magician in the memories and minds of several generation of children and adults. That is your best work of all.
Lorin Kummer, Moonbeams Reading Group