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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Longtime magician receives recognition certificate


TOM PERSELL By Flo Lynn IndeOnline.com correspondent
Aug 09, 2011
In the world of sleight of hand and circuses, Tom Persell, of Massillon, is a standout.
The 74-year-old retired employee of Republic Engineered Products ICD received his 35-year recognition certificate in June from the International Brotherhood of Magicians, acknowledging his membership in the Order of Merlin Shield during the brotherhood’s national convention. Unfortunately, Tom was unable to attend, and he received his certificate by mail.
He has performed magic since 1976 at circuses and special occasions, but now limits his magic talent to special occasions. He recalls the eight shows that he built illusions for to accommodate a Kent State University Stark Campus theater series.
“I miss doing those shows, especially building the illusion props,” Tom says wistfully, but perks up when he talks about his present creation, the Wilson Bros. Miniature Circus, a huge undertaking he started in February 2002.
Rarely can he display the entire circus, which fills a table space of 16 feet by 40 feet. The next date that it will be on full display will be Nov. 18, 19 and 20 during the Cleveland IX Center’s Christmas Connection.
But Wilson Bros. is built so that Tom can display portions of it and still give the visitor an awe-inspiring, behind-the-scenes look. Most every figurine is of an original design, hand-carved, hand-painted, and hand-constructed. Tom himself stands in miniature size among his circus characters.
Visitors to Tom’s circus are amazed at how complete the circus is — the elephants at feed time, the chefs preparing meals for circus members, big-top customers seated in the bleachers — it’s all there.
Tom started out at “around 7 or 8” years of age making model airplanes and was content with that until he saw a miniature medicine show and was immediately mesmerized by the detail work. That started him on the trail that rose from model airplanes to circus layouts over the years.
Tom takes his circus on out-of-town trips with the back of his van loaded with gently and safely protected circus components packed in small boxes. It takes three days to set up the entire circus; one can imagine how many boxes it takes to haul the circus around.
In April 2010, while heading home to Massillon following a national circus builders’ convention in Texas, Tom was involved in a one-car accident that destroyed some of his circus and damaged other pieces. When he got home, he immediately took inventory of the damage and began building it back to full strength, a project now completed.read more:http://www.indeonline.com/life/x1837730102/Longtime-magician-receives-recognition-certificate

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