By Mary Owen
Renowned magician and U.S. Army aviator Scott Anderson is ready to perform for the locals.
“Since this is my solo show, it is a much smaller and intimate performance than what you would see at a casino,” said Anderson, who recently returned home from a whirlwind tour of his show, “Operation: Magic.”
“The funniest part of this show is that just about every piece of magic I perform will be using volunteers from the audience,” he added. “We might make it snow in July. I might catch a bullet with my teeth. Someone may end up split in half.”
Anderson will perform “Operation: Magic” beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 14 at Porter-Boone Park in Aumsville. The event is free.
Whatever illusion he delivers, viewers will be dazzled and mesmerized, predicted Colleen Rogers, city clerk.
“Scott Anderson’s magic shows are incredibly entertaining,” Rogers said. “You will hardly believe your eyes!”
Using masterful sleight of hand, a commanding stage presence, and quick wit, Anderson wows the crowd, she said.
“And if that’s not enough, you will be amazed when Scott reads your mind, and tells you what you are thinking, and who or where you are thinking about. This will be a fun show,” she said.
Anderson bases his magic and illusions on experiences gained from his travels as a U.S. soldier. “M*A*S*H* meets magic” is his tagline. Using “Vegas style” illusions, real video footage and mesmerizing story-telling, he delivers an emotional and inspiring performance. From drill sergeants threatening to cut him in half in “The Original Hurt Locker,” to fulfilling a wounded child’s bedside wish in “The Middle Eastern Storm,” Anderson has had people laughing one minute and crying the next.
Born and raised in Oregon, Anderson joined the Army as a military policeman out of high school. “Working with kids as a DARE officer while stationed at Ft. Lewis, Wash., I started using magic tricks as a behavior tool for the classes,” Anderson said. “Eventually, I began to perform at birthday parties as a side job, which led to more jobs.”
In July 2001, Anderson was honorably discharged from the Army, then joined the National Guard as a flight medic. His popularity soon skyrocketed with performances at the Oregon State Fair. Then came Sept. 11 and he was back on active service, serving at Ft. Sam Houston in Texas, Ft. Bragg in North Carolina, and with the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, Anderson shared his magic with the children brought to the U.S. Army hospitals. After returning to the U.S., he went to Army flight school, and while there, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. Anderson partnered with the owner of Rawls’ Restaurant in Enterprise, Ala., and doing dinner theater, helped raise thousands of dollars for hurricane relief charities.
A second deployment in 2009 to Iraq further developed his magic talents by performing in villages and at the Air Force Theater Hospital. Uniting people through laughter and magic while in Iraq, Anderson won the contest, “Military’s Got Talent,” beating 57 service members.
“I also became a finalist on ‘America’s Got Talent,” said Anderson, who, by then, was performing at casinos in Las Vegas. Making it into the top 50 of 70,000 potential acts for ‘America’s Got Talent’ was, he said, “a phenomenal experience, and really opened a lot of doors for me in the magic community.
Anderson sees himself staying in Oregon, working as a financial adviser for the city of Wilsonville and a medical evacuation helicopter pilot with the Oregon National Guard.
“I have had a few offers to pursue magic as a full-time job, but I would have to give up what I have going here and I’m not willing to do that,” he said. “I still have the opportunity to travel around the country and perform, but I do it at my own time and leisure. It’s the best of both worlds.”