Area magician turns accident into fulfilling way of life
A man who’s been visiting the Fort Myers area since 1953, Magic Frank Mikeska dazzles local audiences with illuminating tricks and spectacular feats of up-close, short-sleeve magic every week.
Currently, you can catch Magic Frank at the Yucatan Beach Stand (250 Old San Carlos Blvd. at Fort Myers Beach) every Saturday night, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Publically, in season, you can catch Magic Frank Mikeska at Parrot Key Caribbean Grill Thursday nights, from 6 to 8 p.m.; every Wednesday and Saturday night at the Yucatan Beach Stand, from 6 to 8 p.m.
The business-executive-turned-magician has a pretty unique and interesting story of how he got into the secret world of magic.
Ironically, it all began with a horrible accident June 4, 1973. Frank’s new car spun out of control after a blow-out, rolling him into a ditch. He was ripped out of the seatbelts and was half-ejected from the car, pinned underneath.
“They took me to the hospital DOA (dead on arrival). I died three more times there, spent 30 days in a critical coma, and went from critical care to intensive care, then step-down care,” he said. “Finally, about four or five months later, I got into my own room and they started putting me back together again.”
During one of his many hospital stays while recovering, an uncle introduced Frank to an old-time Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey magician.
“He knew how everything worked with magic, but his hands were so arthritic. Of course I was a young pup then, so my hands were young and agile, and he showed me everything he knew,” the magician said. “After that, I started attending numerous magic lectures, magic seminars, weekend schools I just became fascinated with the craft and wanted to learn all I could about it.”
It took Frank five years to fully recover, going through 96 pints of blood while battling against kidney failure, having to learn how to walk again and so many more personal medical achievements.
Before the accident, he was working for Ford Motor Co. and then became a Sheriff’s deputy for Stark County, Ohio. After recovering, he did all three, not calling magic his full profession until 1990, performing about 220 shows a year.
He’s also dabbled in some modeling and acting in his career, but magic is his true calling. He has won first place for close-up magic in many competitions in Ohio, and still loves to wow the crowds with his amazing skills as a traditional magician.
Frank is an expert at close-up magic sleight-of-hand tricks, hundreds of card tricks, coin tricks, silks and more.
He performs plenty of private functions while also entertaining at local establishments, such as the Yucatan Bar and Grill and Parrot Key Caribbean Grill.
“I’m always sure not to invade the privacy of a diner’s dining experience,” he said. “Everything is done right here in my hands. I never touch anything on the table.”
Frank is truly a magician. He makes cards appear and vanish with ease everything’s short-sleeved never showing any form of nervousness or discontent. He can make a card appear in the strangest of places without even batting a lash.
“One of my favorite tricks is the ‘invisible cards.’ I’ll ask you to think of a card. I’ll hand you an invisible deck, let you pick a card out of it, and I’ll tell you what that card was. I’ll even show it to you.”
Frank has incorporated lots of his tricks from the old Barnum and Bailey magician, but has also developed his own patter (routine).
“It’s very important to learn your own patter so you’re very comfortable,” he said.
If you want to try to call his bluff, Frank invites you to bring your own deck of cards to work with. He said he uses standard “ordinary” Bicycle brand cards, bought straight from Haines House of Cards, Inc., who manufactures them.
“That’s why I do close-up magic. I enjoy seeing the excitement in their face like, ‘Wow, how did that happen?!'”
When he’s entertaining a public crowd at a restaurant or lounge, you’ll find Magic Frank in tropical beach attire. However, when he’s performing at a private function, you’ll find this smooth-card-picking sailor in a tuxedo, complete with bowtie and cummerbund (no top hat though).
Whether in season or not, Frank performs private parties and functions anywhere. If interested in hiring for restaurant or lounge appearances, or a private function, call the magician at 489-4043 or email MagicFrankM@aol.com.
“My main objective when entertaining is to give personal attention to the guests and their friends and family, so they each have a wonderful one-on-one experience with magic. I can make empty seats in your restaurant disappear!”