16 Aug, 2006
Hamner & Barber Win Merlin Awards
Posted by: Big Dummy In: News
In the presence of a full-house audience, Branson entertainers Dave & Denise Hamner and Jim Barber were the honored recipients of the prestiguous “Merlin Award” by the International Magicians Society (IMS). The awards were presented during the 506th performance of the Hamner Barber Variety Show on August 12th, 2006 by the World President of the IMS, Mr. Tony Hassini.
This is the second time The Hamners have received a Merlin Award. In 1999 they won “Best Manipulation” and according to Tony Hassini, The Hamners performance level is even higher now than it was then.
This is the first time in the society’s 38 year history that a Merlin Award has been presented to a ventriloquist. As Tony Hassini explained to the audience, “Jim started out as a magician… he knows magic, and along the way he took that magical talent and brought it into ventriloquism. He does magic with the dummies!”
The International Magicians Society (IMS) is the world’s largest magic society as recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. The IMS began in 1968 and now has over 37,000 members worldwide. It was created to help promote and preserve the art of magic and provide a format where magicians (and magic hobbyists) could share their secrets and ideas.
In the profession of magic, the Merlin statuette is the equivalent of the Oscar for film, the Emmy for television, and the Tony for theater. It is presented only to those entertainers who have achieved the highest level in their craft. The voting members begin with approximately one hundred names and narrow the list down to a select few. The criteria considered for a winner include talent, showmanship, originality, skills, and above all, the rare ability to entertain under any conditions.
The Merlin Award statuette was commissioned to over 100 art students from various colleges across the country. The winning design was carved and created in 1968 by New York University art student Carol Michaud.
Some of the more famous winners of the Merlin Award for excellence in magic include: Harry Blackstone, Doug Henning, Siegfried & Roy and David Copperfield.