by Alice E. Gerard
Charlie of Charlie and Checkers brought color, energy, and fun with him to the Grand Island Memorial Library's celebration of its 25th anniversary at its current Bedell Road location. The audience, which was comprised mostly of children under the age of 10, was a small group. What the audience lacked in numbers, however, it made up for in enthusiasm and energy.
Charlie presented a 45-minute program for a group of children and adults. Charlie calls his performance technique a "comedy magic act." Charlie incorporated a rabbit, a coloring book that seemed to have no pictures, and a scarf that appeared to grow and change color, among other tricks. Charlie kept the audience laughing with his announcement that he was afraid of bees. He then seemed to be swarmed by all varieties of bees, from cards with pictures of bees to a large stuffed bee that he threw in the air and attempted to swat with a giant bee swatter when he realized that he was holding a bee.
Charlie also amused his audience with unusual magic wand tricks. He had a variety of magic wands, ranging from very small to enormous. One of the magic wands was afflicted by spots, which he unsuccessfully tried to remove. First, he tried blowing on the magic wand, but the spots weren't going anywhere. Then he tried rubbing the magic wand with his mother's favorite silk handkerchief. Before long, the silk handkerchief was covered with spots. Charlie directed the audience to blow on the magic wand and on the handkerchief.
"You have been fantastic and have done a great job," Charlie said, as he displayed his spot-free wand and handkerchief.
Charlie is one of two brothers who perform at a variety of functions. Charlie seems to be his "stage name." He is actually Danny, a senior at SUNY at Buffalo and a volunteer firefighter and certified emergency medical technician. His brother Joey could not come to this performance so we had Charlie without Checkers. Joey is a high school senior and a member of the fire department in their community.
After the performance, the audience enjoyed cake and apple cider with Charlie and some of the staff of the Grand Island Memorial Library.