At times, people who met my Dad in his work as a Postal Inspector found that he was more than a law enforcement officer. He was also an excellent magician. One criminal, grateful for Dad’s entertaining his child with sleights-of-hand, offered important information about a crime.
Eventually, Dad made magic his full-time retirement occupation – a second career. He and Mother formed Delben Magic, which still exists in its incarnation under Danny Gurganus, of Danny’s Kix & Trix, Houston. A number of items of magic apparatus are still highly-regarded, such as the Delben Two-Hole Wrist Chopper.
Mother and Dad attended a number of magic conventions to host the Delben sales booth. At one convention, Dad pondered the immense chandelier in the hotel lobby. It was the typical sort of thing – a tall, 30-story, atrium with a chandelier that hung down to the 4th floor.
Dad realized its potential. Dad enlisted the assistance of a helper (a performing magician), and a subject: an obviously pregnant lady. At a time when the lobby was busy, the Magus and the subject walked to the center of the lobby. There, the Magus proclaimed ‘Hear ye, hear ye! This lady has inquired of the Great Swami to know whether her child is to be a boy or a girl. The Great Swami will divine the answer! Hold out your hand!‘.
At this instruction, the lady held her arm extended, palm up, beneath the chandelier. The chandelier was now the world’s largest dangling pocket watch or keychain. The Magus looked upward and commanded, MOVE ! . After a few moments of stillness and silence, the chandelier began to move. As soon as the lobby audience had perceived this and began expressing amazement, the Magus announced “It’s a boy!”, and he and the subject left – rapidly.
It remains for the fraternity of magicians to discuss with me the role Dad played in this stupendous grand-parlor trick. It was a role that required his active participation throughout.