• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

Here's Johnny

Kreskin still ‘Amazing’

When I was a very young lad, I was an aspiring magician, and one of my favorite people in that field (though he referred to himself as a “mentalist”) was The Amazing Kreskin. I didn’t see many of his 88 appearances on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson, or countless others on late night television, but I was a regular viewer of his weekly television show in the mid-70s.

Monday, I received an email that said, “If you are interested in looking into the future with The Amazing Kreskin please contact …” I was and I did. Here’s how what turned out to be a 40-minute chat began that afternoon:

“You do a weekly piece … on page two of the newspaper every week, ‘Here’s Johnny’?” Kreskin asked. “Yes, sir,” I responded politely, though not all that impressed, because I figured a quick Google search would reveal that information. Then he continued. “I love that remark that you claim Johnny Carson stole (the title),” Kreskin said.

(After our chat, I did Google searches involving my name, the column title, and Johnny Carson. Nada. Yet I did recall writing somewhere that Carson had used time travel to steal my phrase, then hand to Ed McMahon for his “Here’s Johnnnnny!” show opener.)

However he’d learned that bit of information, along with the knowledge that I’d served in the Navy, I was impressed that a world-famous entertainer had taken the time to learn a bit about his interviewer. Kreskin said he had many good memories of Carson, and that it was refreshing to learn of my reference to the late night legend.

Anyone who thinks The Amazing Kreskin, 83, is just going through the motions should see him perform – or interview him. He said he jogs 20 minutes a day and will retire 10 days after he passes away. In 2016 alone, he made 364 radio, television and concert appearances around the world. Over more than six decades in show business, he’s traveled more than 3.5 million air miles, and though he doesn’t like flying as much in the post-911 era, he’s not about to stop.

I asked whether nervous fliers are reassured when they see a man known for predicting events near and far step aboard their plane. He laughed and recalled a flight in which the landing gear didn’t come down when it was supposed to, and how he walked up and down the aisle to pass the time until he heard the wheels go down. Afterwards, he was told that passengers were indeed comforted by his presence, because a man who’s mystified millions by knowing things he shouldn’t surely wouldn’t step aboard a doomed flight.

Kreskin said his 21st book will be released in two months, and just two-and-a-half weeks before, he’d learned that a movie will be made of his life, which he said was “very deeply moving.”

We never quite got around to an official list of predictions for 2019 – the fault of the interviewer, not The Amazing Kreskin – but he did offer a few thoughts on what’s to come and what’s happening now:

Within eight years, two of the three major internet companies – Google, Facebook and Twitter – will be out of business. (A year before Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg appeared on Capitol Hill to discuss privacy concerns, Kreskin predicted problems for the company.)

More young people, less inclined to seek company beyond their phone, are becoming lonely, and fewer children are playing outside.

People are dating less these days, and powerful people are increasingly concerned about being falsely accused, years later, of inappropriate behavior.

“I ask your readers to step back for a minute or two to reflect on what I’m asking them before they get upset or angry – would you want your son and daughter to go into politics right now?” he said.

I told Kreskin a bit about Woodford County and asked if he’d ever performed in our nearest “big city” of Lexington. He said he didn’t believe so, but would like to, and loved Kentucky.

“If I’m in your area sometime, we’ll have to get together,” he said.

I told him that sounded good and thanked him for his time and my many good memories of his television show (and the Youtube clips I’d watched to refresh my memory).

Then he made a solemn pledge to my boss and all else:

“I promise – I dare not read John’s thoughts in public,” said The Amazing Kreskin.

I told him that would probably help me keep my job, and we wished each other Merry Christmases and Happy New Years.

The next day, I told my colleague Bob Vlach about the interview. Bob, who sports the same number of tree rings as me, was impressed, but a little doubtful. “Are you sure it’s the same guy?” he asked.

Absolutely, I said.

By the way, I eventually deduced how Kreskin likely learned about my time-traveling and column title-stealing allegations involving the better known Johnny. It’s on my website bio. Yet the puzzle mystified me for a day and has me smiling as I write this. So forgive me if I describe my two-thirds of an hour with a funny, down-to-earth childhood hero in an entirely predictable fashion:

It was amazing.

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