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Smile Maker – Memphis Magician Michael Clayton

For over 30 years, Michael Clayton has been putting smiles on the faces of both young and old with his unique style of magic and illusion.  From small in-the-hand up-close magic to large-scale stage Illusions Michael has entertained at everything from private parties to Libraries, Schools and Community Organizations.  He has performed several fundraising programs to support a variety of efforts.  His dinner and show fundraisers have featured some very significant guest stars, including 1989 Miss America Kellye Cash. 

So, what drives this desire to entertain?  Maybe it starts with the fact that Michael likes entertainment and being entertained.  One of his most vivid memories as a child was that each year the elementary school, where he attended always had a magician.  “It cost us .25 cents at the time, and we got to see Louie Lourachie, who later became known as Cowboy Louie.”  Louie went on to become the official Magician for Country Singer Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch in Waverly, TN.

“Back in those days, we could have entertainers come to school, just for entertainment.  Now, you pretty much have to have an educational program to be invited to perform for a school.  Regardless, I’ve never forgotten that experience as a child, and each time I perform for a school program, I want my audience to have that same experience. I’m aware that this may be the first and only experience that these children have to see safe, wholesome, family entertainment.  One of the primary reasons I became an entertainer was for the smiles.  So, my goal is to put a smile on the faces of the children I meet.  To give them a few minutes to stop everything else, forget about other worries and imagine the impossible.”

With each presentation, magic provides a unique medium to involve and interact with the audience.  In one routine, you can sit back and watch, and in another, you can help by screaming out a magic word.  Michael does his best to get the children involved and in many routines, uses volunteers from the audience.  He’s even been known to saw the Principal in two, or three.

There are few entertainers including those in the magic field that can engage and carry an audience for a lengthy period, but this is not a problem for Michael having entertained thousands of children and adults with his classical style of Illusion.  

Magician Michael Clayton Enters a Beauty Pageant

That’s right.  Back in 2010, I entered my first pageant.  Well, the reality is I walked in the door of the Miss Collierville 2010 pageant at the Harrell Theater in Collierville, Tennessee.

Miss Teen Collierville 2010 – Elizabeth Murphree and Miss Collierville 2010 – Anna Hummerickhouse

You see, just a few weeks earlier I received an email from the pageant director Ed Coleman to see if I could add a little magic to that year’s festivities.  I’m not sure where Ed got the idea of doing a magical number or two, but after some brief discussions, he brought the current Miss Collierville Anna Hummerickhouse and Miss Teen Collierville Elizabeth Murphree to meet me.  I had determined that it would be great if we could make one of the ladies magically appear and the other would get to become discombobulated. That is she would get divided-in-two.  So, thus began my journey of working with pageant winners.

Pageant Coverage from the January 24, 2010 Edition of the Memphis Commercial Appeal
Magician Michael Clayton causes Miss Collierville Anna Hummerickhouse to appear from within a glass box, assisted by Elizabeth Murphree.
Michael Clayton divides Elizabeth Murphree in-two at the Miss Collierville 2010 Pageant.

Traveling to Mississippi, I was able to engage the assistance of France Beard, Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen 2011 for a program I did with my good friend and fellow magician Jimmy Dixon. This program was for the annual awards banquet of the Ridgeland Mississippi Chamber.

Magician Michael Clayton causes France Beard to appear during a Chamber Event Ridgeland Mississippi
Magician Michael Clayton causes France Beard to appear during a Chamber Event Ridgeland Mississippi
Christine Williamson, Miss Memphis 2016, and Miss Tennessee 2018

While trying to raise money to support the Memphis Ashlar Hall restoration project, I became involved in the non-profit fundraiser. In the process, the reigning Miss Memphis Christine Williamson and her sister the reigning Miss Banana Pudding Festival Crystal Williamson assisted me along with Kellye Cash. Kellye is the former Miss America, 1987.

Christine Williamson twists Magician Michael Clayton
Christine Williamson takes revenge on Magician Michael Clayton

Chrystal Williamson, Miss Banana Pudding Festival 2012, Miss Teen Collierville 2015

Modern Art Illusion with Chrystal Williamson

Kellye Cash – Miss America 1987

Callie Compton – Miss Memphis 2017 & Miss Hatchie 2019

Miranda Colegrove – Miss Henderson County 2019

Mrs. Tennessee 2019 Paige Botts

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