I first saw Tom Mullica perform on TV in the UK back in 1990 on “The Best of Magic”. Before he’d even opened his mouth, I knew there was going to be something brilliant about this guy. He just looks – and I mean this in the best possible way – a bit *weird*. In the show, two audience members sat at a bar acting as customers, while Tom was behind the bar.
He sipped on his drink, then took a bite of the lemon slice that was in it. When he started to talk, a couple of lemon pips started to fall from his mouth as he chewed on the slice. And they kept falling. And falling. And falling. It was hilarious – but not as hilariously insane as the magic that followed, most memorably the trick that made him famous with cigarettes.
Tom opened and ran “The Tom-Foolery Magic Bar” in Atlanta, Georgia where he performed from 1976 until 1987 – hence the bar set-up on the TV show. I can’t do justice to his famous cigarette routines in words, so I’ll leave you to watch it for yourself. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
What’s Tom Mullica up to now?
Tom gave up magic several years ago, and has been touring with his tribute act to Red Skelton for the last few years. He was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2010. Thankfully, he made a full recovery and is now completely cancer-free.
This year, he returned to magic. Sadly, I never got to see Tom perform in his home environment of the Tom-Foolery, but I heard rumours recently that he’s looking for investment to recreate the famous venue in Vegas. Let’s hope it happens!