Talent show winner doesn't miss a trick


April 10, 2001|By Debra Taylor Young | Debra Taylor Young,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

STUDENTS AT Liberty High School know to expect the unexpected from fellow student Brad Rankin.

Brad, 17, has been performing magic tricks for his friends and family since he was in sixth grade.

"Brad started with Disney's Magic Books when he was little," said his mother, Carol. "Then he began practicing easy card tricks."

His interest continued, and his skill level improved.

Brad said he began studying the tricks of professional magicians David Copperfield and David Blaine, the "street magician" in New York City.

"I can study a tape of their performances, and then determine how a trick is done and adapt it to my own style," Brad said.

As Brad spoke, he pulled a quarter from his pocket and held it at arm's length. He placed the quarter between his front teeth. When he held out the quarter again, it was missing half and appeared to have a bite mark on it. He blew at the quarter and, before everyone's eyes, the other half appeared.

His mother shook her head and said, "I don't even want to know how he does it."

At a recent talent show at Liberty High, Brad took a first-place prize for a trick he adapted from the famous magician Harry Houdini, called "The Metamorphosis."

"The object of the trick is to exchange places in three seconds," Brad said.

Brad and his assistant, Caitlin Evans, 16, performed the trick in front of 700 people. Brad, wearing black pants and a white shirt, shackled his arms, got into a canvas bag and then into a 300-pound wooden trunk. Caitlin locked the trunk with four locks.

Then, standing on top of the trunk, she pulled a black curtain from the floor over her head. Seconds later, the curtain dropped, with Brad standing on the trunk, unshackled and wearing a red shirt. Caitlin was out of sight. Brad ran around the trunk, unlocked the locks and pulled off the lid, and out popped Caitlin wearing the shackles.

The audience at Liberty was amazed.

Brad said he and Caitlin, his assistant and girlfriend for three years, worked on the trick for several months to ensure the timing was perfect. It was, down to the last note of the music.

Brad has performed at other talent shows. He also put on an impromptu performance on a cruise ship one evening two years ago while on vacation with his family.

"They were having a talent show that night, and I decided to enter. I only had a deck of cards with me," said Brad, remembering the performance in front of 800 to 900 people.

Brad has also performed for corporate functions and local Veterans of Foreign Wars events. He said he is trying to think of tricks for next year's talent show at Liberty High.

"I know I have to think of something that will top what I did this year," he said. "That might be tough."

Pupils as teachers

Nine fifth-grade pupils at Carrolltowne Elementary School became teachers April 3.

Teacher Patti Cannaday chose pupils from her Extended Enrichment Program to lead a morning of instruction on agricultural topics.

The pupil-instructors wore screen-painted T-shirts they made with their names and topics as part of the design. They made presentations to small groups of pupils. The presentations included items purchased from a local supermarket to illustrate products and by-products of agriculture.

Nadine Yang, 10, and her twin brother, Dean, were among the presenters. Other presenters were: Melissa Bobby, 10; Kelsy Lefebvre, 11; Chris Henry, 11; Tom Cartaxo, 10; Brian Caine, 11; Rebecca Stanislaw, 10; and Ben Markosky. 9.

The agricultural unit will continue this week with an agricultural laboratory brought to the school by the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation. Information: 410-751-3530.

CPR training course

Springfield Hospital Center will offer cardiopulmonary resuscitation training classes from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. April 28.

Registration is required. The class does not meet the requirements for health care providers. Information and directions: 410-795-2100, Ext. 3493 or 3605.

Debra Taylor Young's Southeast neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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