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Frank Everhart Jr. might have been born in Chicago but the magic road was to take him to different places. He would have many adventures in his young life before the allure of prestidigitation would grip him. Eventually, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree; however, in Frank’s case it would be a coconut and a palm tree. THe days of the legendary Ivanhoe wound down (The Chicago underworld wanted the business). Frank joked, “The Ivanhoe burned twice. The second time we made money”. Lee didn’t want Jr. raised in Chicago. It was time to move on and with that, they bid Chicago farewell. For a short time they moved close to Lee’s family in Southern Illinois. Frank Sr. eased into doing special appearances all across the country for tradeshows, conventions, private and public affairs alike. Calling Southern Illinois home was to last for a couple of years until Frank Sr. received an offer from Richards Medical Company in Memphis, TN, today Smith Nephew Richards. The Richards team was always excited to have Frank appear at their trade shows and conventions. This offer on the table was for the position of ‘Executive Vice President of Entertainment’ (A title Frank Sr. was pretty sure they just made up). At the time of the offer, Frank had been appearing for Richards for years. How could he say no to such a golden opportunity? After a short talk with Lee, the decision was made to make Memphis their new home. Frank Jr was raised in Memphis.

After school he joined the Air National Guard. Basic training in San Antonio, Texas was all work all the time. In the short free time the young men had together, they would congregate in the day room. Although the day room was meant to be a place for relaxing and socialising, there wasn’t much to do. No TV, no radio, but they had a deck of cards. The Air Guard and Air Force went through basic training together. According to Frank, after a taste of the first few days of basic training several ‘brave young men’ sat in tears crying out, “What have I done”! The problem was this. These few had signed up in an effort to prove mom & dad or the girlfriend wrong. Instead they found themselves thinking they had made the worst mistake of their lives with no way out! Feeling sorry for them, Frank Jr. picked up that deck of cards. In an effort to make them smile he did the few tricks he knew at the time. Aside from talent shows in school Frank Jr. had never really pursued magic. Mother Lee remembered, “His dad had promised never to push magic on him. He waited until Frank wanted to learn”. After a few tricks Frank Jr. had 60 or so guys in the day room wanting to see more. It was right about then some smart axx made a wisecrack. Frank Jr. turned around and shut him down. Witnessing the quick wit the entire day room roared in laughter! Just then, in a moment of clarity, Frank realised that he knew every joke that his father ever told! Frank not only knew the jokes, he knew why to tell them and when. In a heartbeat he had an understanding of what had made his father so famous.

Frank Sr. simply called it, “The art of insulting people without offending people”. When Frank got to tech school at Sheppard Air Force Base, he spent all of his spare time buying phone cards in the base recreation hall. He would call his father and feverishly ask questions about Chicago style bar Magic. While earning an associates degree in pneudraulics, Frank Jr. learned this priceless form of entertainment over the phone! After graduation, Frank joined his parents, who had now retired back to Southern Illinois. After a quick reunion, Frank journeyed across the mighty Mississippi River to St. Louis, Mo. There, on Historic Laclede’s Landing, Frank started his first Magic bar! Frank’s Magic Bar enjoyed success on the Landing for about four years. It was only then, a chance vacation to Key West, would change his fate forever… Frank Jr. actually had his eyes on Orlando, FL. This plan involved a pretty young lady; however, as a plan can often do at that age, the relationship dissolved. Orlando was not to be. In an unforeseen yet fortuitous ‘trick’ of fate, his Aunt Ruth made mention of Key West. Frank had never heard of the island. Using money he had set back for a certain ring, Frank instead took the family on an adventure insearch of the southernmost point in the continental United States.

The compass pointed south toward a chain of islands that ended in Key West! The Paladin Magic Shop Upon arriving on the island Frank and his father did what any self respecting magician would do. They sought out the local magic shop. Staring at the would be customers from his vantage point sat Captain Bill Grosscup, the proprietor of the Paladin Magic Shop. He was actually a retired Lt. Colonel of the Marine Corps. He was perched upright with an unmistakable military air about him; however, seeing how it was Key West, he donned his Captain’s hat, Captain’s shirt, khaki shorts, sebago shoes and his glasses with the sun visors flipped up. To understand what comes next the average person must come to terms with the fact that Frank Sr. had a very pronounced nose. Entering the magic shop he turned his gaze left and right admiring Captain Bill’s collection of magic memorabilia. This gained the attention of the good Captain. He had been spying the pair inquisitively through the steam of his morning coffee. When Captain Bill saw Frank’s profile, the coffee began to spill as he sprang to his feet and exclaimed, “Oh my God, it’s Frank Everhart”! As it turns out, when Captain Bill was just a butter bar lieutenant in the Marine Corps he found himself on leave in Chicago. Knowing Bill’s passion for magic, his friends recommended that he go and see Frank’s Magic Bar at the Ivanhoe. Bill spent all 3 days of his leave being amazed by Frank. Now, 40 years later, Bill sat in his own shop wearing that same look of amazement! Questions and tales about magic began to dance around the room accompanied by laughter and tricks of course. No one seemed to notice that Frank Jr. had wandered out the front door of the shop in a bewildered daze. He found himself surrounded by sailors, sea dogs, fortune hunters, artists and a treasure trove of characters that looked as if they jumped right out of a pirate novel.

The shops! The bars! The people! Frank was enchanted. He knew in an instant that this was home. Having composed himself, Frank Jr. returned to a gleeful, spellbound Magic Shop listening to and trading tales that never seemed to stop stretching. Once Frank was able to pry the two apart, he asked Captain Bill that most important of questions, “Where is the local bar”? The Schooner Wharf Bar! Captain Bill grabbed young Mike Drasher who was a studying magician at the time. Bill instructed Mike to take Frank to The Schooner Wharf Bar. Meanwhile, Captain Bill called to arrange a meeting with Mrs. Evalena Worthington.(NOTE: Remember to insert hyperlinks to places like Schooner Wharf Bar) Evalena and her husband Paul owned ‘The Last ;little piece of old Key West’! It was more commonly known as The Schooner Wharf Bar. For his own reasons after some years there Frank would come to call it ‘The World’s Local Bar’! Frank was guided up Lazy Way Lane to the main entrance of Schooner Wharf Bar. He would have walked through the door, but there was no door. In fact at first glance, Frank had a hard time finding the roof! To his left a shady looking stage greeted him with the tropical sounds of now local legend, Michael McCloud, formerly of the band, Spirit. As he continued to sing, the customers applauded and bought Cds. All the while listening to Michael music give rise to how Lazy Way Lane got its name. Beyond the people the Key West Bite could be found. Here fishing boats, snorkel and sunsets cruises docked waiting to board their passengers for a day of excitement on the water! To Frank’s right was the main bar.

To his amazement the bar was filled with locals and tourists alike! There was an upper deck for watching sunset and just past the jukebox toward the back of the bar was a rickety set of stairs. Frank climbed up cautiously and walked into the office of a Sweedish Goddess! That was how the sailors of the island often referred to Evalena. Frank would soon regard Evalena as the hardest working woman he had ever met. After a brief introduction Evalena sat back in curiosity. “I’ve never heard of a Magic Bar,” she said. Having told the narrative of his family business with great confidence, Frank rose and said, “All I ask is for you to give me one night to show you what I do”. With a glean in her eye that was sensing adventure Evalena heartily agreed! The magician Frank had sized up the bar on his way to the office. During his observations, Frank’s eyes couldn’t help but land on an inviting blackjack table sitting in a quiet corner of the bar. Frank bribed the old dealer known as stone hands to take the night off. Having established a makeshift-Magic Bar for the evening, Frank began to unveil his magically charming plan to take Schooner Wharf by storm… The Audition And storm it did! For Key West, it was a cold, rainy April night. Frank noticed he was flanked by a warm and inviting pot belly stove. Two very different worlds were about to meet on the tattered felt of that old blackjack table. After a few hellos and jokes, Frank began to gather a crowd. A revolving group of about ten or twenty amazed people kept him busy all through that rainy night. As the people would leave they would send friends while exclaiming, You’ve got to see this”! Frank’s couldn’t hel[ but feel that things were going great! That is of course until it dawned on him that half of them might be cold. Frank suddenly remembered the wood burning stove behind him. Cold or not, Frank could tell by the looks on their faces that their curiosity had been peeked and their funny bone had been tickled! Frank however was not one ro miss an opportunity. In a mighty voice the jokes continued as cards flew in every direction. The patrons of Schooner Wharf laughed and cheered all night long! This dreary night had turned festive in a way the locals had never seen before! Ever aware that no matter how cattywampus, this was still an audition, Frank was watchful to see where Eveanla was at all times. As legend has it, (It really happened) she weaved her way through the crowd and asked for not one, but two favorite cards. Frank produced both. With a roar from the crowd Evalena looked up with a smile. Amidst the cheers she looked Frank dead in the eye and, under her breath, she whispered, “You’re hired”!

Overwhelmed with excitement, Frank rushed back to St. Louis. He did a two week swan song and headed for his new home, Key West! As the years went by Frank’s Magic Bar grew in popularity and notoriety. He rose as an officer in the Conch Republic Army and Navy (They were short handed back then). He was a radio DJ. He ran for mayor of the island! He had a Haunted House inside historic Civil War Fort Zachary Taylor. Most importantly he had the only Magic Bar in the Florida Keys. It was also rapidly becoming one of the longest running Magic Bars in America! As the fame of the Magic Bar spread, Frank began to develop a network of clients. They hired him for tradeshow, conventions and private & public parties all across this great land and across the seas too. Frank has maintained a working relationship with most of these clients for over 2 decades now. As we all know in these modern times the pandemic hit. The rise of the virus sadly meant the demise of a great many of Frank’s clients. It quite literally put a stranglehold on a great many businesses. Frank has always been one to look and lead for a light at the end of the tunnel. Now that we are approaching 2022 people are becoming accustomed to the difficulties of travel and as the smart and successful always do, they have adapted. This is leading to a resurgence of Trade Shows, conventions and all sorts of new and exciting affairs that will be readily awaiting Frank’s special brand of Magic. As Frank continues to ply his trade at the now famed Frank’s Magic Bar in Key West he stands ready for the reemerging businesses. He is equally excited about the prospects of new companies on the rise. He is eager and excited to bring his special skills and entertainment to each and every one of their or your events

 

 

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