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Matt Hoyle for USA WEEKEND


Neil Patrick Harris, who is president of The Magic Castle, a Los Angeles private magicians club, has a “Magic Room” in his home. “My mother’s father, who passed away recently, traveled the world in an RV,” he says. “When he visited he would shower us with stories about Epcot Center and DisneyWorld and show us little scientific magic tricks--how do you get these matches to adhere to each other or how do you get the needle to turn in a cork? You’d use a comb with static electricity to get it to move. Those things I loved.

“Every time we went to Albuquerque (he grew up in nearby Ruidoso, New Mexico), there was a magic shop I got to go to. Magic was a hobby as a kid. It fulfilled the same desire as finding a prize in a Cracker Jack box.

“My best trick? Vanishing onstage at this year’s Tony Awards and reappearing at the back of the audience.

“I’m into mentalism right now. It’s divining a number. It’s look through a book, and just based on your appearance and tells, be able to tell what word you’ve chosen on a specific page. Also bending spoons intrigues me a lot. It’s sort of like a séance in the 1920s.

“Card tricks require a lot of patience and practice, and I don’t have either of those.”

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