Petrick and Mia Krejcik have dazzled crowds around the world for more than 20 years with their original magic tricks and shows. And, it was their use of magic tricks that helped them escape from Communist Czechoslovakia to freedom.
"They were first going to run the gate in Czechoslovakia. They were young and they had just gotten married," Russ Tollison, the president of the CSRA Magic Club said.
He has known the duo for three years and now maintains their Web site. He also books many of their shows and brought them to perform and teach workshops at Woodlawn Baptist Church last week.
"At the time they approached the border gate (to escape), there were a lot of people around, making it less likely that they would be shot."
The Krejciks got in line to go through the gate and began performing for the guards. They presented their expired visas to the guards. Mr. Krejcik proceeded to show him more magic tricks and the guard's watch, gun and their visas disappeared.
"I was inspired by people in East Germany who built hot air balloons and created all kinds of things to escape over the border," Mr. Krejciks said with a thick Czech accent. "I had even designed a special car that I could lie down in and was partly bulletproof."
No shots were fired as they explained to the "very nice guard" that they had a very important magic show on the other side of the border. After giving the border guard back his watch and his gun, the couple crossed the border as the guard looked the other way, and they never returned.
Now American citizens, the duo retells this part of their lives in the magic show, dressing up a member of the audience in a Czechoslovakian border guard uniform and re-enacting the scene as a part of their routine.
"(Escaping) was a very scary thing to do. For a long time, we didn't talk about it. We just added it to our show about seven years ago," Mr. Krejcik said.
The pair of traveling magicians is now based out of Las Vegas and Mr. Tollison does much of their booking when he's not busy as an air traffic controller at Bush Field.
"They became real good friends of mine since they had computer problems and that's one of the things I work on," Mr. Tollison said. "Petrick is also an inventor of magic tricks, so many of the things that you will see at their shows will be things that he has invented himself."
The CSRA Magic Club and Woodlawn Baptist Church sponsored them for the Woodlawn shows.
"I hope that people will have lots of fun at the shows and get a little education that this is the greatest country in the world, this America. We are very proud to be Americans and people here don't know how lucky they are to be free," Mr. Krejcik said, just prior to performing.
"They are incredible," Mr. Tollison said. "It is like a good meal that is prepared right in front of you. Magic is a gift."
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