Magician wows Texas Zoo crowd (video)

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

April 6, 2013 at 4:03 p.m.
Updated April 5, 2013 at 11:06 p.m.

The Texas Zoo was something new for 8-year-old Marcus Sweet.

He anticipated the monkeys, the birds and, of course, the tigers - but a magician - well, that's unlike anything he ever expected to see.

The Round Rock resident was visiting Victoria for the first time with his mother, Tonita, who also did not expect to see a magic show right next to a squawking peacock.

"This is just an added bonus," his mother said right before Derek McKee appeared on stage as part of the second annual Victoria TX Independent Film Festival.

This wasn't Marcus' first time seeing a magician, but it was his first time being a magician's kid assistant - or Derek McKee Jr., as the magician called him.

The trick began with a simple dollar being torn into pieces. All the pieces were thrown onto the stage, save one, which Marcus held on to as McKee did another trick.

At the end of the show, Marcus was called back on stage, where McKee sliced a lemon and found the other pieces fully intact - except for the piece Marcus held on to.

"Magic comes from everywhere," McKee told the audience, flashing his pearly white smile.

McKee was in Victoria for the first film festival and hopes to keep returning each year with more slight-of-hand trickery.

"Seeing the joy of a kid's face right after they see a magic trick is what I do my job for," McKee said. "It's just so gratifying to fool somebody."

McKee continued his tricks, making a banana disappear into a bandana and using illusion art with several aluminum rings.

"When I was a kid, I wasn't the best at basketball or soccer or football or any sports," McKee said. "So really, I didn't have anything to make me stand out until I started magic."

Tara Benek's 4-year-old son, Connor, enjoyed all the tricks, especially the dollar that was restored and found in a lemon.

Chances are, he'll begin looking for dollars in lemons, which he shouldn't be doing, McKee joked.

"It was indeed fun," Connor's mother said. "It's nice to have something to do. Anything helps."



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