World champion magician to perform at Catalina Island Museum on May 4

Magician Johnny Ace Palmer. Courtesy photo

The upcoming First Fridays at the Museum kicks off a summer of magic at the Catalina Island Museum.

Working closely with the Magic Castle in Hollywood, the museum is proud to welcome World Champion Magician Johnny Ace Palmer for a special performance on Friday, May 4.

Named #1 Close-Up Magician by Wayne Kawamoto, the writer for Magic & Illusion at the spruce, Palmer has devoted his life to practicing magic.

He prefers “up close and personal” magic which provides audiences the opportunity to be close enough to experience the illusion yet unable to figure out how he did it. The precision of Palmer’s sleight-of-hand illusions led him to compete against magicians from 47 countries during the International Federation of Magic Societies’ World Congress of Magic in 1988. Beating out his competition, across eight categories, he became the only close-up magician in history to capture the title of World Champion Magician.

Palmer’s other achievements include two-time Best Close-Up Magician at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, Academy of Magical Arts “Parlour Magician of the Year,” and the only magician to receive both the International Brotherhood of Magicians’ Gold Cups Award of Excellence and the Society of American Magicians’ Gold Medal of Honor, just to name a few.

He was a featured guest on the Late Show with David Letterman shortly before Letterman retired.

He also appeared on the first four years of the Masters of Illusion television show that aired on the CW.

Throughout the evening, Palmer will circulate among the crowd performing close-up magic tricks.

At 7:30 p.m, Houdini expert John Cox will give a brief presentation about the magic and allure of Harry Houdini, followed by the main magic performance by Palmer at 7:45 p.m.

The Houdini presentation directly relates to the museum’s new special exhibition, “Houdini: Terror on the Magic Isle,” set to open on Saturday, May 5.

First Fridays at the Museum will take place on Friday, May 4th from 6 to 9 pm. The museum will re-open for this event at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for museum members, $25 for non-members and $5 for children (ages 3-15). All children must be accompanied by an adult.

A specialty cocktail, wine, beer, soda and water will be available for purchase. No outside food or drink allowed.

Tickets may be purchased in person at the museum, online via, or by phone at 310-510-2414. For more information, visit