Talking With Lance Burton – August 27, 2015

FotoFlexer_Photo Lance Burton

This week, Ira spoke with Lance Burton. To listen to the interview click below.

Master Magician Lance Burton’s new film, “Billy Topit Master Magician,” which premieres on September 24 at Brenden Theaters in The Palms, is not a biography of Burton’s life, but a fictional character in a fictional setting that happens to be set in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas. It is produced and directed by Lance Burton with screenplay by Burton and Michael Goudeau.

Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Burton burst onto the national stage on October 28, 1981 by making his first appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. So impressed was Carson while watching the rehearsal that he allowed Burton to do an unprecedented 12-minute routine. Through the course of his career, Burton was invited back for a total of ten appearances while Johnny Carson was host, and another ten appearances during Jay Leno’s tenure.

Over the years Lance Burton has performed on a wide range of TV shows. He racked up appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, The View, Craig Ferguson, The World’s Greatest Magic, Hollywood Squares, and even acted in guest starring roles on Knight Rider, and Las Vegas.

In 1996 Lance Burton’s first TV special, Lance Burton Master Magician; The Legend Begins, aired on NBC. This was quickly followed by a series of annual TV specials.

He also hosted specials for The History Channel, Discovery, Animal Planet, The Family Channel, and many more.

While successful on TV, Burton’s greatest accomplishments have been made in live performance. Working primarily in Las Vegas he has performed an astounding 15,000 shows in his 30-year career. His first job in Vegas was as a featured act in “The Folies Bergere” at The Tropicana, a job he held for nine years. In 1991 he opened his own show, “Lance Burton World Champion Magician,” at the Hacienda Hotel, which ran for five years.

In 1996 “Lance Burton Master Magician” opened at the brand new Monte Carlo Hotel in the Lance Burton Theater. This was the first time any entertainer in the history of Las Vegas had a theater built and named for him. The contract at the Monte Carlo was for an unprecedented 13 years, the longest contract ever given to a live performer ever. Lance stayed at the Monte Carlo for a total of 14 years, performing over 5,000 shows for over 5 million fans, grossing more than $200 million. His last performance was September 4, 2010.


Talking With Milt Larsen – August 20, 2015

FotoFlexer_Photo Milt Larsen 8-20-15

This week, Ira spoke with Milt Larsen. To listen to the interview click below.

Milt Larsen is best known for his role in the world of magic. In 1963 he founded the world famous private club for magicians, the Magic Castle, in Hollywood. Larsen is the President of Magic Castles, Inc. In 2000 Magic Magazine polled their international readership and voted Larsen as one of the 100 most influential individuals in the history of magic. He is a true renaissance man in that his career encompasses writing, producing and performing.

In September 2006 he celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his annual stage show “It’s Magic!” The event was commemorated with an all-star show at Hollywood’s famed Kodak Theater. At that time Larsen and his late brother Bill were honored with a star on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame.

As a writer he is best known in the field of audience participation, having written “Truth or Consequences” starring Bob Barker for an incredible run of eighteen years. In his early days he authored five joke books and three books involving The Magic Castle. Larsen writes a weekly column for members of the club as well as editing their monthly newsletter.

He is also the co-creator of the new CD collection, “Smash Flops,” songs that just missed being smash hits due to unfortunate timing. His “Smash Flops” co-creator is Oscar and Grammy winner Richard M. Sherman. The collection is available on iTunes or

As a producer, in addition to The Magic Castle and “It’s Magic!” Larsen owned and operated to Mayfair Music Hall in Santa Monica producing live stage revues for 10 years and the Variety Arts Theater, a 1200 seat variety theater in downtown Los Angeles for 12 years. He has produced TV special for ABC, CBS and NBC. He was the creator and consultant for the $50 million dollar Caesars Magic Empire at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Larsen lives on Santa Barbara’s picturesque Mesa overlooking the Harbor with his wife, award winning costume designer Arlene, and their two lovable mutts, Angel and Wizard.


Talking With James Darren – August 13, 2015

FotoFlexer_Photo James Darren

This week, Ira spoke with James Darren. To listen to the interview click below.

Actor, director and singer James Darren, who will be performing at the South Point Casino August 15-16 has enjoyed a successful, multi-faceted career, spanning six decades of motion picture, television, recording and live concert performances.

Born in South Philly as James Ercolani, a second-generation American of Italian descent, Darren cites his beloved grandmother as the greatest guiding light of his life and his career. By the age of 14, Darren knew he wanted a show business career, and he embarked on the road to stardom by singing in nightclubs in Philadelphia and South Jersey. By age 18, he was in New York, studying acting for several years with the legendary drama teacher Stella Adler.

It was a chance introduction to Hollywood movie producer Joyce Selznick (niece of the legendary David O. Selznick) that led to Darren’s seven-year contract with Columbia Pictures and his first big break: starring as the college student-surfer Moondoggie opposite Sandra Dee in the 1959 classic comedy hit, “Gidget.” Two sequels would follow, and Darren was soon on Hollywood’s short list of most sought-after young dramatic actors. He would make 20 films in all, including “The Guns of Navarone,” “The Lively Set,” “The Gene Krupa Story,” “The Brothers Rico,” “Gunman’s Walk,” “Let No Man Write My Epitaph,” and “Diamond Head.”

Darren’s singing career encompasses an impressive roster of musical credits including 14 albums and five Top 10 singles, including the 1961 Grammy- nominated “Goodbye Cruel World,” which held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts for six weeks. Throughout the early 60s, his recording career continued to skyrocket with subsequent Top 10 hits including “Her Royal Majesty,” “Conscience,” and “All.” In 1976, he landed still another hit with “You Take My Heart Away” from the Oscar-winning film “Rocky.”

Darren would also make his mark on the small screen, starring in several hit television series, including “The Time Tunnel,” “T.J. Hooker,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Melrose Place.” In 1987, the versatile entertainer began another phase of his career, this time as a highly in-demand director for television whose credits include several “movies of the week,” and more than 50 television shows ranging from “Melrose Place” and “Beverly Hills 90210” to “Hunter” and “Walker, Texas Ranger.”


Talking With Jonathan Ullman – August 6, 2015

FotoFlexer_Photo Jonathan Ullman 8-6-15

This week, Ira spoke with Jonathan Ullman. To listen to the interview click below.

Jonathan Ullman is Executive Director & CEO of The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, which opened in 2012 in Downtown Las Vegas. The Mob Museum is dedicated to telling the story of organized crime and law enforcement and presents an authentic view of the Mob’s impact on Las Vegas history

Ullman is responsible for leading the organization that has been named both a “Top Workplace” and “Best Museum” by the Las Vegas Review Journal, and called one of “Ten Places Every American Should See” by the Huffington Post.

He has spent more than 20 years in a variety of management and leadership roles within the nonprofit industry. Ullman’s museum career began at Liberty Science Center, New Jersey’s most visited museum, where he was intimately involved in the strategic planning and operationalizing of the facility following a $112 million capital expansion. Over the years, he served in numerous capacities with responsibilities including intensive staff management, program oversight, and external relations. Immediately prior to joining The Mob Museum, Ullman was the president and COO at the National Soccer Hall of Fame, where he led the dramatic transformation of the organization’s operating model.

Ullman earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers College and his Masters of Business Administration from Rutgers Business School. A believer in the importance of community, he has volunteered on a number of nonprofit boards and community-driven initiatives. He is a graduating member of the FBI Citizens’ Academy, as well as the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Citizens’ Academy.

He also serves as Vice President of the Executive Committee of the Downtown Las Vegas Alliance. Additionally, he is a graduate of the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Las Vegas program and a current member of its Leadership Council.