Las Vegas Behind the Scenes

Jun 03, 2023 959.3K Views 1.5K Comments

Today we meet up with Murray the Magician, a fascinating character who’s made his life performing on the Vegas strip for decades. Murray brings us into his world and gives us a revealing behind-the-scenes look at what this lifestyle is like.

MURRAY’s shows and YT channels:
https://murraymagic.com
https://www.youtube.com/@magicmurray
https://www.youtube.com/@MurraySawChuck

LEFTY’s show and socials:
https://thevenue.showare.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=27
https://www.youtube.com/user/douglaslef

► Video edited by: Natalia Santenello

♪ upbeat jazz ♪
PETER: All right, guys.
We’re here and we’re gonna meet
Murray the Magician.
Really an interesting character.
I’m excited for this one.
[doorbell rings]
MURRAY: Hello, hello.
PETER: All right, Murray.
-Welcome to Vegas, dude.
How are you?
-Doin’ well, doin’ well.
Thanks for bringing us in here.
-You’re welcome.
C’mon in.
This is my wife, Dani, a showgirl.
I had one of her friends, Analia,
very famous photographer, did that for her.
Just finished doing a shoot for her.
And this bathroom, my wife did,
which I’m pretty proud of.
Um, she did it all herself
and it’s a showgirl bathroom.
So check that out.
So these are original artifacts.
These are original design content
from her show, Jubilee.
She was in Jubilee.
That’s the original playbill
of who’s in that show,
and behind the door if you look,
turn around here,
that’s her last cast photo
when the show closed in Las Vegas.
That was the last Las Vegas
showgirl show ever to happen.
We’re talking a cast of, like, 120 people.
-What do you mean the last showgirl show?
-Well, so in Vegas, people come to Vegas
for the showgirls, right?
-Uh-huh.
-Well…
And this is the feather room
which was a very famous thing
where they kept
all the feathers for the show.
The reason Vegas was Vegas
was because of the fact that
um, the showgirls…
The topless shows, the glitz, the glamor.
-Yeah.
-And that was the last show…
..they ended up having
with all those showgirls.
-Why’d they stop?
-I think it’s the cost, you know?
It took 120 people to do a show.
You know?
-Hmm.
-Nowadays, you can have
Howie Mandel walk on stage
with a bottle of water and a stool.
And you don’t need lights,
the production, anything.
It’s not the same show.
-Like your show we’re going to tonight?
-Yeah, it’s two people,
it’s me and my guest act, Lefty.
You know what I mean?
We have two ushers.
One… you know, one tech.
You know, compared to
just to run Jubilee you’d need
probably 50 technicians
backstage you’d never even know about.
Okay, so how do you feel
about that going away?
Or how does your wife feel?
-Oh, I miss it. We all miss it.
‘Cause to me,
that’s why people come to Vegas.
See that’s the reason Vegas is Vegas.
You know what I mean?
Um, but you gotta change.
You know what I mean?
Like this is a new poster of Dani.
So this is Dani.
So that’s what Dani is now,
she’s the lead dancer for ZZ Top.
She also is the host of a touch burlesque,
and before that she was
the host of Crazy Girls.
So you kind of pivot
or you gotta make changes.
-Is she here?
-Yeah, she’s in bed right now.
But I think she’ll be up sooner or later
and we’ll get her on camera.
-Is that a Vegas story?
You sleep in late obviously
’cause you’re working late at night.
-‘Cause we don’t go to bed
until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning.
When you do a show, like anything,
you can’t just go to bed.
You know what I mean? Because you have
the hype and the adrenaline.
If you work outside for eight hours
you’re tired.
So you probably go to bed pretty quickly
but as an entertainer,
you have that high of everyone loving you,
and the applause, and all that stuff.
-Yeah.
-Very hard to go to bed right away.
So you sit around, have a glass of wine,
or have some friends over,
then you got to bed around 2:00 or 3:00.
-Okay, here’s something from the outside…
-Sure.
-They see magic and an illusionist…
-Yeah.
-What’s the difference?
-It’s all subjective, you know?
-Okay.
-I just say I do tricks for a living.
It’s kind of like Frank Sinatra said
he’s a saloon singer, you know?
But there’s a lot of magicians like,
“I’m an illusionist.”
Illusionists are typically guys
that do props with big things.
-Okay.
-Meaning like when I vanished a train
or when I did something like that.
That would be an illusion
because there’s no way I vanished a train.
You know what I mean?
Like, it’s a skill.
It’s an optical illusion.
Whereas a magic trick can be taking
a coin in one hand and vanishing another,
that’s slight of hand.
So I’m actually doing it within my hands
and making that magical.
So an illusion is something bigger
that takes a lot more.
Lighting, sets, all that stuff.
PETER: So to get this space in Vegas
is not easy, right?
-No, this is a half acre and it’s…
We just got it six months ago.
So we also own a landscaping company,
Dani and I, called Dirt to Dreams.
So our big project now
is to grow grass on this.
As you can see
the seedlings slowly starting to come out.
If you noticed everything here
in this house, at least outside,
feels like you’re in Canada or Vancouver,
where I’m from.
Or Upstate New York where my wife’s from.
She’s from Lake George area.
-Okay.
-So it feels like you’re not in Las Vegas.
Because when you’re
on the Strip every day of your life
it’s kind of nice
to come to this and feel like
you’re not in Vegas for a minute.
We’re 10 minutes away from the Strip.
-You have great shade here.
Nice hammock.
-Aren’t they great? Yeah.
-You were saying over here
you own a landscaping company?
-It’s called Dirt to Dreams.
-How do you manage that too
and do what you’re doing?
-I just don’t sleep. I love working.
I love money, I love working,
I love people.
And, you know, we own a lot of homes
and we had a ranch
growing up in Washington State.
-Okay.
-My parents had, and they loved doing
landscaping, and gardening, and stuff.
So I got that from them.
You know what I mean?
-So to be a magician…
-Yeah.
-Ton of work or do you get to a place
where you’re at now,
you’re almost 50 years old,
you’re super comfortable in your career,
you know what you’re doing,
it’s like clockwork,
it’s not really that challenging?
-It’s not work at all, no.
For me… And I do have a ton of work
’cause I’m lucky.
But I’m also one that, um…
You know, people always say,
“If you can…”
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
right?
But people always forget the other part.
If you can work 24 hours a day,
7 days a week.
-You can?
-You need to.
If you want to have a dream.
You need to I think.
You know what I mean?
Like people…
These kids go online now,
and I say kids ’cause I can say that now.
They go online, see Kim Kardashian,
see Justin Bieber, they see Paris Hilton,
they see everybody
or these Instagram models,
they go, “They’re hot,
we can just post it and get…”
but even the models
who are posting these hot pictures,
they gotta do photo shoots,
they gotta make themselves look well.
-Right.
-They don’t just don’t
accidentally take one photo.
They get the deal with a bikini company,
or they get their hair extensions,
call it 800 bucks,
and they get the…
Just even, look, for that one darn photo,
looks unbelievably…
It takes a lot of time to look that…
Whether you like it or not,
but there’s work in it.
It just doesn’t randomly happen.
-Right.
-You know this ’cause you
do social media like I do.
You know what I mean?
It looks like it though, right?
-Of course it does.
That’s the illusion, you know?
-Even the content I don’t like…
-Uh-huh.
-I respect the fact that they’re putting in
all that work to make it and do it.
Because there’s a lot to it.
-Yes, 100%.
So that’s one of those things
where people don’t realize that.
So I always tell people, you know,
they’re like,
“You just never stop working.”
I say, “Yeah, but I love having this.”
You know, I like…
You know what I mean?
I work hard for what I do.
You know what I mean?
-Yeah.
Nothing was handed to me.
You know what I mean?
I was raised really well
and so was my wife
but it takes a lot of time
and effort to have this stuff, you know?
Like anybody.
Hey, Smudge, how ya doing?
You want to say hi to everybody?
This is our other rescue pup, Smudge.
We call her smudge because she has
a little smudge mark on her back.
And this is Dani’s favorite I think.
Don’t say it, shh, I know, I know.
The other dog didn’t hear that.
-Smudge has a reverse fang.
-Yeah, that’s the best part.
That’s the best part.
So also I gotta show you…
-Smudge, have a look in the camera.
There we go. Oh yeah.
-Oh, that’s my girl.
Gotta rub it for good luck.
Gotta rub it for good luck
And she’s awake.
My wife just woke up.
This is Dani, everybody.
The showgirl, we’re showing
all your pictures and stuff.
PETER: Dani, you give your husband flowers,
that’s a nice twist.
I like it.
MURRAY: Oh, is that for me?
DANI: I’m bringing these flowers actually.
I’m bringing these to rehearsal.
-Good for you, smart.
See, that’s my girl. [chuckling]
-So how is it being married
to a fellow entertainer, performer?
Does that make you understand
each other better would you say, or…
-Yeah, absolutely, definitely better,
and then also sometimes annoying.
[all laughing]
PETER: Right, right.
-You’re married, you know.
-I love you. [kisses]
-I love you too.
MURRAY: This is really cool.
This chandelier I got
from Jerry Lee Lewis’ Scotch ’80s home.
The booth is from the Dunes Hotel.
Which is a very famous hotel
in the ’70s and ’60s in Vegas.
It’s now where the Belagio is.
Oh, this chandelier is super cool too.
Right there behind you.
-Oh, yeah.
-That chandelier is actually from
Frank Sinatra’s suite at the Riviera.
So before they imploded that hotel
that was the chandelier
before you went into his double door suite
at the Riv, that was hanging in there.
-In the world of entertainment,
which you’ve been in
pretty much your whole adult life…
-Yeah.
-I mean this is everything to you, right?
-Everything, I love it.
I mean I can’t believe as a magician…
People always say to me,
“Do you gamble?”
you know, “Do you gamble?”
I said, “No, I actually don’t.”
I probably spent a hundred bucks
in my whole 21 years here.
‘Cause I’ve been on the Strip
for 21 years now.
-Okay.
-And I don’t gamble.
Then I laugh and I go,
“I chose magic as a career.”
I’ve been gambling all my life.
I mean magic is not the career you go,
“I want to make a lot of money,
be successful.”
Magic’s right down there
by clown, juggler, jester.
I mean if I wanted to make money
I’d be a lawyer, doctor,
firefighter, marine biologist.
Things I wanted to be
if it didn’t work out, you know?
And then there’s a little patio here.
‘Cause it’s obviously a custom home
designed by a guy named Iwan
and I don’t know exactly who
the whole builder was but it was…
This random patio out here
which is kind of fun.
You know it’s a good place to do a speech.
Little, you know, tea party or something.
If you want to talk to the neighbors.
[laughing]
-Are we driving that Downtown today?
-We can take that down…
..or we have my Corvette in there.
So this is the car…
My parents brought me home
from the hospital in that in 1973.
My dad bought that secondhand in ’71.
It’s a ’69 Grand Prix.
In ’73 they actually brought me home
from the hospital in that.
Isn’t that crazy?
This is where the magic happens.
Sorry the bed’s not made.
That’s the way we are.
And then this is her closet
and of course it’s massive.
She can have ’cause she’s the girl.
-Is she okay with filming this?
-She’s fine, yeah.
-All right.
-Yeah.
So that’s all her… [laughs] stuff.
So of course we get the small closet
’cause, you know, we’re guys.
It’s what we do.
And this here is a white tuxedo.
Really well-made.
From Jack Kodell,
very famous bird magician.
He was the magician that invented
producing a bird on stage.
So if you ever see any magician
produce birds,
this is the man that invented that
way back in the ’30s and ’40s.
This is his actual tuxedo he used to wear.
He wore this at the Hippodrome in England.
And this is Jerry Lewis’ outfit.
This is his… Look at the label on that.
That cool? From 1965.
That’s his tuxedo shirt.
-“Sunset Strip, 1965.”
-Yep, that’s his tailor. Yep.
I’m such a fan
of old school Hollywood, right?
So Liberace, his home used to have
a mailbox that was shaped like a piano.
He had a pool in Beverly Hills
that was shaped like a piano.
Elvis Presley had a guitar,
things like that.
So my mailbox,
we got two rabbit ears sticking out of it.
See over there?
And then of course we’re both entertainers.
So for Valentine’s Day this year,
that’s my wife.
That’s a sculpture of my wife
and then if you look
in the arch of her back
the guy who designed it, I had him…
That is her actual profile
in the arch of her back
of the side of her face.
In that little arch.
Isn’t that funny?
[car idling]
[brakes squealing]
-Guess we’re taking the Corvette.
-Murray, something tells me
you’re not getting the latest Hyundai.
-I’m not getting the latest Hyundai
and I’m not gonna get a Prius.
Just so you know. [chuckles]
I love saving the environment
but not with these cars.
[idling]
[grunts]
MURRAY: Made it.
Ready to go?
PETER: Yeah, look at this.
-Cool, right?
-Wow.
What year is this?
-This is a ’73.
-’73.
-Yeah, year I was born.
-So in ’73 it was just lap belt?
-It was just a lap belt
and a lot of praying.
[both laughing]
-Feels a bit head to the dash.
-Exactly.
MURRAY: So down here on the left
you’ll see Michael Jackson’s former home.
He actually owned in Las Vegas.
He loved Vegas.
He loved Magic.
Um, my guest act, Lefty
that you might want to talk to,
this is the back of
Michael Jackson’s old house
and my guest act actually performed
at Neverland Ranch
for Michael Jackson
twice in his career, Lefty.
So you’ll get a chance to meet him.
But this is the house
he actually owned right here.
Some of these homes
are gorgeous around here.
I don’t even know where the house is.
So many trees.
He loves trees obviously.
-Oh wow, beautiful.
-To the right here, a dear friend,
Phil Soussan lives here.
He’s the bass player for Ozzy Osbourne
and a bunch of bands, phenomenal.
And this is brand new, just came out,
and just a beautiful work of art
and they have like a nine car garage.
And, like, there’s eight there,
one in the middle and then another like…
It’s ridiculous the size
of some of these homes.
-Do you know who lives there?
-No idea, but I should become their friend.
[laughing]
PETER: Did your parents have a big part
in you deciding this profession?
-Yes and no.
My dad was a musician growing up.
He cut one record, I think he got
an opportunity at a talent show
to get a record deal.
So he got one little album
when he came up.
And he also got drafted
for the Canadian Mounties.
Which was a baseball team in Vancouver.
-Okay.
-And he had that opportunity, and his dad,
who had a real job on the railway
said, “Hey, if you want to have a family,
want to have a good life…”
“..get a real job.’
Which is railway, telephone company,
power, post office, government,
because at that time it was a perfect job
because you made money,
when you retired
they gave you a retirement plan.
-Yeah.
-And so if you had that job for 30 years…
..you never had to look or stress
for work in your life again.
So my dad gave up on baseball,
gave up on music,
and he went and got a real job.
At 18 years old, after he graduated,
he started shoveling coal
into locomotive engines.
He worked the car supervisor, and he worked
all the other engine jobs
within the railway,
and so did his uncle,
and his brother, and everybody else.
And I was the only one
that didn’t go to the railway, you know?
-So were they okay with that
or were you pressured to be in it?
They were okay with it
but they were like,
“Oh, it’s a phase.” you know?
“He’s doing his thing.”
-He’s a teenager.
-Okay.
-And then they said,
“You should go to school for something.”
-So I went to school for getting a degree
in radio television broadcasting.
-Okay.
-I figured well at least
that’s entertainment.
-Sure.
-But it’s still a real degree.
‘Cause you can’t get a degree in magic.
Then at that point
I was already doing birthday parties,
and I was doing shows
in Vancouver at the age of 17, 18.
I was already making
about 3,000 to 5,000 a month doing magic.
-And so…
-When you were 17, 18 years old?
-Yeah, I had a Yellow Pages ad.
I took other magicians out.
I’d make 10%, you know, all this stuff.
-Okay.
-And I thought well I’m already doing a job
that I shouldn’t be successful at
because in the “real world” of jobs
magic shouldn’t be successful.
And if you’re in that
“real world” mentality…
‘Cause that’s not a real job, right?
Which I’m still doing it so obviously…
Or being a YouTuber, influencer,
not a real job.
-Sure, sure.
-Tell that to my bank account.
Tell the mortgage company.
You know what I mean?
-Right, right.
-Or my family.
And you love what you do like I do.
-Yeah, yeah.
-So I’d rather do this every day,
and not go to work 52 weeks a year,
and love what I do, and make money.
So every day’s a vacation
and we’re getting paid for it, you know?
It’s pretty cool even though
we work our butts off, you know?
-So you’re almost 50
but do you see yourself doing this
for many, many years?
-Sure, I’m not gonna…
I’ll die on stage, you know?
MURRAY: As long as people
will show up to my shows.
-Yeah, yeah.
-It’s so important.
If they’re done seeing me,
I’m done seeing them, that’s fair.
-As a performer,
is there ever a worry of that?
-Oh, 100%.
I think we’re always worried about that.
I’m always worried about
is somebody going to show up to my show?
You know what I mean?
Is someone going to be there?
You know?
Like we were just talking,
you know, when I tour,
I can sell out 1,100 seats easily.
You know what I mean?
When I travel.
In Vegas to sell 1,100 seats every night
when you’re not, you know,
Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, or George Strait,
that’s not that easy because the fact
is that Vegas has 76 shows a night.
-A night? Oh, wow.
-76 shows a night.
-So, so much competition?
-Well, so much competition
and then there’s only so many people
that come to Vegas
and they only have a couple evenings here.
So who do they go and see?
♪ mellow jazz ♪
MURRAY: That’s me.
What’s up guys? How are you?
-We knew that was you.
-You’re good?
-What was your name again?
-I’m Murray.
-Murray, hi I’m Ryan.
-How you guys doing? Pleased to meet you.
You working here?
-Yeah, we manage back and forth.
-Oh, no way. That’s great.
-Um, Pawn Stars you’re always on, right?
-Yes.
-Yeah, you guys wanna see a cool trick
right now since you’re hanging out?
Everyone’s always trying to do something…
This is a really,
obviously serious sword, right?
So I thought I’d try something
a little more death-defying
just for you guys.
You guys look so dressed up.
So I’m gonna try to swallow this sword
just for you guys, wanna see this?
-Yeah, okay.
-It’s ridiculous but yeah.
How you guys doing back there, good?
-Wonderful, man.
-You want to see me swallow this sword?
WOMAN: Yeah, I’ve seen you on TV before.
-Have you? Well thanks for watching.
I’m hard to hide I know.
So check this out, watch this. All right?
[groaning]
[man chuckling]
[sword sliding]
-Wow… [grunting]
-What do you think? C’mon now.
[groaning and laughing]
I’m not that smooth you guys, c’mon.
[laughing and clapping]
You want to see a cool card trick
while you’re hanging out with me?
-Yeah.
-All right, let’s show something.
Since you’re hanging out.
We’re shooting a little fun thing
for YouTube as well, so…
So you guys gamble?
-Yeah, every day, man.
-Do you? I know.
You gamble? What’s your name?
-I donate a lot of money to Las Vegas.
Do you? Well, we thank you.
We thank you for that.
[cards shuffling]
-My name’s Judy.
-So Judy, we’re gonna try a card trick.
You and I, Okay?
You’re gonna be the magician, okay?
So first of all,
come over here for a second.
This is your audience.
Stand here, face the audience.
This is you. You’re the audience
-Okay.
-Where you from, Judy?
-Milwaukee.
-Milwaukee? I’m gonna play there next week
in the Pride Festival.
-Really?
-I bring my whole show there…
…for the Pride Festival.
So it’s a regular deck of cards, right?
-Yeah.
I want you to pick any card you want.
Take any one you want out.
Great, and show them, don’t show me.
Make sure that I do not see it.
Show them.
-Gotcha.
-Got it locked in? You guys got it?
-Okay, say stop whenever you want.
-Mmkay, stop.
-Put the card down.
Now you know what the card is, yes?
-Yes.
-So we’re gonna try something,
you’re the magician…
So face them, all right?
I’m gonna stand here.
And what’s gonna happen
is you’re gonna take the cards.
Hold them, okay?
-Okay.
-Give them a cut
and mix them up a little bit, okay?
Mix them up really good, all right?
Mix them up really, really good.
Good, now flip them that way.
What you’re gonna do is
I’m gonna hold my hand here.
You’re gonna flip the cards
one at a time onto my hand.
As you flip them you’re gonna try
to see if you can find your card
before I say it, okay?
So as you flip it over, I’ll go,
“That’s your card.”
But I want you to say it before me,
but smile big, show business.
They’re looking at you,
you’re the magician now, right?
-Okay.
-Keep going.
If they drop on the floor,
don’t worry about it.
Keep going, nice and fast,
quicker, yep, nice and fast.
Very good.
Yep.
Mm-hmm.
Now none of these are your’s right?
-No.
Okay, all right, keep going.
Just checking.
[chuckling]
Let’s have a look, hold on.
Three?
-No.
Okay.
[laughing]
-Now wait a minute, not the King…
The King… No?
-No.
-Okay.
-Oh.
[all laughing]
-Yeah.
This is your card? Yeah, this is your card.
-Yes.
-Thanks for being a good sport.
I’ll show you a real trick,
I’ll do a proper trick.
Pick any card you want.
-This one right here.
-Memorize and look at it. Lock it in.
[cards shuffling]
-Yes?
-Yeah.
-All right, place it in the deck.
You know what the card is, right?
-Yes.
-Don’t forget the card.
-I’m not forgetting…
-All right, so we’re gonna try something.
If you watch really carefully
we can cut the deck a few times.
Once, twice, three times like this.
-Okay.
-How you guys doing? You good?
[cards shuffling]
So if you watch with me,
cards not on the bottom, right?
-No.
-Now your card was probably…
It’s not this card is it?
Not the eight of spades?
-No.
-No.
But if we go like this, watch.
Did you see that?
-Yeah.
It’s gonna jump into the air, watch this.
-Okay.
[card flips]
-That your card?
-Yes.
-See, that’s how we do it.
[applause]
That’s how we do it, girl.
[laughter]
MURRAY: Thanks for hanging out you guys,
get inside, you must be cooking in that.
You guys wanna see a trick?
-Hell yeah.
-Come here, I’ll show you a trick.
You’re the groom?
You’re getting married?
-Yeah.
-Dude, congratulations.
When are you getting married?
-On Sunday in Atlanta, yeah.
-First marriage?
-Yes.
-Good for you. I don’t know
I’ve been married a few times, boys.
I can say that.
[all laughing]
Hopefully it’s your last.
You want to see one quick trick?
-Yeah.
-Something fun, all right.
So here we go, pick any card you want.
It’s totally up to you.
That one? All right, great.
Excellent, so watch carefully.
Show your boys.
Show your friends, show these two.
Make sure they know what that is.
Got it?
Say stop whenever you want.
-Stop.
-Put the card down.
All right, now the card that you chose
isn’t a Joker is it or an instruction card?
-No.
-You’re sure, right?
So we cut the deck
two or three times like this.
Okay.
And you can mix the cards up a little
but I’ve kinda learned this.
You can kinda flip cards around like this.
Flip ’em like this.
Flip ’em like this.
Kinda mix ’em back and forth, right?
Take a card like so,
put it anywhere in the deck.
You can cut it in the middle like that.
You can go like this.
Watch really carefully, you go like this.
I’ll try to find your card.
So it’s kinda half and half, right?
If I go like this,
and flip those over to here.
Flip this here.
Flip this here, cut this in half, right?
Go like this.
Watch.
What was your card?
-Seven of diamonds.
-Seven of diamonds.
So they’re all back in order, right?
-Get the f*ck outta here.
-Is that your card, buddy?
That means good luck.
It means your marriage is gonna last.
You’re very lucky.
Congratulations, you guys.
Thanks for hanging out with me.
-[laughing] Get the f*ck outta here, man.
-Help me do this one trick
on camera for you as well.
I’m carrying this stupid thing around
and it’s a pain up my a**, dude.
Let me set this down.
-That is… That is amazing.
That is so much skill.
-It’s fun stuff.
-Or illusion… So much illusion.
-I guess so. Yeah, yeah.
-You got me.
-Good, perfect. [laughs]
-I was looking so closely.
-Yeah, that’s the idea.
See that’s the difference.
So that was slight of hand and magic
and then illusion is something like
my train vanish on America’s Got Talent.
-Yes.
-Where I said I would make it vanish.
I did make it vanish
but I didn’t just snap my fingers.
We obviously had some skill
but it wasn’t using slight of hand
’cause I can’t put it in my hands.
So it’s like this,
this is like slight of hand.
See this pink handkerchief here?
You can see this, yeah?
Get it on camera well.
Go like this… [clicks]
See that’s how you do it right there.
Welcome to Vegas, you guys.
[Peter chuckling]
-I remember the train disappearance
that you did.
I remember seeing that.
-Yeah, isn’t that crazy?
-That was… You obviously
can’t tell what happened but…
-No but it took a lot of people
and we had that idea
with the train trick, we…
I did a trick where
I turned a girl into a tiger.
That was my episode before that
and they said,
“What can you do to top that?”
’cause that’s what producers do.
-Right.
-So we were sitting
at the Ivy in Beverly Hills.
I wanted to go to the Ivy ’cause
all the famous people go to the Ivy, right?
And I wanted to have a $50 salad.
So I brought my mom and Lefty,
who you’ll see at my show today.
-We’re hanging out,
we’re sitting there, and I said,
“Doug, I don’t know what to do.”
Doug is his real name, he goes by Lefty.
And I said, “What can we do
that tops turning a girl into a tiger?”
He says why don’t you…
Said,
“Why don’t you make a train appear?”
“Like your dad’s train.”
‘Cause he worked for the railway,
they want a sob story
of rags to riches or you
didn’t take your family’s vocation.
-Their path.
-Yeah, exactly.
So they call up, “What are you gonna
do next if you go through?”
-Yeah.
-If I go through
I said I can make a train appear.
So we already did a Ferrari appearance.
How ’bout could you
make a train disappear?
I said, “Yeah, no problem.”
Now I’ve never done it in my life.
I don’t know
what the hell I’m talking about
but I had an idea how to do it.
So I come back home here to Vegas.
I go, “Mom, I gotta find a train.”
“Old train that looks like dad’s.”
So we drove to Boulder City
which is out this way towards Arizona.
-Sure.
-We pull in,
they have an old train yard out there.
A big old train yard.
I go into some logging company’s place,
I meet the guy and go,
“How do you get into
this train storage area?”
He said, “That’s state-owned.
He said, “You know what, I got
the railway ties at the edge of my fence.”
Why don’t you just
hop the railway ties, hop the fence,
And go check out the trains.
See if you see one you like
and see if we can get it home.
I said, “Really?”
So here I am climbing over
a damned fence in Boulder City
Trying to find a train, found one
that’s would be perfect for the show.
Got my guys in.
Anyways, long story short,
literally in six days we figured out
how to get that train lighter,
on that stage in LA, and we rehearsed it
probably for two days straight
in the parking lot.
‘Cause I had no idea
how to make this train disappear.
It was just an idea
I had on a piece of paper.
I hired a very famous illusion designer
named Don Wayne.
He was the guy that invented
the vanishing Statue of Liberty
for David Copperfield.
His vanishing jet,
walking through a wall to China.
A legendary designer.
-Right.
-Passed away now a couple years ago.
I brought him on to help me
and then in 2010 we made a train vanish
in front of 22 million people on TV.
And I’ll never do it again.
That was it. I did it once.
I pulled the cloth.
If you look when I look back, I look back
to make sure it actually vanished,
and the look you see on my face,
I’m so damned happy.
‘Cause I’m like,
“Thank God it’s not there.”
‘Cause if it was there it would be
a funny video as well
but not the way I planned.
-How many are there in the world
making a full-on profession
out of being a magician would you say?
-I think full-time…
Like really full-time,
meaning no other jobs going on?
-Yeah.
I would want to say
maybe 200 people in the whole world.
Like full time meaning
on the Las Vegas Strip don’t forget.
Las Vegas Strip,
there’s only 11 of us on the strip.
Now I say only 11,
to me that’s 10 too many.
You know what I mean?
Because it’s a business, right?
But we’re all different, you know?
You got Copperfield, you got Shin Lim,
you got myself, you got Piff,
you know,
you got Tape Face who’s not a magician
but he’s a phenomenal act.
Um, you know, you have Penn and Teller.
You know what I mean?
David Blaine once in a while
down the street, you know?
And so when you have all these guys
performing like this, you know…
If you’re gonna see a magic show,
you’re not gonna see 10
unless you’re really a magic buff.
You’re gonna see one and then you’ll see
a Cirque show or see whatever.
-But that, in the whole world
you think 200?
-I’m saying 200,
you know, maybe I’m way off,
but I know there’s
a lot of magicians out there.
Meaning, like, they’re school teachers
and on the weekends
they do a kid’s birthday party.
I’m talking people that
that’s all they do for a living is that.
You know what I mean?
-Right.
Is it super hard
to get into these days for young people?
-I don’t think so. I think it’s easier
but I think they’re also turned off.
‘Cause here’s the difference,
when I grew up
there was no computers.
I feel like, “Oh, back in the old days.”
..but it’s true.
-Right.
I had to read a book from the library.
The book I read was
Mark Wilson’s Course in magic.
I still highly recommend it.
It has illustrations and words.
I learn by visuals, I don’t learn by words.
-Okay.
-Nowadays online
you can watch a trick, right? Online.
They can also tell you how to do it online,
and all of a sudden,
you look at how it’s done, you go,
“Oh, that’s it? That’s easy.
I don’t want to be a magician.”
So for me, in a book
you’d get the trick going,
turning a coin into a flower.
I went, “Holy sh*t, that’s amazing.”
Turn a coin into a flower?
And you would read
how to turn a coin into a flower.
-Right.
-By the time you finished reading…
..how to turn a coin into a flower
you would already have learned it,
and taught yourself, and go,
“Wow, that is cool.”
Like, that looks really cool
versus judging the whole thing
within two minutes.
That somebody already put out there,
shows you how it’s done.
-Yep.
-Then you’ve seen how it’s done,
they’ve taught you and you kinda go,
“Meh, don’t really like it.”
So that’s the difference.
-But does that annoy you magicians
that people can show
how to do these tricks online?
-Yeah, I think it’s over done.
It’s over saturated.
I mean I think it’s a lot overdone
with all that.
You know what I mean?
But the problem is it’s the internet.
It’s the way it is.
So the idea is to keep beating the internet
and creating tricks that are more unique,
interesting, and also
create the brand for yourself.
You know what I mean?
So… What’s that?
-Oh, yeah that’s right.
There I am again.
Look at that. That’s my second job.
No, it’s not.
[chuckling]
-Okay, so it keeps you
on your toes then basically?
-Well yeah.
Because, you know, like you said, um…
I guess we’ll take the stairs, um…
But you look at people, the reason
11 magicians can work on the Strip
is the same reason that there’s
20 singers a night in Vegas as well.
‘Cause if you like Taylor Swift
you’re probably gonna like Bruno Mars.
You might like George Strait.
Just ’cause you like one doesn’t mean…
-Yeah.
-So Shin Lim, and Piff,
and David Copperfield, Penn and Teller,
all these guys,
they have their own brands, you know?
And the way to really make it in Vegas
is to work really hard
and not just do tricks.
Anyone can do tricks.
I can teach you three tricks right now
that you can do.
Be impressive but they’re just tricks
until you put your Peter spin on it.
You know what I mean?
-Yeah.
‘Cause then I want to come see Peter,
not a trick.
So when people come to see me,
or Piff, or David Copperfield,
they’re coming to see Copperfield.
They’re coming to see Piff.
They’re coming to see Murray.
So all you guys
have a super strong identity?
-Yes, well that’s the idea I think.
I think that goes for anybody.
Even if you look at singers.
Like I was talking to you in the car
that my wife loves Lizzo.
I love the fact that she’s…
She’s a healthy woman, right?
-Yep.
-She owns her look.
She plays the flute.
She writes her own music
and her lyrics are pretty damned good.
You know what I mean?
But she’s not your typical
Whitney Houston, right?
She’s not your typical…
You know what I mean?
-Yeah.
-So I love that.
You know, in this day and age
I think there’s more of that around
and I love it.
I think it’s great.
PETER: You do prep work
before every night?
-Yeah, getting things ready
for the big show.
I have some people
set some stuff like Lefty.
He sets a lot of my act up
but other stuff I handle personally.
I still have to deal with myself
that way if it does go to sh*t, I know.
[laughs]
-Does it ever go to sh*t?
-Oh sure.
But the audience
won’t know though, you know?
I’ll know.
-Oh, really? You cover it?
-Yeah, there’s always a way in or out.
You know what I mean?
So…
-Can I step in here?
-Yeah, you can come on in.
-You know this girl here?
-That is Abby.
She’s in Fantasy,
the other show across the street.
Uh, the number one top burlesque
topless show in Vegas.
-Do you know all of these girls here?
-I know all these girls, yeah. That’s…
That’s Yessi, she’s the headline captain.
And then we got Mariah,
she’s the co-executive producer.
She’s been there for a long, long time.
And we’ve got Skyler, she’s phenomenal.
Her… Her, um…
She’s now moved
to a different show in Las Vegas
and she now… Her whole family’s a legacy.
Her grandmother, her mother, and her
are all showgirls in Vegas.
They were all…
Her grandmother I believe
was one of the first Folies dancers
here back in the ’50s and ’60s.
-Do you see a lot of that here?
-Some of it. Not a lot but some of it.
Yeah, it’s more common here because
you kind of follow…
Like what I should have done in my world.
I should have been working for the railway.
But some people go off the beaten track,
but most people,
sometimes if it’s in your lineage,
you’ll be…
-Stay in it, yeah.
Okay.
So yeah, the girls are awesome.
They’re amazing.
They’re super cool chicks
and just really down to…
And the thing is
they have really talented dancers.
I mean they’ve trained in ballet,
jazz, modern, all that stuff.
So, you know, a lot of people think
a topless dancer in Vegas
is equal to…
We get that stripper mentality
or that, you know…
That go-go dancer.
And all these girls
are all classically trained.
So it just has the allure of being topless
and if you got it, why not flaunt it?
Doesn’t last forever.
[laughs]
Jesus.
-What about when
you’re single in this world?
Is it a…
-Single in Vegas?
-It’s a pretty active place?
-Yeah.
Single in Vegas is fun too.
I mean Lefty’s…
He’s single right now.
He’s very legible right now.
Lefty’s very legible.
Nice house, nice car, no kids.
-I’m eligible, not legible.
-That too.
-He’s legible too.
-My handwriting is…
-He’s legible. He’s legible.
He’s very legible.
PETER: Actually I don’t know,
his handwriting’s a little…
MURRAY: Sloppy, I know.
Well he was gonna be a doctor too.
That was his other option too, so…
[chuckling]
-Have you been in this world
most of your life?
-Yeah, I started, I did my first show
when I was four years old
for my pre-kindergarten class.
-Oh, wow.
-I had a red and green silk
that were tied together.
I passed it through my hands three times
it turned to a red and blue silk.
I bowed, got no reaction,
and ran over to my mom, and started crying.
[cards shuffling]
When I was four and my brother was six
my mom said to my dad,
“You should really think of an activity
you can do with your sons…”
“..that’s, like, your thing.”
-Okay.
-So it didn’t start out as a career at all.
We did it for our grandmother’s birthday.
We did a show at Christmas.
So we would do,
like, a little 20 minute show.
I don’t think my parents thought
I would go on…
I went to an Ivy League school, college.
University of Pennsylvania,
Wharton Business School
where they taught no magic.
Um…
But yeah, I don’t think they thought
I was gonna go on to do magic.
It was more something to do,
fun with the boys.
I was always a very visual person
and I was good a puzzles.
So I would always look at magic as
trying to figure out a puzzle.
So as I got older I started to look
at the magic trick as
my dad would show me the trick
and then I would say,
“Don’t tell me how you did it.”
“Let me try to figure it out on my own.”
and sometimes I figured out
a different method than the actual method.
-So true passion work would you say?
-Absolutely, yeah, yeah, yeah.
-Right now?
-Absolutely. If I didn’t get paid,
and sometimes I don’t… [laughs]
..I would still do it.
MURRAY: That’s my boy.
PETER: Murray, what’s going on?
[Murray laughing]
-Because I truly love it
and I feel like if you’re not
a fellow entertainer
or you’re not in entertainment
you can’t relate to the energy
you get from a live audience.
You know, different than
an actor who performs in film.
He films the movie for three months,
they spend a year producing, editing it,
then it gets released,
and then you hear the feedback.
With a live performer I go out on stage
and I know right away [snaps]
whether they like me or not.
‘Cause it’s not whether we think it’s funny
or we think it’s impressive,
it’s the audience.
-Okay, so can you compare that to,
say, live music?
You see your favorite band, right?
And they have their songs
that everyone knows and loves,
then they produce a new album,
nobody cares about it in the beginning.
-Yes.
-So they always have to
go back to their most popular.
Is that painful though
in the creative process?
Having to go back sometimes?
To the routine.
-No, I think that…
But I also think you are where you are
because of the fans.
Like, if you’re a famous musician
I always say if Madonna goes on tour
you want to hear “Like a Virgin”.
You want to hear “Vogue”.
Now I know she’s probably tired of doing it
but that’s what the fans want to do.
-Yeah, I was always wondering that.
Do you think creators are really tired
of going back to what they’ve done
a million times?
-I think some get tired of it
but then you have to figure out,
okay, am I gonna do
“Like a Virgin” acoustic for the tour?
So now it’s a fresh take even though
I’m giving the people what they want
and they’re hearing “Like a Virgin”,
it’s an acoustic, stripped-down version
as opposed to the dance version.
[blowing up balloon]
-It’s a living.
PETER: So you came up with all of this?
-Uh-huh.
Yep, a lot of these ideas though,
somebody else has the idea of a trick
and then I see the idea,
they sell me the rights to it,
and then I take it,
and then I try to make it my own.
-Oh wow, you’re buying
the rights to this idea?
-Sure, yeah.
-How do they protect rights to ideas?
-They don’t, you know?
You just have to be honorable
or if you’re professional like we are,
we are try to stay honorable.
You know what I mean?
-‘Cause it would be
the biggest lame move, right?
-Totally, yeah, when
you’re just starting out, or you don’t…
Or want to be famous, or whatever,
you can hide because nothing’s effective.
But when you’re on late night talk shows
or programs with tricks that people invent
and it’s theirs, and you’re stealing it,
it’s a huge problem, you know?
♪ lounge music ♪
This is the stuff most people
never get to see, so…
-Yeah, this behind-the-scenes, huh?
Do you get butterflies at all
anymore or no?
-No.
No, but I do get anxious or excited
if I’ve got a new trick that I’m doing.
I’ll be excited to do it.
Or if I have someone in the audience
that’s… that’s well-known.
That I want to impress, you know?
Or could even be my wife,
Dani sometimes, you know?
‘Cause you want to look good
for the missus, right?
PETER: Guys under 30, magicians…
LEFTY: Yeah?
-Are they gonna be doing props like this?
-A lot of them are doing
tricks specifically for the camera.
For YouTube, for Facebook, for TikTok
and the danger is that
when they get a call for a live show
they don’t know how to
perform for an audience.
They’re used to performing for one person
which is the camera seeing them
as opposed to if you’re in an audience
you have to play to people
in the front, the back,
you’re looking around the whole room.
They’re used to performing
specifically for a camera.
So it’s very different.
So for example,
if I’m holding this card like this,
if you get the right angle
it looks paper thin,
but if the camera moves over to here,
now you see that the card is wider.
So if I was doing a trick
specifically for the camera,
I would spend time having the person look
and get the exact angle perfect.
Where live, I couldn’t do that because
there would be multiple people watching.
So I wouldn’t be able to do that.
MURRAY: There he is.
[chuckles] How you doing?
PETER: Okay.
MURRAY: ‘Cause he did this thing…
..with Harry other day too, yeah.
PETER: He said I could record
with the phone out there.
MURRAY: How you doing, good?
Good, well I hope
I’m exciting entertainment.
Perfect.
It’s like Groundhog Day
every day around here.
-Okay, so you were saying earlier
off-camera you’re an introvert?
-Mm-hmm.
-I find that hard to believe almost.
-Yeah, it’s hard to believe, yeah.
‘Cause I turn it on, you know?
I know how to turn it on,
and I’m really genuine when I am on
but I hide behind the hair and the glasses.
You know, when I walk on stage
it’s my controlled environment, so…
But when I’m off stage though, you know,
if I were to come to a party in this room
I’d just sit here in the corner,
have a glass of wine,
and whoever sat beside me,
I would talk to.
I wouldn’t try to be the life of the party.
I wouldn’t try to say the biggest joke,
I wouldn’t… You know what I mean?
-So this is the opening right now?
This is happening out there?
-This is the opening with the videos, yeah.
I keep it loud so we can hear it backstage.
[announcer] Here in Las Vegas
we’ve set up a simple hidden camera…
MURRAY: Follow us around, go.
MURRAY: All right.
This you can put on the video if you want.
-What are you doing there?
It’s a secret
but it’s a secret you can see.
-Okay.
Looks like the Ace of Clubs, right?
[spraying]
[muffled announcer]
What’s a cool thing in performing is
every audience, before you go on stage,
you don’t know what you’re gonna get.
‘Cause it’s a new audience.
So the show’s old.
I’ve been doing this material
for 20, 30 years,
but the cool thing is the audience is…
It’s like that.
It’s the first time they’ve seen the video.
So it’s kind of exciting.
So every audience is different.
[announcer] Las Vegas, Nevada,
give it up for Murray.
[music and applause]
[announcer] He’s been on
over 20 reality shows,
and has had over one billion online views.
Laugh Factory is proud to present Murray.
MURRAY: What’s up, how y’all doing?
[applause and cheering]
I’m back.
Hey, what do you guys think
of the jacket, you like it?
It’s brand new, you ever get that
when you get a little thing stick
and you cut the tags off,
and there’s, like, a tag.
You know what I’m talking about?
It’s poking you.
Is anything hanging off the back?
-[audience] No.
-No? It is poking the…
Maybe it’s from the dry cleaners.
Is there a pin hanging off here anywhere?
Do you guys see it anywhere?
There’s nothing here, right?
What the…
-Oh, hah. There it is, I totally got it.
[pin thuds on stage]
[groans and laughter]
I hate when that…
[applause]
So frustrating ’cause my dry cleaner
was right beside the bowling alley.
So it’s really…
And I always open my show too, with magic.
I got my stool
and I got my briefcase right here.
Let me get rid of this…
Hang on, let me just… hang on.
[briefcase clicks]
That’s it, here… C’mon.
[bowling ball thuds]
That’s the whole show.
[applause and laughter]
I always throw on my stage hand.
His name is Lefty. Please put
your hands together for Lefty, everybody.
[applause and cheering]
There he is.
Thank you, sir.
I know exactly where you are.
Little traveling though, I drive a lot.
So I was driving to Laughlin,
which is about an hour and a half
towards Arizona
and I stopped at a small diner.
And I realized they still have
those glass ketchup bottles.
You guys know what I’m talking about?
[audience mumbling]
Five people, this is gonna go great.
So I realized
one of the hardest things to do
is take ketchup out of a glass bottle.
So I thought for the big opening trick
tonight I’m going to take
ketchup out of a glass bottle.
[unenthusiastic cheers]
Try to quit mocking me, all right.
[laughter]
Yes, in the bag… Here we go…
One, two, three. It’s gone!
One, two, three…
It’s back, that’s it.
That’s… [laughs]
You had the option of
the Blue Man Group with the Blue Men.
So you’re stuck with this crap for an hour.
One more time, here we go.
Ketchup in the bag, here we go.
Slight of ketchup.
That is it… Here we go.
Here it is… Oop… Lid.
[surprised laughter]
It’s a tomato people, humor me.
Ketchup, tomato…
It’s a God damned tomato.
[bottle clinks]
[cheering]
[TV in background]
Such a cool craft, guys.
Like the talent
that it takes to pull this off.
I mean I have no clue what’s going on
and I’m seeing…
I’m seeing it up, and close, and personal.
Well we are right now and it’s still…
It’s very technical
and just pure A-game what he’s doing.
MURRAY: How you doing, buddy?
PETER: Okay.
-Good, you enjoying it?
-It’s awesome.
It’s half magic, half comedy.
-That’s what I say.
Yeah, ’cause I’ve always been…
For me, my big thing after the age of…
After the age of, I say 28, 30,
I realized comedians
get on TV a lot quicker
and faster than magicians.
There’s always only one magician on TV.
One here, whereas comedians, they’re
on TV shows, they’re hosts, whatever.
So as of 28, when I went to Vegas
I started going and driving to open mics.
Comedy Store, Laugh Factory, Improv,
Ice House, I started doing mics
just comedy, no magic.
And I’d bomb nine jokes
and one world work out of the ten.
I’d bring that home, put it in my show.
I’d go again the next week
and bomb nine jokes,
find another one that worked.
As you keep doing it further and further
you start only bombing four jokes,
and six work, and bombing only one joke.
And that’s how I become…
I realized I need to be funny,
like, legit funny.
Not just with a trick and a cheesy joke.
You know what I mean?
So and then I figured out how do you
amalgamate both those together
meaning the trick
that does work or doesn’t work.
So if you notice all my tricks go wrong
and then at the end they kinda go right.
So that’s kind of the way it works.
-So it’s your own fusion style?
-Yep.
Yeah, I think it works that way
and I think it’s good.
There’s not many
comedy magicians out there.
You know what I mean? So…
We killed… Last one.
[announcer] Lefty, everybody!
That’s Lefty.
[applause]
Give a big hand for Lefty
and his new girlfriend.
MURRAY: We always love giving away stuff.
So we have my brand new posters…
America’s Got Talent, and my special…
♪ rock from speakers ♪
-Well that was very cool.
-You know, well thanks for hanging.
-That was awesome.
-Thanks for spending the day with me.
This is really cool too,
in this hotel, the Trop.
I gotta show this to you
’cause you know I love history, right?
I love old Vegas and you know this is
one of the original mafia hotels?
-Oh, yeah?
-Oh, yeah.
And they got busted with a lot of stuff.
If you look back in the old days
in the ’50s and ’60s.
This ceiling is
one of the original ceilings.
Not from the original original,
this is, like, the second version
of when they made the hotel.
And if you look at this top,
there’s all those mirrors.
These are one-way mirrors.
So back in the old days, the security,
we didn’t have cameras back then.
There would be security
standing on catwalks…
-Oh, no way.
-Looking over into the…
Here’s a lucky penny, see?
Make a wish.
Make a wish, there ya go.
There’s, um…
And they would have security on catwalks
looking over the tables.
Watching the gamblers,
seeing if they’re cheating.
That was the real way.
So those catwalks are still up there.
Those one way mirrors are still…
Now they have eye in the skys everywhere.
As you can see.
-Oh, yeah.
-And, you know… But…
But that’s the original…
Um, that’s the original catwalk.
So I want to go up there
’cause now they sold the hotel supposedly
and in about two and half, three years,
they’re gonna put a baseball park here
and everything supposedly.
That’s the newest revelation.
So before they wreck this hotel
I want to have security
take me up there and walk
’cause I love that stuff.
[car idling]
PETER: And that’s a half day’s work?
-Half day’s work, yep.
Then I’ll go home, have dinner usually,
go to Fantasy at the Luxor.
You know,
and do a little something there, so…
-Same show at the Luxor?
-No, different show.
Different stuff
’cause it’s an adult review show.
So a little more edgy, you know?
I do a 10 minute or 5 minute spot.
Because they’re going there
to see the girls topless
and I’m just the comedy relief of the show.
So it’s not a bad gig.
-You go edgier there?
-Yeah.
Yeah, ’cause it’s a topless review show.
It’s all adults so it’s
a whole different… Different ballgame.
It’s very Vegas, so…
It’s a great show though.
[car idling]
-Oh, made it.
-Full circle, Murray.
-We made it back home to the pad, kids.
-Thank you so much for bringing us in.
-Dude, thank you for hanging out, dude.
-That was awesome.
-Thank you for hanging out, fun day?
-That was so cool.
I have so much admiration and respect
for what you do.
-Thank you. Thanks.
-Really, it’s like A-level amazing.
You know what I love too?
It’s very honest work.
-Sure.
-People want, like, an escape.
-Yep.
-They know their ticket price,
they go in.
They have laughs.
-Take them in a land of fantasy.
And, you know, misdirection for an hour.
Forget all your problems then come back
and realize the problems are still there.
But that’s okay,
it’s an hour of relief, right?
We all need that, whether you do yoga,
you do Pilates, you know,
get some zen moments in Sedona
or wherever the heck you go.
-Exactly.
Okay, so…
For people to see you, we got you
at the Laugh Factory at the Tropicana.
-Laugh Factory, yep.
Out there at the Tropicana.
You can see me in Fantasy at the Luxor.
-Okay.
-Which is more adult review,
and I’m there weekly.
And then you want to see my stuff online,
I have my new comedy special
out on Tubi, T-U-B-I.
-Okay.
-You can download that, and stream that,
and of course I’ve got my channels.
Which is Murray Magic.
-Yeah.
-So guys, his performance is awesome.
Go to that if you’re in Vegas
but his YouTube channel,
fantastic also.
Amazing pranks.
All the links down below
in the description.
You’re the man.
-Dude…
Thanks for hanging out, man.
You’re always welcome as a guest here.
-All right, thank you.
-Take care.
-Thanks for coming along,
until the next one.
♪ upbeat jazz ♪

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