Professional Magician Mike Bliss Fast Facts
Age: 43 years old
Wife: Celeste, married 21 years
Children: Zachary (19), Stephen (18), Hallie (15), Joshua (12) and Kendall (11)
Hometown: Grew up in Carthage, Missouri
Branson, Missouri, Show: Headlining on the Showboat Branson Belle; has been in Branson 25 years
Annual Performances: 250 shows in Branson and 75 shows across the country and on cruise ships
Quotable: “Of course, growing up in the early 1980s, David Copperfield was the magic icon on TV. I loved his stuff!”
There’s Not Any ‘Hocus Pocus’ with Magician Mike Bliss
You could say well-known professional magician Mike Bliss, who headlines a show in Branson, Missouri, wasn’t ‘tricking’ anyone when he figured out at an early age magic thrilled him immensely, and he’d like to pursue it as a career.
“I was three-and-a-half years old at a preschool party and saw someone cut a string in half and restore it,” Bliss recalls. “I remember thinking, ‘That’s cool! You’re not supposed to be able to do that!’
“I went home and asked my parents how it was done. Since they didn’t know, they took me to the library. That’s what made me learn to read.
“I’d swap out magic books for months and ended up doing magic for my own fifth birthday party. I’m a twin, so it was his birthday party, too. And, before you ask, no, we didn’t look anything alike, so that didn’t help me with the magic.”
As for training that helped develop the skills to become a successful magician, throughout his entire school career – from elementary to junior high and senior high, as well as college – Bliss was involved in a wide-range of extra-curricular activities that proved beneficial.
“I didn’t have much money when I was 4, 5, 6, 7 … I’d practice a lot of close-up magic; card tricks, rope, coins, etc.,” Bliss remembers. “I got involved in community theatre when I was in second grade and played all the sports growing up. When I was practicing sports, it increased my skills in magic with all the eye-hand coordination, speed and strength.
“I started playing the drums/trap-set in sixth grade, which helped out even more with my timing and full-body coordination. I was also dancing in musicals from grade school through high school, then received a musical theatre degree from College of the Ozarks.
“All the stage time, even though I couldn’t practice/perform magic full time during college, was one of the best things for my career. I know how to work and move with spectators I bring up.
“In my private shows, I typically perform about an hour. I start with a professional voiceover intro with music and do a 30-second card manipulation where I produce cards from a silk handkerchief and toss them into a small box on a stool.
“As I throw the last fan of cards into the box, I pick up the box and turn it sideways to show there’s no bottom to it and the cards are gone. After that, I go straight into messing with the audience.
“Without going into all the details of my routines, I have lots of fun with the audience. My show is about them, not me. People don’t want to just watch someone do tricks. They want to experience watching their friends, co-workers and family be involved.”
He says, “Since practically in every routine, I use someone from the audience, all the years of acting really help. I love to be in the moment with people. This is one of my specialties that separates me from others.
“The other big thing that separates me from other acts is my pick-pocketing skills with belts, watches, wallets, glasses, etc. I love performing my pick-pocketing routines. I’ve had people come up to me in Branson and say something like, ‘Mike, great to see you! Remember, about 12 years ago, you stole my wife’s watch. She never knew it!’ This helps make me memorable.”
Along with the pick-pocketing, Bliss adds, “I love my original comedy rope tie where I get two ladies on stage. They tie my legs and wrists together. I distract them and they don’t notice I get out of the ropes numerous times right in front of them.
“Lastly, I’ve closed my show for the past 25 years with my unicycle routine. It’s evolved over the years, but it is always fun and a challenge. I finish by jumping rope on the unicycle.”
Bliss enjoys his work greatly and stresses, “I love what I do, traveling part time around the world, yet having a place like Branson to perform regularly because I love having a family.”
Bliss has focused on fun-loving, family-focused entertainment virtually his entire life and will likely continue to do so for many, many years.