Just like magic, audience wowed at library's Summer Reading Program

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
"Magic Jay" Zugai of Abilene entertains children with linking rings during the first of his two magic shows Thursday morning in the Adams Street Community Center.

BROWNWOOD — “Magic Jay” Zugai of Abilene delighted children and parents alike with his high-energy magic act Thursday at the Brownwood Public Library’s Summer Reading Program.

Using props, including oversized playing cards, linking rings and colorful pieces of cloth, Zugai’s sleight of hand and other tricks left children rollicking, and parents smiling, throughout two shows at the Adams Street Community Center. Zugai called on young volunteers to come to the front and be part of some of his tricks.

Between shows, Zugai said performing magic show is “pretty much” his full time job now that he is semi-retired. He performs at venues including birthday parties and stage shows.

“I installed carpet and ceramic tile for years, so in the real world my magic will ‘floor’ you,” Zugai said.

Maya Dodson, 7, of Early, nuzzles her sister, 6-month-old Lila, in the Adams Street Community Center Thursday during the "Magic Jay" show. Maya and Lila were accompanied by their mother, Sarah Dodson.

Magic is his passion and hobby, Zugai said on his website, www.magicjays.com

Zugai said he got his start in magic at age 10 or 11 after watching a television show called “The Magic Land of Allakazam.”

“Mark Wilson was the magician on that show,” Zugai said. “I watched it, and at the end of the show he taught everybody how to make a magic trick.

“So I took out the time, practiced it, and I took it to school the next day to show the kids. But they’d all seen it because we only had two TV stations back then, and one station was news.”

Zugai went on to read books about magic, and then was introduced to the Texas Association of Magicians. 

He has won two state championships through the association and attends its annual convention. Zugai will attend the next convention in September and will compete once again for a state title.

Zugai has been featured in the media for driving a car blindfolded, entertaining children at the Hendrick Home for Children and being cuffed by the Policeman of the Year before escaping under water (see gallery), his website states.

The magic show is clearly a fun time for Zugai.

“Oh my goodness, yes, that’s what it’s all about, is having fun,” Zugai said. “I’m enjoying life and I want to share that with others.”