THE WAR WIZARD is a unique theatrical entertainment and a master work of historical reenactment. Based on the real-life adventures of Professor Gus Rich, the Wizard of the Blue Ridge, it is an accurate recreation of a nineteenth-century American magician and his traveling magic show. Featuring Emmy® Award-winning actor and magician Max Howard, The War Wizard is authentic in speech, dress and style and features actual stage magic of the period as it was actually performed.
PROFESSOR GUS RICH was born William Augustus Reich, in Salem, North Carolina, on July 16, 1833. A third generation tin smith of the Moravian faith, he was by turns a master metal smith, musician, inventor, entrepreneur, newspaper correspondent, Civil War soldier, magician and traveling showman. He was, in fact, the bass drummer of the 26th North Carolina Regimental Band and served with “The Bloody 26th” at the Battle of Gettysburg.
In the three decades following the Civil War, in a horse-drawn wagon rigged especially to hold his apparatus and his tents, he traveled through North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, as far north as Cincinnati and as far west as Indianapolis. Calling himself Professor Gus Rich, he presented The Great Southern Sleight of Hand Show which he proudly proclaimed to be “good, clean family fun... GUARANTEED to amuse the ear, deceive the eye and astonish the mind!”
On July 8, 1917, one week before his 84th birthday, Professor Gus Rich died. He is buried in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in the beautiful old Moravian cemetery called “God’s Acre.”
THE WAR WIZARD reminds us that history is not made solely by “great men doing great things” but also by ordinary men and women whose living and dying have given us our common heritage.