Andy Warhol was quoted as saying, "In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes." I say that as magicians, we should try to extend that fame for as long as possible. Longevity in "celebrity" and future bookings depends upon people remembering our name. Otherwise they may as well go to the first name that pops up on Google. Branson, Missouri magician, Marty Hahne has inadvertently and unintentionally found himself at the center of an issue that has given him worldwide notoriety since the summer of 2013 and continues to this day.
It all began in July 2013 with a letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture beginning with, "Dear Members of Our Regulated Community." Essentially they wanted to make sure that the animals used in his magic show were permitted. Moreover, he needed to have a detailed "Disaster Plan" on what he would do, where he would go and how he would treat his animals (specifically, his pet rabbit) should there be a disaster such as a fire, flood or tornado. Keep in mind that this is a requirement for one animal, not a Warren of rabbit.
The issue soon got national attention when he, along with a few other small entrepreneurs, appeared on a network television investigative show, "War on the Little Guy with John Stossel". His special interest story also appeared in many newspapers and magazines who all had a field day with the headlines, such as: "Watch him pull a USDA-mandated disaster plan out of his hat" and "Magician's Rabbit Get Tangled in Government Red Tape" and "Hare Brained: USDA Reportedly Orders Children's Magician to Produce 'Disaster Plan' for His...Rabbit". You can find a multitude of online articles and YouTube videos on this issue with a little search cross-referencing "Marty the Magician Rabbit Disaster Plan".
Others should heed his advice and find out if you need an animal permit for using your pet in your show in your area. The Washington Post posted a copy of Marty's "Emergency Management and Contingency Plan" posted on their website. Click Here to view the article and the plan.
Although this story is nearly a year old, it still has relevance in the daily lives of every magician who owns and works with livestock in his/her show. In this podcast, Marty tells us the details of what he did, how he responded, the help he received and how he got so much publicity. Do you think he got more shows as a result of this publicity? Listen to his insights and stories and advice in this week's podcast.
At time stamp 00:57:02 I added an edited clip from an interesting chat I had with Nicholas Saint-Erne, a renown veterinarian (and magician). Here Nick gives us some sound advice on the care, feeding and handling of your animals. This was recorded last summer and the full chat can be found Here as part of my report of Day Two from the I.B.M. convention in Phoenix, Arizona.
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In addition to being a full-time professional magician, Marty is also a magic dealer who owns Dazzling Magic. Marty will be a dealer plus lecturing at the Battle of Magicians (magic convention) in Canton, Ohio. He will talk about this experience plus he will be a dealer. Be sure to see him live in Canton where you can ask your own questions and get his advice on what you might need to do to be prepared for when the USDA comes knocking at your door!