(Tony Hassini with David Copperfield)
(Tony Hassini with Siegfried & Roy)
(Tony Hassini on the right at 17 years old performing the floating skull.)
(Tony Hassini in Bangkok, Thailand)
Hi, I'm Tony Hassini. I founded the International Magicians Society in July of 1968 with only a handful of magicians. Since then, the IMS grew to be the World's Largest Magic Organization.
Why and how I started the IMS is one of the most exciting stories you will ever read. And if you take your time and read this story, you will get something from it. I promise.
I was born in 1941 on the tiny little island of Cyprus, which is in the Mediterranean. As if coming into this world in the middle of the second world war was not bad enough, I was also a disabled child. I have a significant hearing impairment, which I have to wear hearing aids for the rest of my life. I also have a severe case of dyslexia. For those who do not know about dyslexia, it is a syndrome more common among boys than girls, and those who have it see things backward or reverse, as if seeing things in a mirror. Quite often, under pressure, I begin writing stuff in reverse. And it takes me twice as long to read a book.
Just recently, I read an article about Steven Spielberg, one of Hollywood's top film directors. He had talked about his dyslexia and how it takes him twice as long to read a book. If you like to read his article, click here.
In the 1940s, people knew very little about dyslexia. And children like me were not classified as learning disabled. So I was told that I was stupid and that I will never learn anything because it is much harder for someone with dyslexia. As a result, I was so shy that I could not look anyone in the eye.
At age 16, I left Cyprus and went to London, England, hoping for a better life. I didn't speak a word of English. And the best job I could get at the time was as a dish-washer in a Cypriot restaurant. It was here in London that I stumbled across a local magic shop, where I discovered magic. I purchased my first two magic tricks from that shop. I realized then that there is always a simple solution when things seem impossible, like with the magic tricks I had just purchased.
Magic changed my whole life. Magic gave me the self-confidence and the opportunity to become somebody.
When I showed my first tricks to people, they stopped and paid attention to me. They even asked me, "How did you do that?" In the blink of an eye, I became somebody.
What are the chances of a poor boy with handicaps and disabilities to travel all over the world and be treated like a king in countries like Egypt, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Poland, Germany, France, Sweden, Russia, China, Japan, Korea, North America, South America, Central America, and Australia?
I want to back up a little to when I was a young boy in Cyprus. Two things happened, which gave me these wishful desires. First, a visiting magician came to the island, and I went to see his incredible magic show. During the entire show, I kept thinking, "I'd like to grow up and become a magician."
Three months later, a large movie company from Hollywood came to Cyprus to film the motion picture entitled "Exodus." This movie is based on a true story of Jews escaping the Nazis in Europe and arriving in Cyprus to travel to Palestine.
I stood at the beachhead watching the filmmakers, specifically the cameraman/director sitting behind the camera and calling the shots. I heard a little voice in me saying, "I want to grow up and become a cameraman/director."
I had accomplished both of these childhood goals. I became a magician, as well as a cameraman/director.
The moral of the story is that if I can accomplish all that, despite my handicaps, anyone can reach their goals, as long as you believe in yourself and never give up.
So I founded the International Magicians Society, hoping that I can give the same opportunities to someone who might take magic and run with it and make all of his/her goals come true.
Since I have learned so much within the last 60 years, I'd like to share my philosophies, as well as short stories that might benefit you. If you have the time and want to take this magical journey, click here.
(Tony Hassini in Rome, Italy)
(Tony Hassini in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
(Tony Hassini in Palermo, Sicily)
(Tony Hassini in Marseiles, France)