Mark Wilson (b. 1929)
James Mark Wilson
Magician, Author, Lecturer
Place of Birth
Approx. 5' 6"
Wilson possesses the ability of performing illusionary feats of grandeur and is a specialist/consultant in the magical arts.
Mark and Nani's son, Greg Wilson, has followed in their footsteps by becoming a professional illusionist.
Mark Wilson was the son of a traveling salesman who spent much of his youth relocating from town to town with his parents.
He became fascinated with magic at the tender age of eight when he saw a magician named Tommy Martin perform at a hotel in Indianapolis, where the Wilson family were staying at the time.
The family later moved to Dallas, Texas, where, as a teenager, Wilson improved his magic knowledge by working for the Douglas Magicland shop as a clerk. As his skills blossomed he began performing magic shows at small functions.
He went to the Southern Methodist University Business School, where he majored in marketing, an activity skill that he was able to implement later in his magic career.
When he was in high school, Wilson performed magic at Douglas Magic Land in Dallas, Texas. Later, he majored in advertising at Southern Methodist University.
When television began to grow, Wilson launched a show titled "Time for Magic" on a local station in Dallas in 1955.
Calling on his marketing training he made this show possible by attracting sponsorship from the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company. He then expanded to other shows in Houston and San Antonio.
When videotape was developed, Wilson created the first show to be videotaped and nationally syndicated. That was the original black and white "Magic Land of Allakazam."
It debuted on 1 October 1960 on CBS-TV and aired every Saturday morning on that network for two years.
His wife, Nani Darnell, assisted him and they were joined by Bev Bergeron, who helped write the shows and played the character Rebo the Clown.
The show was sponsored by Kelloggs. Wilson, Darnell and Bergeron toured state fairs during the summer and made appearances on other network shows.
The writing team grew at CBS to include Bobby "Torchy" Towner, Bobby Fenton, Leo Behnke, Lin Searles with Johnny Daniel and Carl Owen building the illusions for the first year of 39 shows.
For the second year the existing creative team remained, but Frances Martineau was added along with a young John Gaughan.
This group was the nucleus that brought a new look to magic illusions that are still being used today. Magic Land of Allakazam moved from CBS-TV to ABC-TV in 1962 without missing one week on air.
That same year, Wilson appeared on the short-lived ABC western comedy and variety series The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show.
In 1965, Magic Land of Allakazam left ABC and was internationally syndicated. During its peak it was one of the top shows in the Nielson ratings for Saturday morning.
Wilson later created "The Funny Face Magic Show" and the Pillsbury sponsored "Magic Circus" in 1971, which were later released on DVD in 2008.
During this era, Wilson worked with Alan Wakeling. He also provided the Hall of Magic at the 1964/65 World’s Fair in New York.
In 1972, Wilson was awarded "Magician of the Year" by the Academy of Magical Arts. He was given this prestigious award twice.
After taking his illusion show to Las Vegas, Wilson published his "Course in Magic" book which remains a standard for beginning magicians and has sold some 800,000 copies.
He and his crew assisted in the technical production of the magic in many network shows, including The Magician, Circus of the Stars, Hollywood Palace, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Incredible Hulk, Columbo and more.
In 1980, Wilson was invited to the People's Republic of China, and was the first Western entertainer to perform in the emerging country. His last regular television stint was "The Magic Of Mark Wilson."
The series was seen in national syndication in 1981 and Wilson was aided on this final series by second son Greg as well as by longtime assistant Nani.
Wilson and Darnell continue to educate both beginning and professional magicians through occasional classes held at the famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, as well as through privately held seminars and lectures.
Information, courtesy of Wikipedia, MarkWilsonMagic.com
For more information, visit
Mark Wilson's official website.
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