Kathy and I were into our second week of our stage performance at Houston's Magic Island with our comedy show and two-person mind reading act. It was on Friday afternoon, September 12, 2008 that I received a call from the Magic Island saying that they would be closed that evening due to Hurricane Ike that was expected have landfall in Houston that night. They would notify me the next day if they would reopen for guests on Saturday night.
I awoke early the next morning around 2:00 when the sound and the fury of Hurricane Ike as it came through. It rocked our three story townhouse like we were back out to sea on one of our cruise ships. It tossed buckets of water against our windows sounding like waves against our portals. After things calmed down later that morning, we breathed a sigh of relief and gave a prayer of thanks that our neighborhood was spared except for the power outage that lasted about three weeks and affected hundreds of thousands of local residents. But there were certain parts of Houston that still had electricity including the Magic Island.
Later that Saturday afternoon, Kathy and I were watching the news on a battery powered portable television set. To our shock and surprise, the Houston Fire Department's (HFD) Hook and Ladder team were responding to a fire at the Magic Island. Apparently there was standing water on the flat roof that leaked into the neon lights on the outside of the building. The HFD arrived in time to save the Island from significant damage, but the high pressure hoses did more damage than the hurricane.
Insurance agents fanned out across the region and told people to clean up the damage as best they could because if left unattended, more mold and mildew damage could occur. Well, the Magic Island was long overdue for basic repairs (remember the leak in the dressing room I mentioned?) so all of the carpeting was removed. When the insurance adjuster arrived, I understand that they said they would pay for that portion that was damaged but not all of the carpeting throughout. Unfortunately their insurance would not pay for enough to bring the Magic Island back up to its former glory so it has sat vacant for all these years. I understand that some have looked into reviving the once fabulous landmark, but you can imagine how much repair would be needed now, nearly five years after Hurricane Ike. So, I believe that the property is worth far more than the building and it's now a "tear down". Hopefully someday someone will rebuild it. It is proven that such an entertainment facility can make it in Houston.
But the delightful thing is that before its demise, I had a chance to sit down with the Entertainment Director, Scott Hollingsworth to talk about the history of the Magic Island. And perhaps more importantly, I video taped the interview following his guided tour through the Island. Enjoy this one hour "never to be seen again" piece of history from the Magic Island: