Meir Yedid
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Cover Story: The Linking Ring
Volume 78 - Number 3 - March 1998

MEIR YEDID
by Phil Willmarth

The Linking RingMeir Yedid is a friend, an inspiration, a superb magician, and a respected magic dealer. And that is a very rare combination!

Born in Tel Aviv, Israel on May 6, 1960, he first started dabbling in magic about the age of six years. Moving to the U.S.A. in 1970, his interest continued to grow. Then in 1979, he started working at Louis Tannen, Inc. at the age of nineteen and he has never looked back. He has earned his living through magic ever since.

Meir began performing at restaurants, private parties and appeared regularly at the Magic Towne House. During this period, he also began to market his own magic creations. He sold his tricks to Tannens and demonstrated them while working in the store. In 1981, he won the S.A.M. Close-Up Contest with his "Finger Fantasies" act in which he made his right fingers disappear at will, his thumb moves up and down his arm, etc. Also that year, Harry Lorayne wrote a complete description of Meir’ s finger act, also called Finger Fantasies. Close-Up Hallucinations written by George Schindler, The Incredible Close-Up Magic of Meir Yedid written by Gary Quellet, and Meir Yedid's Card Animations written by Harry Lorayne and Meir Yedid’s Stage Stuff, written by Steve Schneiderman followed. He also has produced several sets of lecture notes and a couple of magic videos.

The ultimate irony happened in 1986, August 16th, to be exact. He was driving Hiawatha to New York City from Tannen's Magic Camp at Oakdale, Long Island. The rear tire of his car blew out and Meir started pumping the brakes but did not have the strength to hold the steering wheel steady. The car swerved, hit a sand pile, turned over end for end, flipping four times and landed right side up. Hiawatha’s only injury was a bruised shoulder caused by his seat belt.

Meir immediately knew his right hand was injured. He always drives with his right hand on top of the steering wheel. On the first flip, a guard rail went through the roof of the car like a can opener and caught his hand, removing the pinkie, ring finger and a bit of the palm of his hand. They were found a hundred yards from where the car finally ended up.

His hand was packed with ice and wrapped in a towel. A helicopter rushed him to St. John’s Hospital in Smithtown, Long Island. I called and talked with him shortly after the accident and was flabbergasted and overwhelmed with his cheerful and positive attitude. He simply said that he was so busy trying to entertain and cheer up all his friends who were feeling sorry for him that he never had a chance to feel sorry for himself. His courage and positive attitude was no less than inspiring.

More irony was that Meir permanently lost his ring finger, the one spectators inevitably selected prior to the accident when he offered to make any finger vanish. After nine reconstructive surgeries and a year and a half of physical therapy, he feels he is a better performer, even technically, than before. He learned to do the finger act with the other hand. He adapted his sleights to his new condition and does virtually everything he had performed before, plus new material specifically tailored to take advantage of his supposed handicap.

In 1988, he proved his complete recovery by again winning the S.A.M. Close-Up Championship, the first person to win this award more than once. He decided to pursue a college degree at the City University of New York, continuing his magic business as a sideline, doing shows, and traveling during the summer giving lectures and manning his booth at conventions. After doing some 30 conventions a year for several years, he began to enjoy himself, and finally came to believe that magic dealing could be a full-time business.

Why is he successful at dealing when so many attempts to do so fail? He tailors his effects for the individual who does not know difficult sleight-of-hand. The majority of his marketed items are designed to be learned in less than fifteen minutes. Each effect should be baffling, entertaining, easy for the spectators to follow, and relatively easy to do. He advertises regularly, covers all the magic magazines, has a uniform look to his products, and keeps the price as low as possible commensurate with quality.

And, he only markets effects he personally enjoys doing, a most sensible approach since he has to demonstrate them so frequently.

In addition to his dealing, Meir has lectured and appeared at Conventions and in other performances in Asia, Australia, Europe, South America and, of course, the United States. He has been featured on television in: Comedy Tonight" (FOX TV), "Paul Daniel’s Show" (BBC-TV, England). "Naruhodo the World" (FUJI-TV, Japan), "Luna de Verano" (CSTV, Spain), "Knoff Hoff Show" (ZDF-TV, Germany), "Mind Over Matter" (ACTV, U.S.A.) and made dozens of other appearances on news, talk shows, and music videos. He also appeared on Broadway in Mr. Bob’s Magical Holiday.

On April 19, 1997, the S.A.M. Parent Assembly #1 recognized and honored Meir Yedid by presenting him their Magician of the Year Award, the 30th magician to be so recognized. It is an honor richly deserved for his ethical approach to dealing, his excellence as an entertainer and technician, his unfailing good humor, and his wonderful outlook on life. He is a credit to this magic art we all love. A long-time I.B.M. member, Meir will be performing (and demonstrating) at our annual Convention in Los Angeles in July.

Copyright 1998 by the International Brotherhood of Magicians. All rights reserved.

 
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