The show must go on

Magician rolls car, walks away and puts on scheduled show

There is a term in show business reserved for those whose talent is superseded by a certain quality of character hard to find anymore—’a class act’. When magician James Hanson set off for a drive to Nakusp from Vancouver on January 3, there was no telling how his day would end up. After an uneventful trip from the coast and only half an hour from his destination—Nakusp, he caught sight of an owl in a tree. Moments later, it swooped across his windshield and suddenly his vehicle was careening off a cliff, rolling repeatedly before coming to a stop 70 feet below the road. Before the night was over, he would receive four stitches and go on to perform the magic show for the families of Nakusp, only one hour later than scheduled.

“It really puts things into perspective. Tying up those loose ends—things you think there is nothing I can do about. Put aside your pride,” Hanson said in a phone interview from his home in Vancouver, “Tell the people you love that you love them and do it often.” He believes that everything happens for a reason so if he had to come close to death to stop taking his relationships for granted, “Then I am glad it happened.”

Hanson thinks that his 2007 Chevy Aveo rolled at least three times before finally coming to a stop. He was able to scramble back up the hill, where passersby Ken and Denise Douglas of Fauquier had noticed the fresh tire tracks in the snow going off the road and decided to turn around to check for a possible wreck down below. They drove the injured magician to the hospital, where he was reunited with his friend Chris White whose family owns the Arrow Lakes Theater and Video, where Hanson was booked to perform a family magic show that evening.

Although 50 minutes late getting on stage, Hanson was told that nobody had left after being informed that the magician had been involved in an accident and would still be going on.

“Thanks to the generosity and hospitality of the Whites, things weren’t too bad from there,” Hanson said, “Chris’ little daughter Jaimie was very concerned with nursing me back to health.”

Now back in Vancouver and thanks to a roadside package on his insurance, Hanson has received a rental vehicle to get around while his claim is sorted out. Though he is stiff and his right ankle is sore, he feels lucky to be alive and will continue to make a living performing magic.

Hanson had performed at the Nakusp Music Festival for several years and has earned the achievements of both Vancouver Stage Magician of the Year and Children’s Magician of the year in 2012 as well as Gold in Close up Magic in an American competition. More about James can be seen at

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