Statistics and Magician’s Wife Tuesday, Feb 23 2016 


Storytelling throughout history was the passing on of the essence of an event. Specific details were not necessary. It was a person’s emotional interpretation of a significant occurrence. The heart of the story was what was important.

These stories would get passed down by word of mouth, so they altered along the way. I recently heard on the science program, Nova, that every time we recall a memory, we edit it. It becomes less and less accurate because our imagination fills in bits and pieces of things that may have happened, and then those imagined additions become part of the memory.

Today, we do more reporting than storytelling. We want specific details—time, dates, and numbers. When I wrote Sunday feature articles for the Chicago Tribune, three things were to be included: real voices, meaningful quotes, and statistics. Stories needed to be about people with real concerns, told in their own words, and backed up with relevant data.

Statics are an important element in substantiating a story. They tell a level of truth in numbers. Although it was my least favorite college class, I do realize its significance from sports and politics to science and demographics. However, in all reality, even those numbers are a matter of interpretation and can be twisted.

WordPress offers a stats page for each of my blogs. It shows the number of views, likes, visitors, and comments for every post and even where those viewers are located. These numbers give me an idea of who is reading my blogs and whether they are of interest to anyone. There is a wide variation of numbers for many reasons including relevancy of content, writing style, and the time and day of posting.

My most viewed post ran back on August 19, 2013. It had 777 views on WordPress plus countless others via Facebook reposting.

For those who might like to re-read it, and those who never saw it, here it is again:Top 10 Ways You Know You Are a Magicians Wife

©2016, Mary K Doyle

The Great Brodien Magic Poster Wednesday, Feb 18 2015 


The goal of gift-giving is to make the receiver feel special. Delicate flowers, scrumptious sweets, and sparkling jewels do the trick but our friends, Norm and Lupe Nielsen, wowed us far beyond that with their recent gifts to my husband, Marshall, and me. They sent each of us a poster with our faces inserted in the 1911 vintage magic poster known as American Beauty, which was once used by the magician, The Great Jansen.

Every time I look at the poster, I smile. It reminds me to be playful and enjoy all that life has to offer, especially dear friends who surround us with love and support.

Magic posters became popular during the Golden Age of Magic (1875-1930) to promote magic shows coming to town. The bright posters were printed in a process known as stone lithography, which produced intense colors never seen quite like it in any other form previously. Bold claims of the magicians’ upcoming feats added to the show’s intrigue.

The posters were torn down or pasted over after the shows, which is why those that remain, especially from popular magicians, are highly valued today. Nielsen Magic, owned by Norm and Lupe, sells an extensive assortment of both vintage and superb quality reproductions. You can visit their website at:

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

What If? Tuesday, Jan 21 2014 


My friend, Terry Evanswood, called last month to remind me that it was the 20 year anniversary of our friendship. It all  began with a story I wrote for the Chicago Tribune on his non-violent haunted house that he built in a shopping center. I followed that story with a full-length feature article on him, a 23 year-old, award-winning magician.

At that time Terry already performed across the country including at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California and on the Bozo Show. Like a much older sister, I’ve proudly watched his career continue to soar due to his perseverance, perfectionism, and incredible creativity. You can see his spellbinding, family show, the Wonders of Magic, at the WonderWorks theater in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Terry is the longest-running headline performer in that area.

I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for Terry, not only for our friendship, but also the door he opened for me. With him, the magic began. Terry gave me a list of references to contact in regards to the article I wrote on him, and one of those names was my husband, Marshall. I spoke to Marshall over the phone  and then met with him in April of 1994 to interview him for his own feature article. Marshall and I were married the following year. Ironically, Terry’s career began with a gift of a Marshall Brodien magic set when he was a child, so we are connected on several levels.

The first magic show I ever saw in person was Terry’s. Since then, I’ve seen more than I can count. I’ve also met hundreds of magicians and assistants. Marshall is greatly loved and admired in this circle because of his kindness, generosity, and assistance to so many. Upon meeting magic people, some of the respect he’s earned is initially awarded to me as his wife, but I do believe many of the friendships I’ve built in this industry stand on my own merit. I feel a part of this very diverse community and grateful for everyone I’ve come to call my friends.

Reflecting back, I can’t help but wonder, “What if?” I was a single mother of three, working full-time at an advertising agency, and freelancing with the Chicago Tribune when I wrote Terry’s article. What if I hadn’t had the time off to shop at that particular mall, stumble across and inquire about the unusual façade of Terry’s haunted house, pitch the story to the Tribune, continue with a full-page feature on him that required references, was given Marshall’s name as a reference, follow-up with a story on Marshall, and so on?

We never know where a particular decision may lead us. The magic is in trusting our instincts and a path laid out for us that is so much more than we can imagine.

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

Top 10 Ways You Know You Are a Magician’s Wife Monday, Aug 19 2013 


B-123(Notice all the blades through the box? I’m still in there.)

You may know that I am married to magician Marshall Brodien. Marshall is the creator of TV Magic Cards and Marshall Brodien magic sets. He also played the clown/wizard character Wizzo for 26 years on WGN TV’s Bozo Circus Show.

In our 18 years of marriage, I’ve entertained a steady stream of guests here to see Marshall and his magic, assisted Marshall on stage a couple of dozen times, and have attended countless magic conventions with him. All this magic got me thinking about how it’s influenced me. Here are my top ten ways.


Mary Doyle Brodien’s Top 10 Ways You Know You are a Magician’s Wife

You know you are a magician’s wife when:

10. There is a magic museum in your home

9. Your ceilings are decorated with playing cards

8. You act surprised when you see the same trick for the hundredth time

7. You are shopping and notice clothes that would look good on stage

6. You discuss eyeliner and face powders for reducing shine with groups of men

5. Everyone in your household, including the family hamster, is part of the act

4. A romantic dinner out includes disappearing salt shakers and card tricks for the wait staff

3. You’re not opposed to your husband coming at you with swords

2. You look at a box and wonder if you could fit in it

And the number one way you know you are a magician’s wife –

You don’t consider it abusive if your husband ties you up, stuffs you into a cloth bag, and locks you in a crate.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

(Photos by Stephanie Maurie)

Now You See It. Now You Don’t. Tuesday, Aug 14 2012 

Magic is easy, once you know the secret. At least that is what my husband, Marshall Brodien, always says. And life is like that too. If you know the secrets of life, it is so much easier.

In fact, there are several principles of magic that can be applied to life. Here are a few life-lessons I’ve learned from magic:

  1. What appears to be very mysterious often is quite simple.
  2. There are a whole lot of things going on around you that you don’t see.
  3. Some people intentionally misdirect your attention from what’s important.
  4. Every industry has a personality and magicians are no different. Actually, they are very different.
  5. You don’t need to know how everything works. Sometimes it’s best to relax and enjoy the show.
  6. Some careers are more fun than work.
  7. You don’t have to accept the “cards” forced upon you.
  8. Even when the magic doesn’t go as planned, you must keep moving on with the show.
  9. No matter how talented or industrious you are, your audience may not applaud you.
  10. Your presentation is more important than your ability.

©Mary K. Doyle

(Photo by Stephanie Maury. Used with permission.)

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