Born George Joseph Kresge in 1935, the man to go on to become known as The Amazing Kreskin, will perform this Sunday at Sellersville Theater 1894.
“Although I make predictions, I do not claim to have paranormal or clairvoyant powers,” said Kreskin. “When I’m doing my show, whether in front of two-hundred or two-thousand people, I just tell everyone to concentrate fully and their thoughts start coming to me.”
Kreskin, a New Jersey native, said he once told a woman in the audience the name of her unborn child, something no one else could have known, not even her husband. Of course, Kreskin was right.
“And another time, I told a gentleman in the audience the exact serial number he had in World War II.” Kreskin insisted.
“But I’m not a psychic or a fortune teller,” he continued. “I describe myself as a mentalist and thought reader. I’m constantly tuning into people’s thoughts and listening to the thoughts they’re sending me.”
And all his powers began, he said, when he was just a little boy in elementary school during a game of “hot and cold.”
Later, he played a similar game with his brother.
“One day, I asked my brother to hide a penny somewhere in my grandmother’s house. Eventually, I climbed up on a chair, reached behind the curtain rod and found the penny,” he said.
Inspired by Lee Falk’s comic strip, Mandrake the Magician, a crime-fighting stage magician, Kreskin, who has since legally changed his name, went on to become even more popular than the strip.
So popular, in fact, that the 2008 movie The Great Buck Howard is based on the experiences of writer-director Sean McGinly, who worked briefly as the road manager for Kreskin. The film starred Tom Hanks and John Malkovich as Kreskin.
Kreskin, who has gone on to appear on The Tonight Show 61 times, which is more than any other performer, along with Late Night with David Letterman, and three times on the new Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, made a prediction — which he put in a sealed envelope — about the coming election on the Fallon show he hopes to reveal later on.
He’s made others. For instance, regarding the U.S. presidential election in 2008, he logged the results with a written statement made 11 months earlier. In 2008, he also correctly predicted the results of the Super Bowl three days before the game.
And there have been others, leading him to be called by many the Nostradamus of the 20th century.
Kreskin has a remarkable ability to find hidden objects. So great is his ability, that one of his best-known tricks is finding his paycheck after a performance, which he instructs the audience to hide while he is escorted off stage and into seclusion by other members of the audience. He’s usually pretty good, only failing to find the check nine times, like the time he lost $51,000 in New Zealand. On those rare occasions, the check is donated to charity.
But his ability to be right — and to find his check in the most obscure places — is mind-blowing.
“One,” he explained, “was back at the University of Illinois in front of some eight-thousand people. I stopped in front of a distinguished-looking gentleman and asked him to open his mouth. He did, but the check was not there. As I began to walk away, I turned back and asked him to take out his upper plate. And there was my check.”
Today, after more than 50 years in the business and countless years on the road, Kreskin talks about his retirement.
“My retirement will be ten days after I pass away,” he laughs. “Why should I ever retire? I have too much going for me. I love my work and my whole life has been one big, fabulous adventure.” ••
For show times and ticket information, call 215-257-5808.