James Agan, left, and Barry Manley, both of Signal Mountain, are some of Chattanooga’s premier magicians. Photo by Jennifer Bardoner
Signal Mountain resident Barry Manley will add his own magical tough to the toe-tapping tunes on the streets at Riverbend. Just look for the man with rabbits jumping out of hats ... on his T-shirt.
“Entertainment is the main thing,” said Manley, who “can change doves into rabbits.”
A magician since he was 10 years old and a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians since it came to Chattanooga decades ago, Manley has quite a few tricks up his sleeve. He will perform many of t hose tricks as a street performer the week of Riverbend.
He also performs regularly at restaurants and schools around town and said he is hoping to land a spot on the Delta Queen. He is also the full-time operator and owner of Chattanooga Magic and Fun in Harrison.
Although his tricks have evolved since he first learned the Ball in Vase, he said he still appreciates the childlike wonder such sleight of hand moves inspire. He has even taken on a protege, so to speak, in the form of 14-year-old James Agan, also of Signal Mountain.
“He helped me a lot,” Agan said. “He’s been like a mentor to me.”
Agan will compete in International Brotherhood of Magicians’ upcoming national convention in Nashville.
He spends many days at the shop with Manley, just as the elder did when he was a child. There is a large and constantly evolving selection, and the two can conjure up advice and demonstrations for customers.
Chattanooga Magic and Fun is at 4738-C Highway 58. Visit the store's Web site or call 892-5682 for more information.
Manley also carries a large selection of books, many now out of print from when he first started dabbling in magic himself.
“All my secrets are in books,” he said, although he also carries DVDs for the new generation.
With the longest running full-time magic shop in Tennessee, and “one of Chattanooga’s best-kept secrets,” Manley isn’t planning a disappearing act anytime soon.