The Amazing Kreskin headlines a special Halloween show on Oct. 26 at the Paramount.
The Amazing Kreskin’s
♦ 8 p.m. Oct. 26
♦ Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora
♦ Tickets, $30-$45
♦ (630) 896-6666;
When The Amazing Kreskin, a mentalist, comes to work, he does not need a lot of props and other paraphernalia.
“The audience is an extension of what I do,” said Kreskin, who considers himself an entertainer who deals with the mind. “I’m reading their thoughts. My equipment is the thinking of the audience.
“The whole show is done with audience member participation,” he continued. “I influence them without putting them into a trance.”
Kreskin will perform on Oct. 26 at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora. For this Halloween show, Kreskin will have audience members on stage involved in a ghost sighting of the spirit of John Dillinger.
“When I find I am appearing in an old theater,” Kreskin said, “in the latter part of the show, we have a ghost sighting.”
For years The Amazing Kreskin was a fixture on television. From 1970 to 1975, Kreskin’s television series “The Amazing World of Kreskin” was syndicated across the country. He also appeared on “The Tonight Show” 61 times in the 1970s and 1980s.
More recently, he has appeared on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” In 2008, Tom Hanks produced and co-starred with John Malkovich in the film “The Great Buck Howard,” which was fashioned after Kreskin’s life.
The mentalist has been performing professionally for more than 60 years.
Born in Montclair, N.J., it was during a childhood game that Kreskin’s remarkable ability to find hidden objects emerged. His ability to read thoughts expanded, and by his teens he also became nationally recognized as “The World’s Youngest Hypnotist,” resulting in his collaborating in psychological clinical studies extending into the realm of parapsychology and the power of suggestion.
“I trained myself to control my abilities,” said the 77-year-old Kreskin about his early years. “In my teens, my mind was ON all the time. I would pick up the phone (this was way before caller ID) and say ‘Hi Nancy’ and it would be Nancy on the other end of the line. So now I take about 45 minutes alone before the show to clear my mind. I can’t face the problems of the day and still perform.”
By his late teens, this master of thought transference developed a mental test that has become the highlight of many of his performances. This signature piece has Kreskin requesting that his check be hidden somewhere within the venue he is appearing. If he fails to find it, he will forfeit his fee.
“In my regular performances, I gather a committee of audience members, six or so people,” Kreskin said. “Two of them escort me outside the building or at least where I cannot hear what is going on onstage. The committee on stage then hides my check — my fee for the night. They hide it on a person or somewhere in the theater. Then I meet them all back on stage. I don’t ask any questions, I just tell the committee that they must focus on where the check is hidden. If I do not find it, I waive my fee and I do the show for free.”
Kreskin is confident that he will not go unpaid.
“I have done this effect more than 6,000 times over the years,” Kreskin said. “I have only failed to find the check nine times.”
Randall G. Mielke is a local free-lance writer.